Nuclear power and offshore drilling kick off the American Power Act.
The Power Act was supposed to include a "robust" nuclear title. The good news is more government money is made available for nuclear grants and loan guarantees. The bad news includes the following: (1) Although provisions for streamlining the permitting process are included, but the conditions for expedited approvall include construction of the reactor "based on a design approved by the Commission" and more importantly on "a site at which an operating nuclear power plant exists." The Power Act thus hamstrings construction of new plants. (2) Also, the Power Act reaffirms NEPA's applicability to nuclear plant siting and construction. This means plant construction will be delayed by litigation from NIMBY and anti-nuclear zealots. In other words, don't expect to see new nuclear plants anytime soon.
The rumor was offshore drilling might be "out" of the bill. It seems to be in. In an odd turn of language, the Power Act states that "The purposes of this Act are...to consider through this Act or accompanying legislation (A) a moratorium on any new offshore drilling activities" until: (1) the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident is determined; (2) the Secretary of the Interior certifies that it is safe to continue proposed drilling plans; (3) liability mechanisms to ensure adequate funds are available to pay for cleanup; (4) new safety measures are in place to protect oil workers; and (5) allowing States to determine whether offshore drilling should take place. However, the Power Act does not prohibit drilling. In fact, it explicitly allocates to the States 37.5% of any offshore lease rental and royalty payments, with 20% of that allocable share going directly to "certain coastal political subdivisions."
More to follow.