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[renewable-energy] Sustainable Energy Coalition "Weekly Update"

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  • SUN DAY Campaign by way of Tom Gray
    SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION WEEKLY UPDATE October 3, 1999 The articles provided below were initially compiled during the past week by the SUN DAY Campaign
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 3, 1999
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      October 3, 1999

      The articles provided below were initially compiled during the past week by
      the SUN DAY Campaign (ph. 301-270-2258; fax: 301-891-2866) for the 34
      member organizations of the Sustainable Energy Coalition (list available upon
      request). Preparation and distribution of this newsletter is part of the SUN
      DAY Campaign's contribution to the Earth Day 2000 effort and its Clean
      Energy Agenda.

      Feel free to distribute this newsletter to others. In addition, please let
      us know
      of other U.S. organizations, businesses, or government agencies that would
      like to be added to the e-mail list for this publication. This newsletter is
      presently sent to over 850 sustainable energy businesses, agencies, and
      organizations nationwide.

      If you want any of the items we have offered to fax, please INCLUDE
      WITH YOUR REQUEST a phone number for a DEDICATED (i.e., one
      that will not be answered by a person), 24-hour FAX line.


      1.) E&W Appropriations Bill Short-Changes Renewables Funding
      2.) Interior Appropriations Bill Includes Oil Subsidies
      3.) EPA Appropriations Bill Facing a Veto Threat
      4.) Future of Wind/Biomass Tax Credit Still Uncertain

      1.) House Republicans Introduce Restructuring Legislation
      2.) Senate Republicans To Introduce Restructuring Bill Soon

      1.) City Leaders & Clinton Express Concern About Climate Change
      2.) Buchanan Expresses Opposition to Kyoto Protocol

      1.) Bradley Opposes Anti-CAFE Rider on Appropriations Bill
      2.) Honda Introduces 70 MPG Gasoline-Electric Hybrid
      3.) DOE and EPA Unveil Fuel Economy Web Site
      4.) Solar Electricity to Power Alcatraz Island
      5.) Japanese Nuclear Accident Is Part of a Pattern
      6.) Martha Krebs to Leave DOE's Science Office


      1.) E&W Appropriations Bill Short-Changes Renewables Funding:

      The Senate gave final approval 96-3 on September 28 to the $21 billion
      Energy & Water (E&W) appropriations bill. A veto threat against it, one of
      seven the Administration has issued, was dropped after Republicans retreated
      from language that would have made it easier for developers to file legal
      appeals when the government stops them from building on wetlands.
      President Clinton signed the bill on September 30. The bill funds the U.S.
      Department of Energy's (DOE) renewable energy programs at $311 million -
      - $25 million below FY'99 levels. Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-VT) is reportedly
      sending a letter to President Clinton urging him to keep in mind during
      budget negotiations that 54 senators had previously signed a letter urging
      funding of the Administration's request for renewables.

      Notwithstanding the cuts in renewable energy, the bill provides more than
      $160 million in local water projects that the Administration had not
      In addition, the American Institute of Physics' "Bulletin of Science Policy
      News" (September 30) reports that DOE's Nuclear Fusion, Nuclear Physics,
      and High Energy Physics programs all received budget increases in the
      E&W. The fusion program received an increase of $27.4 million (12.3%) to
      $250.0 million; this is more than the $222.6 million requested by the
      Administration. Similarly, nuclear physics funding increased by $13.5 million
      (4%) to $352.0 million while high energy physics increased $16.3 million
      (2.4%) to $707.9 million.

      Moreover, the Energy & Water Appropriations conference report directs that
      $3 million of the $4 million appropriated for DOE's international
      renewable/efficiency programs be provided on a sole source basis to the
      International Utility Efficiency Partnerships, Inc. IUEP is affiliated with
      Edison Electric Institute and is comprised of five investor- owned
      utilities. The
      provision, which was not requested by the Administration and which was not
      in either the House or Senate E&W committee reports, is particularly irksome
      because the Congress had earlier directed DOE to cease awarding sole-
      source contracts to the national renewable energy trade associations. A DOE
      memo notes that "the Committee cut R&D and related programs proposed by
      the Administration to combat climate change by about 25% below the
      Administration request but funded this questionable climate change activity
      overseen by an industry trade association whose members are responsible for
      almost one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions."

