The California Department of Water Resources is seeking to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels within seven years under a plan released last week. The blueprint, approved by department director Mark Cowin, also outlines measures to cut emissions 80 percent by 2050. DWR estimates its total greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 were nearly 3.5 million metric tons, equivalent to emissions from 680,000 cars operating for a year. One key strategy in the plan is to terminate by July 2013 a contract with a coal-fired power plant in Nevada. That facility--the Reid Gardner Power Plant operated by Nevada Energy--supplies electricity for 30 to 50 percent of the department\u2019s water pumping operations. The department taps the plant\u2019s unit 4 for 235 MW of power. The emissions from the unit are about double those associated with general system power available on California\u2019s grid. Early termination is one of the many measures in the plan, stated Cowin, \u201cto reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by more than 1 million metric tons and by more than 2.5 million metric tons in 2050.\u201d Other measures include: -Increasing efficiency of pumps and turbines throughout the State Water Project system; -Boosting the proportion of electricity consumed by the State Water Project that comes from renewable and high-efficiency natural gas-fired sources, including by potentially placing renewable energy facilities on department land, such as installing solar panels adjacent to pumping plants; -Changing construction practices to minimize fuel consumption and landfill waste; -Participating in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District\u2019s Greenergy program to ensure that much of DWR\u2019s office space in Sacramento is powered by renewable sources; and -Buying 2,580 metric tons of carbon offsets each year over the next decade to fund projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DWR operates the 700-mile-long State Water Project, which pumps water from Northern California rivers to the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Southern California cities, and Central Valley farms. The department consumes and makes large amounts of electricity in the course of moving that water. More information on the plan--DWR Climate Action Plan Phase I: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan--is available online. * * * * * The California Air Resources Board June 20 set a June 28 hearing on amendments to its carbon cap-and-trade rules aimed at allowing the state to link its carbon emissions rights market to Quebec\u2019s. The board set the hearing the day after a state appeals court upheld the rules in a challenge brought by environmental justice groups. They claimed it could result in buildup of smog-forming pollution by allowing offsets instead of actual greenhouse gas reductions at California facilities. The first emissions rights auction under the program is slated for November. * * * * * In Washington, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Power pounded on the federal Environmental Protection Agency June 19 in its 20th hearing on the American Energy Initiative, singling out the agency\u2019s regulations to cut greenhouse gases. Panel chair Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said the rules--which he noted cover everything from cars and new power plants to farmers and donut factories--constitute \u201cregulatory overreach and serve as a backdoor cap-and-tax policy that Congress has already rejected.\u201d He said it\u2019s up to Congress, not EPA, to decide what action, if any, to take regarding climate change. The American Energy Initiative is an ongoing effort by House Republicans to address rising gasoline prices and expand American energy production. It\u2019s aimed at lower energy costs, economic growth, and jobs.