Brian Beutler

Brian Beutler is a contributing writer for Grist as well as Washington correspondent for The Media Consortium. In his spare time he writes an eponymous blog.

Waxman vs. EPA

What will the House Oversight Committee chairman turn up next?

Henry Waxman is trying to get to the bottom of the EPA's refusal to allow California to regulate greenhouse gases more strictly than the federal government does. Ryan Grim at Politico has the details: In the letter, Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee gives a hint that the investigation will likely soon escalate to subpoenas. "In prior investigations, the Committee has allowed counsel representing the agency to be present during transcribed interviews. In this case, since your own conduct is being examined, this accommodation would not be appropriate, although counsel employed by the agency may participate if they certify that their presence is as counsel for the witness," he wrote. I'm sure the explanation for all of this is not corrupt or disgraceful. No sir. The full text of the letter is below the fold.

Omnibus spending bill passes Senate

And I guess that's all I have to say about that.

A 'staffer' speaks

Republicans oppose EPA mandate

David Freddoso of National Review learns from a Republican staffer: Actually, the Department of Energy already produces numbers on greenhouse emissions, even state-by state numbers. But these are based on voluntary reporting and reliable estimates and formulas -- there is no "mandatory reporting." So I would not panic, but this does appear to be a change for the worse. Congress is already making a bi-partisan war on America's energy producers and consumers (i.e., everyone) with the Energy Bill they will pass today. It is only a matter of time before climate alarmism adds still more to the already expanding burden on everyone in the form of higher gasoline prices and electricity bills. Look out! The regulations are coming!

Not the bill to take home to mother

Nuclear subsidies likely to stay in omnibus spending package

The Senate is debating the wide-ranging $500-plus billion omnibus spending package right now. Most of the points of contention are extremely important -- FOIA, defense spending -- but for the purposes of this site, a bit off-topic. It failed its most recent cloture vote on the question of war-funding (Republicans, of course, want more), and minority leader Mitch McConnell has basically promised it won't pass unless the Democrats cave. So if when that happens, I'll let you know. I'll also let you know if I hear (or am sent) any statements about the energy provisions, but for now, here's a bunch of info. There are indeed billions of dollars in allowances (though not all mandated subsidies) for nuclear energy programs. The amendment reads (PDF): For Department of Energy expenses including the purchase, construction, and acquisition of plant and capital equipment, and other expenses necessary for nuclear energy activities in carrying out the purposes of the Department of Energy Organization Act including the acquisition or condemnation of any real proper ty or any facility or for plant or facility acquisition, construction, or expansion, and the purchase of not to exceed 20 passenger motor vehicles for replacement only, including one ambulance, $970,525,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That $233,849,000 is authorized to be appropriated for Project 99-D-143 Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, Savannah River Site, South Carolina: Provided further, That the Department of Energy adhere strictly to Department of Energy Order 413.3A for Project 99-D-143. Whew! So, what, exactly, does DOE Order 413.3A mandate? Well, here's what the paper says (PDF):

The U.S. Congress, always willing to be shilling

The terrible omnibus bill

Rumors began circulating late last Friday -- as the Senate was passing the much-weakened energy bill -- that some terrible provisions had made their way into the omnibus spending package, which will likely face votes in both bodies by the end of the week. Now comes word from Friends of the Earth that "the omnibus spending bill expected to come before the House of Representatives tonight and the Senate tomorrow directs $20.5 billion in loan guarantees to nuclear power and $8 billion to the coal industry, with language that includes potential subsidies for the production of coal-to-liquid fuels."

Omnibus spending package

Another terrible bill?

I'll cover the debate over the omnibus spending bill here tomorrow. It's being held until at least then, as the Senate deals with FISA shenanigans, which you can view for the next several hours on C-SPAN 2.

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