Our Top 5: The Weekly Round-up, Environmental & Sustainability — April 13, 2011

1) Senate Votes Down Restricting EPA Emissions Regulations 

The Senate has voted down a handful of proposals that sought to restrict or altogether block the Obama administration from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, setting up a showdown with the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve a measure to do so. But even though the proposals failed in the Senate, one broad-reaching measure received 50 votes and gained the support of four Democrats, demonstrating weakening support on Capitol Hill for the administration’s actions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2011-04-06.

2) Regulators Express Safety Concerns Over Nuclear Power Plants 

U.S. regulators privately expressed doubts some of the nation’s nuclear power plants are prepared for a Japan-scale disaster, documents obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists show. Obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the activist group, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission e-mails and memos questioned the adequacy of the backup plans to keep reactor cooling systems running if offsite power was lost for an extended period.

Source: MSNBC, 2011-04-06.

3) Budget Deal Doesn’t Include Study of EPA Regulations 

A last-minute spending deal to avoid a government shutdown does not include a requirement to study the effects of Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. Key Senate Democrats said that they were considering accepting such a study in exchange for Republicans dropping policy riders restricting various EPA rules.

Source: The Hill, 2011-04-09.

4) Solar Power Companies Seek Corporate Investors for Growth 

Fledgling solar power companies looking to grow beyond their venture capital roots are increasingly catching the eye of deep-pocketed corporate investors. For many startups, rounds of venture or private equity funding are thought of as stepping stones on the way to an initial public offering — the ultimate corporate symbol of having arrived.

Source: Reuters, 2011-04-06.

5)  Trucking Industry Fails to Offer Alternative Fuel Standards 

Virtually all truck makers besides Navistar chose to use an add-on system to their existing engines that uses a fluid cocktail to help neutralize the pollutant in the engine’s exhaust. Navistar decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to refine an engine that produces minimal NOx in the first place. Still, as a 2010 deadline approached, the industry had failed to come up with any alternative to the urea technology that could meet the emission standards.

Source: Toledo Blade, 2011-04-10.

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