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President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court that will be left by Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring. In a 1980 essay in the Daily Princetonian, Kagan expressed frustration over the election of anti-abortion conservatives. Yet later, while working as a policy staffer at the White House, she advised President Clinton to compromise on banning late-term abortions.
The Energy and Agriculture Departments announced more than $30 million in grants for biofuels research and development projects. The funding will be subject to annual appropriations.
The EPA issued final rules requiring large power plants, oil refineries and manufacturers to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The so-called tailoring regulation, which most industry officials oppose, would not kick in until early next year.
Under these regulations, only large sources that emit more than 75,000 tons or more of greenhouse gases will be required to obtain a Clean Air Act permit. EPA air chief Gina McCarthy said the regulations will not target smaller emitters like apartment complexes or commercial buildings until at least 2016, when the agency finishes an impact study.
The House passed the $5.7 billion Home Star bill by a vote of 246-161. The bill would implement a two-year program that gives rebates to homeowners if they retrofit their houses to make them more energy-efficient. The bill now moves to the Senate.
In light of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, top White House aide David Axelrod said today that the administration will not authorize any additional offshore drilling until the cause of the oil rig explosion and subsequent leak is determined. In a speech, Obama defended his administration's plans, made in March, to expand offshore development.
The Energy Department is partnering with several countries in Latin America on clean energy initiatives. Its projects include helping Carribbean nations establish an electricity system that spans the whole region and developing biomass resources in Colombia.
In a memorandum directing all hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to begin extending visitation rights to partners in same-sex couples, Obama called attention to those "who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives -- unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated."
Obama assembled a 47-nation summit to focus on nuclear terrorism in a post-Cold War world. After discussions that yielded few specifics, they reached a general agreement to secure all unaccounted-for nuclear material within four years.
The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review presented at the White House today stated that the United States would not develop or test new nuclear warheads. It also says the U.S. won't mount nuclear strikes against nonnuclear countries -- if they keep nonproliferation agreements.
The document sets the framework for nuclear policy for the next five to 10 years, including the size of and investments in the stockpile.
The Environmental Protection Agency is pairing up with the Asian Development Bank to strengthen environmental standards in Asian countries. Top officials from each agency signed a letter of intent that says they will work together through 2015 to improve air quality, ensure safe drinking water and manage toxic substances, among other points. According to the letter, EPA's priority areas in this agreement are China, India and Indoesia.