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Energy Bill on Hold; Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan

The bipartisan energy bill, which Congress has focused on since the start of the new year, has been put on hold following a disagreement over federal aid to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  The energy bill was debated on the Senate floor the past two weeks before coming to a halt last Thursday when senators could not agree on the size and scope of an aid package offered by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to help Flint, Michigan.

Meanwhile, President Obama released his fiscal year 2017 budget request on February 9, which includes $32.5 billion for the Department of Energy.  The request calls on the agency to increase clean energy efforts and spending, including $7.7 billion for clean energy across several agencies, about 76 percent of which would go to the DOE for vehicle and building efficiency programs, weatherization, and ARPA-E.  Also on February 9, the Supreme Court stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan until all legal challenges are complete, thereby reversing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s January 21 decision.  Lawsuits over the rule will continue at least into 2017, and the Supreme Court is expected to be the final arbiter of the regulation.  For more on these developments and the latest from D.C., read this week’s update from ML Strategies.

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David Leiter