Shortly after being sworn in, President Obama issued an order halting the implementation of pending orders issued by the outgoing administration. Among these was the directive to expand off-shore drilling into previously banned areas. On Wednesday, however, the Interior Department announced that the leasing plan will continue.
Of more interest was a hold the new EPA administrator placed on a coal-fired South Dakota power plant that had been approved by the Bush administration. California Governor Schwarzenegger has asked the new administration to approve implementation of state set standards on automobile emissions which had been rejected by the Bush administration. California officials are expecting a decision by May.
This week the Congress will be voting on the new federal $820 billion stimulus package. Over the weekend, the administration released some details of the energy policy package. Among the proposals are plans to double renewable energy generating capacity over three years, retrofit 2 million homes and 75 percent of federal buildings for greater efficiency, install 3,000 miles of electric transmission lines and 40 million smart meters to control electricity consumption. The Senate unveiled a plan for $30 billion in tax credits for renewable energy. Other proposals include getting 1 million plug-in electric cars on the road by 2015, and cracking down on “excessive” energy speculation.
While there is widespread agreement that some form of stimulus urgently needs to be passed, disagreements as to the size, scope and details are emerging so that the final form of the proposals is far from certain.