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Inside the Bush energy policy
MAY 18, 2001

So President Bush finally unveiled his national energy policy on Thursday. It contains over 105 "recommendations," many of which are directed at Congress and will be debated in the upcoming months.

Others are directed at federal agencies and can be implemented without Congressional approval. Here's a quick rundown about what is planned, when it might happen, and who is supposed to do it.

FOR PRESIDENT BUSH:
Bush will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to consider any "adverse" or "significant" impacts any rules they propose may have on energy supplies. These impacts must be addressed in a written statement and include alternatives to any proposed rule that won't affect supplies.

Bush will issue another order directing agencies to "expedite" the permitting process for energy related projects. A task force will be set up to coordinate activities with state, local, and tribal officials to carry out this directive.

Bush will direct federal agencies to try and conserve power usage at government buildings.

FOR INTERIOR SECRETARY GALE NORTON:
Norton will work with Congress to authorize exploration and development of the "1002" region of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Norton will review and potentially modify any "impediments" to oil and gas leasing on federal lands. Included are public lands off the coasts of states like Florida and California.

Norton will review public lands which are currently withdrawn from development and possibly modify their status. Republicans, for example, estimate as much as 60 percent of federal lands in the Rocky Mountains are off-limits to drilling.

Norton will consider offering economic incentives to private companies who want to develop federal land. Royalty rates may be reduced to entice companies to drill, which would mean less money for the government.

FOR ENERGY SECRETARY SPENCER ABRAHAM:
By the end of this year, Secretary Spencer Abraham will examine the benefits of establishing a national power grid.

Abraham will work with federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to develop rights-of-way legislation for electricity transmission lines.

Evaluate the establishment of a national nuclear waste repository. Yucca Mountain in Nevada is currently under consideration by the department and Abraham is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman will work with Congress to develop legislation to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury from electric power generators.

Whitman will work with the trucking industry to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

Whitman will develop a public relations campaign to make consumers aware of using energy efficient products.

FOR THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION:
NRC will be "encouraged" to expedite licenses for nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is the second largest source (20 percent) of the nation's power supply.

NRC will also be encouraged to relicense existing nuclear plants that meet or exceed safety standards.

FOR THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION:
FERC will be encouraged to speed up licensing for hyrdropower and natural gas pipeline projects.

Part II: The Policy and Indian Country (5/18)

Get the Policy:
Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America’s Future (The White House 5/17)
ERRATA: Corrections (The White House 5/17)

Related Stories:
Bush drops the energy bomb (5/18)
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