Energy and Environment Update - January 30, 2011

by Mintz Levin

In This Update:

Energy and Climate Debate:

President Obama outlined his energy priorities for the 112th Congress during his State of the Union address last Tuesday, January 25. In addition to calling for an end to annual tax subsidies for oil, gas, and other fossil fuels, the president called on the nation to generate 80 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, and to put one million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama referenced a clean energy standard that would include traditional renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower, as well as other sources such as nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who proposed a clean electricity standard last year, is expected to reintroduce legislation that would establish a CES, and the president’s backing likely would add momentum to that effort. Since last Tuesday, all eyes have been on Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman and Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), as the legislation will go through their committee. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Lugar (R-IN), and Tom Carper (D-DE) who have previously expressed support for a CES this Congress, were cautiously joined by a diverse set of their colleagues in applauding the President’s plan, potentially bringing together Senators as well and energy interests that have previously shied away from working too closely together. Should the Senate be successful in passing legislation through the upper chamber, it remains to be seen what will happen in the House. House Republicans remained unimpressed with the proposal last week; Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said that decisions about energy resources should be made by the free market rather than the government.


Senate EPA Legislation Underway; Energy Efficiency Legislation Underway; Funding Bill to be Considered Mid February; Gingrich Vows EPA Changes; Energy Priorities Outlined; Spill-Response Legislation Planned; Senators Send Boiler Letter; Committee Assignments; Legislation Introduced; and Upcoming Hearings.

Department of Defense:

No Military Benefit from Alternative Fuel.

Department of Energy:

Chu Echoes State of the Union; DOE and DOC Sign MOU; Biomass Webinars Scheduled; and GM Withdraws Loan Application.

Department of Interior:

Offshore Wind ROI Issued; Rule to Eliminate Leasing Step Eliminated; and First Deepwater Application Accepted.

Environmental Protection Agency:

MPG Standard Not Final; Listening Sessions Scheduled; Federal Government and CA to Coordinate Proposals; and EPA Sends OMB GHG Data Rule


Carol Browner announced early last week that she will soon leave her post as director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. Ms. Browner, who had previously served as EPA Administrator during the Clinton Administration, served as the president’s energy czar, and was a key White House proponent of cap and trade legislation, which Congress failed to pass in 2010...


Electric Drive Action Plan Released; EU ETS Trading to Resume; WA Transportation Report Unveiled; MD Governor Promotes Offshore Wind Purchases; China Leads Wind Capacity; CA Sets Capacity Record; NM Supreme Court Orders Rules Published; Hungary Pledges Climate Action; EC Highlights Efficiency; Climate Negotiations in Bangkok; Intangible Assets Not Factored; MT to Increase Wind Development; Canadian Oil Sands GHGs Rise; NC Aligns GHG Regs; and Clearinghouse Launched.

Please see full update below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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