Energy and Environment Update - March 13, 2011

by Mintz Levin

In This Issue:

Energy and Climate Debate:

We have been predicting for some time now, along with others, that we may be in the midst of the development of a perfect storm for long-awaited action on national energy policy. Rising gas prices, pushed higher by unrest in the Middle East, are converging with Republican calls for increased domestic drilling and Democratic goals to reduce petroleum consumption, encourage renewable alternatives, and improve energy efficiency.

While the national budget deficit is taking up much of the debate right now, and both the House and Senate are expected to quickly take up another short term continuing resolution proposal (H.J. Res. 48) as the current funding measure is set to expire at the end of the week, we can see on the horizon a shift toward a debate on energy policy as a means to affect both Republican and Democratic goals for foreign policy and national security, environmental protection, and job creation. Ironically, a move toward legislative action on energy policy could present an opportunity for the extremes of both parties to come together even if they differ in their ultimate goals...


House Begins EPA Authority Block Efforts; House Republican Energy Plan Unveiled; CES Debate Ongoing; Rep. Calls on USGS to Return to Roots; Legislation Introduced; and Upcoming Hearings.


I6 Green Challenge Announced; and OMB Completes Data, Biomass Rule Reviews.

Department of Energy:

Minnkota Power Cooperative Honored; Biofuel Technology Advances; and Loan Guarantee Program Fails Documentation Requirements.

Department of State:


Environmental Protection Agency:

Energy Star Updated; $32 Million for Clean Air Research; EPA Regs Won’t Kill Coal Plants; States Concerned About Data Withholding; Ethanol Waiver Challenged; and Climate Rule Blocks Increase Oil Dependence.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

Natural Gas Exports to Canada.


Peter Lyons, President Obama’s nominee for assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy, told senators March 8 that he is optimistic that small modular nuclear reactors can be developed and deployed on the electric grid within the next decade. Mr. Lyons’ nomination is expected to be approved easily by the committee and forwarded to the Senate for confirmation within the next few weeks.


WA Coal-Fired Plant to Close; GHG Reporting Comments Sought; Aviation Emissions Capped; CCS Projects Grow; $375 Billion to Decarbonize Economy; Lung Association Calls for Regulation; China Releases Five Year Plan; French Biofuel Projects Sought; Stalled Projects Could Increase GDP and Create Jobs; US Solar Capacity Increased; RGGI Holds 11th Auction; Ireland Plans Environmental Legislation; UK Outlines Green Economy Goals; and UN Preliminarily Approves Smart Grid Standards.

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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