      Let us know if you want us to fax you a copy of the 7-page the final E&W
      conference report section on Energy Supply--Renewables. Also note: The
      chart provided in last week's "Weekly Update" listed wind as receiving $39.5
      million; the correct figure should have been $33 million.

      2.) Interior Appropriations Bill Includes Oil Subsidies:

      "Environmental & Energy Weekly" (September 27) reports that on
      September 23, the Senate voted 51-47 to accept the Hutchinson-Domenicic
      rider that would lengthen the moratorium on the Administration's oil royalty
      rule thereby enabling energy companies to underpay royalties on the oil and
      gas they extract from public lands by at least $66 million a year. The
      on Government Oversight, an independent organization that examines
      government spending, says the figure could be as high as $2 billion. The
      moratorium -- the fourth one issued -- is included in the $14 billion
      appropriations bill which is still being discussed by House-Senate conferees.
      According to Environmental Network News (October 1), President Clinton
      has threatened to veto the bill because the Senate version contains 20 anti-
      environmental riders including the royalty moratorium; the House version has
      eight anti-environmental riders.

      3.) EPA Appropriations Bill Facing a Veto Threat:

      The Associated Press (October 1) reports that President Clinton is also
      threatening to veto the $97 billion VA/HUD appropriations bill, which funds
      the U.S. EPA, "because of cuts in Clinton's proposals for public housing,
      environment, and NASA."

      4.) Future of Wind/Biomass Tax Credit Still Uncertain:

      "Environment & Energy Weekly" (September 27) reports that contrary to the
      expectations of many, language extending the wind and biomass production
      tax credit (PTC) was not included in the tax bill, H.R.2923, passed by the
      House Ways & Means Committee on September 24. Nonetheless, on
      September 30, the Committee's Oversight Subcommittee, chaired by Rep.
      Amo Houghton (R-NY), held a hearing on environmental tax provisions at
      which DOE Assistant Secretary Dan Reicher was a last-minute witness
      speaking in support of the wind PTC. It is unclear whether the Senate
      Finance Committee, which has not yet scheduled its own mark-up, will
      address the issue. Minority Leader Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) has
      promised to push for the longest-possible extension of the wind production
      credit (i.e., probably five years).


      1.) House Republicans Introduce Restructuring Legislation:

      Reuters (September 24) reports that House Republicans (i.e., Rep. Joe
      Barton) have officially introduced their restructuring bill. The House
      Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled
      hearings on H.R. 2944, the Electricity Competition and Reliability Act of
      for October 5 and October 6. Barton hopes the bill can be marked up by the
      middle of October. Changes from the bill's earlier draft include an extension
      of the wind and closed-loop biomass tax credit and stipulates that the
      Renewable Energy Production Incentive is to be limited to only state and
      municipal utilities. However, there are no other obvious provisions in
      of renewables or energy efficiency. The full text of the bill can be found at

      2.) Senate Republicans To Introduce Restructuring Bill Soon:

      Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Murkowski (R-
      AK) may introduce a comprehensive electricity restructuring bill as early as
      this coming week. The measure is expected to reflect the three-page outline
      Murkowski circulated this summer and is similar to the bill being debated in
      the House Commerce Energy & Power Subcommittee. The bill would repeal
      the Public Utility Holding Company Act and the Public Utility Regulatory
      Policies Act as well as include several tax-related issues to address
      power marketing administrations and nuclear decommissioning. It is not
      expected to include any significant provisions to support efficiency and


      1.) City Leaders & Clinton Express Concern About Climate Change:

      Ozone Action and the International Council for Local Environmental
      Initiatives released a statement on September 27 signed by 567 mayors and
      local officials on the danger of global warming to their communities and
      asking Washington to step up the fight to stop the problem. The statement can
      be found at <http://www.ozone.org>. In response, President Clinton
      commented: "The communities [these officials] represent understand that the
      threat of global warming is real. They also understand that we can begin to
      address this threat through actions that both help our environment and save
      money for taxpayers, consumers, and businesses. ... Regrettably, even as
      ordinary citizens, local leaders, and a growing number of leading
      are taking action, many in Congress are ignoring the mounting evidence of
      global warming and thwarting common-sense efforts to address it. I urge
      Congress to fully fund my proposed package of investments to accelerate the
      deployment of clean energy technologies for the 21st century."

