Florida Contemplates Golf Courses in State Parks
By Josh Goodman, Staff Writer
POWERING UP: With large new wind farms and solar plants not yet built, California 's utilities didn't meet a state requirement to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources in 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reports . The failures mean that the utilities will be required to use even more renewable power in coming years to compensate. Some of the utilities came close. Southern California Edison, for example, which provides power to close to 14 million people, hit 19.4 percent. California's renewable portfolio standards are among the country's most aggressive, with utilities expected to get one-third of their power from renewables by 2020.
BEARING DOWN: Alaska has opened a new front in its fight against the federal government's decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species, the Associated Press reports . The state is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for designating an area larger than California as critical habitat for the bears, with Alaska Governor Sean Parnell complaining that the move could stall economic development in his state. Alaska filed a still-pending lawsuit against the "threatened" designation in 2008, arguing that polar bear populations had doubled over 40 years. Federal officials say that melting sea ice puts the bears' future in doubt.
20 MORE YEARS: The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will receive a federal license to continue operation for 20 more years, but opposition from state policy makers could still close the plant next year, the Brattleboro Reformer reports . Generally, states don't decide whether nuclear plants stay in business. However, as part of a deal last decade that allowed Vermont Yankee to store waste above ground, legislators gained a say in whether the plant stays in action beyond 2012, when its first 40-year license will be up. Vermont Yankee, the state's only nuclear power plant, has suffered embarrassing missteps in recent years including the collapse of a cooling tower and leaks of tritium from pipes that plant officials had said didn't contain radioactive material. The Vermont Senate voted 26-to-4 last year against granting the plant permission to stay in business. Legal action is possible if the state continues to insist that Vermont Yankee close next year.
OFFICE POLITICS: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's budget proposes doing away with an independent state Office of Energy Independence. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , Walker wants to fold the office's responsibilities back into the state Department of Administration. The Office of Energy Independence was created by Governor Jim Doyle, Walker's predecessor, as a means to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Walker's administration describes ditching the office as a streamlining move. The new governor's proposal also loosens mandates that state agencies use less gasoline.