The Obama administration has extended the deadline until June 30 for implementation of mandatory E-Verify use by federal contractors to determine employment eligibility of their new hires. The policy was set to go into effect on Jan. 15. “The extension provides the administration an adequate opportunity to review the entire rule prior to its applicability to federal contractors and subcontractors,” says the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Administration officials on April 16 outlined plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in smart-grid- technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart-grid storage through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grants will range from $500,000 to $20 million for smart-grid applications and $100,000 to $5 million for grid monitoring devices.“We need an upgraded electrical grid to take full advantage of the vast renewable resources in this country,” said Vice President Joe Biden. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said administration of- ficials will hold a meeting in Washington, D.C., in May to discuss the development of industrywide standards
A new study from the North American Electric Reliability Corp., the U.S. electric-utility watchdog group, finds that the nation’s increasing reliance on renewable-energy power sources will require policymakers to clear the way for updating the nation’s transmissions system. NERC says adding high levels of wind, solar and ocean energy, deemed “variable generation” for their intermittent characteristics, will require “significant transmission additions and reinforcements” to ensure grid reliability. NERC projects that more than 145,000 MW of new variable resources will be added to the country’s bulk power system with-in 10 years. Denise Bode, CEO of American Wind Energy Association ,praises NERC’s
Michael L. Connor, a top Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee staffer, is President Obama’s choice to lead the Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the White House announced on March 18. Connor has been counsel to the energy committee since May 2001 and has worked on water, Indian-land and energy issues. Connor’s nomination as commissioner of reclamation is subject to Senate confirmation.
Congress is moving to draft legislation that would cap carbon dioxide emissions and create a carbon allowance trading program to help emitting industries comply. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says he plans to complete a bill by Memorial Day with targets and deadlines for emission reductions. The bill could include energy-efficiency standards and require utilities to generate a specific portion of power with renewable energy sources. A House floor vote could come later this year. In the Senate, Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) says she wants to take a deliberative approach to
The House and Senate approved a six-month extension to the Federal Aviation Administration authorization on March 18. The current authorization would have expired on March 31. The bill provides a total of $3.9 billion for the airport improvement program for fiscal 2009 and also extends the aviation excise taxes, which support the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, through Sept. 30. Lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee say they hope the seven-month extension gives them the time they need to work for passage of a new four-year, $70-billion authorization bill for the agency. As a first step, the Transportation
Steven Chu, Nobel laureate and head of the Lawrence Berkeley national laboratory, appears headed for fast Senate approval as energy secretary. At a Jan. 13 hearing, Senate energy committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said he backs Chu. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expects Chu to be approved. Chu said he’s committed to defense-site cleanup and that it “makes good sense” to have cleanup aid in a stimulus bill.