Energy and Environment Update - January 23, 2011

by Mintz Levin

In This Update:

Energy and Climate Debate:

During his State of the Union Address January 25, President Obama will address a joint session of the House and the Senate and is expected to call for new Federal spending, even while trying to reduce the budget deficit. The new spending, likely to be in areas of renewable energy and infrastructure investments, is important to improving US competitiveness, and President Obama is expected to call for cuts in other areas as he lays out his legislative agenda for the coming year. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will deliver the Republican response to the president’s speech.

With gasoline prices nearing the record highs of summer 2008, Congress is increasingly focused on the current high price of gasoline. Last week, American Petroleum Institute’s chief economist blamed the high prices on the rising price of crude oil in the global market. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission January 20 asking Chairman Gary Gensler to use his new authority under financial services reform to investigate whether excessive speculation by hedge funds and index funds is contributing to the unusual winter rise in gas prices.


House Subcommittees to Play Key Roles; EPA GHG Rule Options Weighed; Spending Reductions Floated; Legislation Introduced; and Upcoming Hearings


US-China Bilateral Cooperation Highlighted and Executive Order Issued

Department of Agriculture:

Advanced Biofuels Funding Awarded

Department of Energy:

Bioenergy Collaboration Tool Launched; $241 Million Loan Guarantee Announced; Solar Loan Guarantee Commitment Announced; US-China Research Center Report Unveiled; Weatherization Goals on Track; Tribal Clean Energy Promoted

Department of Interior:

Interest in MD OCS Wind Projects and Former MMS Division Completed

Environmental Protection Agency:

E15 Waiver Granted; Boiler MACT Rules Sent to OMB; and Reversal of CA GHG Limits Waiver Sought

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

Renewables Impact on Grid Studied


Michael Goo, a former top Democratic congressional aid on climate change issues who served most recently as staff director and chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will soon become the Environmental Protection Agency’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy. He will support Administrator Lisa Jackson’s priorities, including coordinating interagency reviews of rulemakings and economic analysis of EPA policies. Mr. Goo replaces Lisa Heinzerling, who returned to her post at Georgetown University’s law school...


World Energy Summit Heldl; Global Clean Energy Investment Up; Regional GHG Targets for China; Total Renewable Energy Possible; Japanese Fuel Cell Production Up; EU ETS Suspended; Feed-in Tariff Reductions Accelerated; and CO2 Leakage Disputed

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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