Congress avoided a federal government shutdown by passing a temporary spending measure after Congressional leaders agreed to cut nearly $38 billion from the federal budget. Congress will probably pass the final budget agreement this week and then shift its focus to the 2012 budget. See related RegBlog post. The House of Representatives voted 255 to 172 for a bill that would amend the Clean Air Act to strip the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The previous day, the Senate had rejected a similar measure. See related RegBlog post. After the EPA demanded that Pennsylvania test the wastewater from gas drilling facilities for radioactive and other compounds, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection instructed wastewater treatment plants and drinking water facilities to increase such testing. The Department of Energy (DOE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Qatar Science and Technology Park to collaborate on developing and advancing clean energy technologies, including advanced cooling technologies, renewable power generation, energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, and water treatment systems. Qatar officials hope that this collaboration will help them meet the clean energy goals laid out in their Vision 2030 plan. DOE and the Department of the Interior announced that they will direct $26.6 million to improving hydropower technology as part of the Obama Administration's goal to increase use of clean energy. See related RegBlog post. The Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, that would require chain restaurants to provide nutritional information for food on display and other menu items. See related RegBlog post. Donald Molloy, a U.S. district judge in Missoula, MT, struck down a proposed settlement agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several conservation groups that would have allowed the hunting of gray wolves in Montana and Idaho. The judge found that allowing such hunting would violate the Endangered Species Act, under which gray wolves are protected as an endangered species. Members of Congress have said that they may take gray wolves off the endangered species list because of wolf attacks on farm animals. The Federal Reserve released a final rule, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that raises from $25,000 to $50,000 the minimum consumer credit account transaction amount exempt from Regulation Z. See related RegBlog post.
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