      2.) Buchanan Expresses Opposition to Kyoto Protocol:

      On his web page, presidential candidate Pat Buchanan states his views on the
      Kyoto Protocol as follows: "As President, I will oppose international
      environmental accords like the Kyoto Treaty that would devastate American
      industry and obligate our country to onerous environmental regulations that
      not apply to other nations." See <http://www.gopatgo2000.com>


      1.) Bradley Opposes Anti-CAFE Rider on Appropriations Bill:

      In a September 13 letter to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group,
      presidential candidate, and former Senator, Bill Bradley expressed support
      the Gorton-Feinstein-Bryan Clean Car Resolution opposing the CAFE rider in
      the House Transportation appropriations bill. Bradley noted that this
      "particularly offensive rider ... has had the effect of allowing loopholes
      in the
      current law to mushroom. In particular, it has created a perverse reduction
      fuel efficiency due to the classification of Sports Utility Vehicles as light
      trucks. There is no one who doesn't recognize that these popular family cars
      are not sold as work vehicles but are in fact a heavier version of family
      There is no reason why they should be treated differently than any other
      automobile. ... I hope that my former colleagues in the Senate will support
      bipartisan effort to reject the House language in conference." Incidentally,
      "Environmental Network News" (October 1) reports that Vice President Al
      Gore has recommended a veto of the Transportation Appropriations bill
      because of the rider but President Clinton is expected to sign it nonetheless.

      2.) Honda Introduces 70 MPG Gasoline-Electric Hybrid:

      PRNewswire (September 23) and Reuters (September 27) report that
      American Honda Motor Company has unveiled its new Insight, the first
      gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle available in America and slated to go on
      in December. The vehicle features a traditional engine supplemented by a
      battery-powered motor and combines the hybrid power train with an
      aerodynamically slippery and lightweight aluminum and plastic body. It can
      achieve more than 70 mpg on the highway -- the world's best fuel economy
      for a gasoline automobile -- as well as meet California's stringent Ultra-Low
      Emission Vehicle standard. The two-seater coupe is being priced at less than
      $20,000 but only 4,000 of the cars will be available in the first year.

      3.) DOE and EPA Unveil Fuel Economy Web Site:

      The U.S. Department of Energy the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      have launched a new Fuel Economy web site to help the public factor energy
      efficiency into their car-buying decisions. It features an array of advanced
      technology vehicles, from Honda's "Insight," to electric, natural gas, and
      diesel-powered alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles. It also
      gas mileage numbers for every model year 2000 car and light truck as well as
      an animated explanation of how a fuel cell works. The site is located at

      4.) Solar Electricity to Power Alcatraz Island:

      The "Sacramento Bee" (September 28) reports that the Sacramento
      Municipal Utility District has won a contract from the National Renewable
      Energy Laboratory to design and begin installing a solar-powered electrical
      system on Alcatraz Island. The first panels providing 4 kW of solar power
      be installed by February 2000 with another 80+ kW to be installed 8-12
      months later which would provide about half of the island's power.

      5.) Japanese Nuclear Accident Is Part of a Pattern:

      The "Washington Post" (October 1) reports that Japan experienced its worst
      nuclear power accident this past week when an unplanned nuclear-fission
      chain reaction at a privately-run uranium processing plant 75 miles north of
      Tokyo which left 40 people being treated for radiation exposure.

      Coincidentally, the accident occurred during the same week as Northeast
      Utilities was slapped with $10 million in fines for violations of nuclear
      and environmental regulations governing its Millstone nuclear plant in
      Waterford, CT -- the largest fine ever imposed in the United States for
      nuclear safety violations (for details, see Associated Press - September 27).

      And last week (September 24), Public Citizen testified before the Nuclear
      Regulatory Commission's Committee on Reactor Safeguards that the NRC is
      attempting to gut nuclear safety standards in light of utility deregulation.
      Rather than require nuclear reactor owners to meet 16 nuclear safety
      standards which the nuclear industry wants to deregulate, the NRC's proposal
      would allow licensees to skirt safety standards by performing risk
      assessments. Although the NRC is not supposed to be concerned with the
      economics of nuclear power, the commissions wants to replace regulations
      with risk assessments because that would reduce the cost of regulation
      imposed upon the nuclear industry.

      6.) Martha Krebs to Leave DOE's Science Office:

      On September 24, Martha Krebs, Assistant Secretary for the U.S.
      Department of Energy's Office of Science, announced her resignation. She
      expects to leave DOE by "early December."

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