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Quick Hits: Socialists In The White House Edition

Because today was an oh-so-busy day:

* No bombshells dropped in this morning's confirmation hearings for Lisa Jackson (EPA) and Nancy Sutley (CEQ). Both nominees pledged to respect science, protect the environment, and consider options for reducing greenhouse gases. Shocking! Still unanswered is what exact role Carol Browner will play as the White House's energy and environment coordinator. During the hearing, James Inhofe actually had some cordial things to say about Browner's tenure as Clinton's EPA chief ("we didn't agree on a lot of things, but we had a pretty good relationship"), though that came shortly after he'd appeared on FoxNews to accuse her, wrongly, of being a closet socialist.

* Speaking of Browner, her erstwhile CAP colleagues are offering up ten environmental actions the Obama administration could take immediately, without congressional approval. Ideas range from the mundane (assemble an "Energy Innovation Council") to the tectonic (have the EPA issue an endangerment finding for carbon-dioxide—something Jackson said today she'd move forward on quickly).

* Europe's new energy-efficiency rules for televisions might lead to a ban on large flat-screen plasma sets. And Europe's rules aren't half so stringent as California's proposed state standards, which would require new TVs to use 50 percent less energy by 2013.

* Even solar power has a dirty side—the toxic chemicals used in making the panels, mostly—and a new report offers guidelines for cleaning up the nascent industry.

* Ryan Avent has a sharp piece looking at what Obama's cabinet picks mean for urban policy.

* Oh yeah, this blog now has its own e-mail address. Either hit the "Contact Us" button below the banner above, or write to TheVine -at- Send along tips, complaints, love mail, hate mail, Nigerian spam, whatever. And yes, we probably should've thought of this ages ago...

--Bradford Plumer