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The Sciences

The Republican Energy Agenda

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The Hill has exposed an internal document from House Republicans laying out their energy and environment agenda. No surprise that blocking EPA rules on climate change is the top priority, but there are some other things that I find striking: A federal renewable energy standard will be resisted (this surely can't help us compete with China) and there will be attempts to block regulation of fracking. The only place where there's much room for compromise is nuclear--the GOP wants to make it easier to permit new plants and to continue to develop Yucca Mountain as the national waste repository. In all honesty, it's getting harder and harder to oppose the former if you're concerned about climate change. And as for Yucca--this issue has been nightmarishly mismanaged going back decades (leading to strong local resistance), but we've also spent billions to develop a repository there. At the very least, it's a complicated, murky subject. So maybe Democrats can trade nuclear for a renewables standard? It's clear we won't get anything fundamental done on climate change, but both would help address the problem indirectly by promoting cleaner energy--a small win-win, maybe, in the context of political gridlock that will be mostly lose-lose.

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