Printed on: February 19, 2014

Washington briefly


DOE to OK $6.5B for Georgia nuke plant

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Energy Department is poised to approve $6.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for the

first nuclear power plant built from scratch in this country in more than three decades.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was expected to announce final approval of the deal at a speech today, a day before he visits the $14 billion Vogtle nuclear plant now under construction in Georgia.

Atlanta-based Southern Co. is building the plant with several partners about 30 miles southeast of Augusta, Ga. The project is considered a major test of whether the industry can build nuclear plants without the endemic delays and cost overruns that plagued earlier rounds of building in the 1970s. Vogtle was originally estimated to cost around $14 billion, but government monitors have warned the final cost is likely to be higher.

Rep.: Fight Obama's imperial presidency

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- The Republican House chairman spearheading investigations of President Barack Obama's administration urged his party Tuesday to unite against Obama's "imperial presidency."

During a two-day tour of politically important New Hampshire, Rep. Darrell Issa of California said he is not running for president, despite the setting in the nation's traditional first-in-the-nation presidential primary state. But he questioned the leadership abilities of the Democratic favorite in the 2016 race, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I came here hoping to change the debate for those who do run for president," Issa said in a speech at St. Anselm College.

Subjects he hopes will come up ahead of the 2016 election include Obama administration controversies Issa has examined as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: The troubled rollout of Obama's signature health care law. The Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of politically active groups. And the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, during Clinton's tenure as Obama's chief diplomat.

Import standards urged for olive oil

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Need olive oil? American shoppers are more likely to pick a European brand, which is cheaper and viewed as more authentic than U.S.-produced olive oil.

But U.S. producers contend that "extra virgin" olive oil from Europe may not be as pure as you think. They've asked the federal government to intervene by imposing stricter standards on the imports, which now make up 97 percent of the market.

Olive oil production is steadily growing, and the domestic industry says it has gone from 1 percent of the national olive oil market five years ago to 3 percent today. Most of that is in California, though there are smaller operations in Texas, Georgia and a few other states.