Energy News for January 22, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on January 22, 2015
  • Center for Offshore Safety Leadership: The Center for Offshore Safety is currently accepting nominations for the 2nd annual Safety Leadership award. The vision for this recognition program is to encourage and reward outstanding contributions to improving safety management through leadership, communication and teamwork (participation is open to COS members and non-members). In order to be considered, nomination forms must be submitted to the COS by Feb. 13. Learn more.
  • Alex Guillén (POLITICO):BRANSTAD TO WHITE HOUSE HOPEFULS – SUPPORT THE RFS, OR ELSE:Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is behind a multi-million dollar campaign launching today that will pressure presidential contenders to support the Renewable Fuel Standard. America’s Renewable Future is a coalition of companies and groups supportive of the RFS, and until the Iowa caucuses about a year from now it will push candidates from both parties to ‘take a stand.’ ARF’s campaign also includes a state effort to tell voters about which candidates support the RFS. “Americans of both political parties know that a robust RFS creates jobs in America, reduces our dependency on foreign oil and offers more consumer choice,” said Branstad, who has personally lobbied White House officials not to reduce mandate levels. The last primary with openings in both parties, in 2007, took place shortly after the RFS was instituted. According to ARF, Iowa has since doubled ethanol production and tripled biodiesel output. ARF would not get specific on exactly how much money it will spend, and declined to say which entities are providing funding.Who’s involved: The effort will be run out of Des Moines by Eric Branstad – a public affairs specialist, former GOP operative and son of the governor – and Derek Eadon, a former Iowa state director for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. It is co-chaired by former Lieutenant Gov. Patty Judge, a Democrat, and former state Rep. Annette Sweeney, a Republican, as well as Bill Couser, a cattleman and vocal RFS supporter. The campaign launches just days before a number of GOP hopefuls – including Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and others – gather for Rep. Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit. Perry in particular has a rocky history with Iowa and the RFS, having been critical of the mandate and seeking partial waivers for Texas. Perry last year said in Davenport that biofuels can survive a diminished RFS mandate, but likely would play a smaller role in Iowa’s economy.

    GOP HEAD FAKE SPLITS SENATE CLIMATE VOTES: Senate Republicans head-faked Democrats on climate change Wednesday, agreeing in a floor vote that the planet’s climate was changing, but blocking language that would have blamed human activity. In a complicated maneuver that was the first politically perilous test for Senate Republicans, the new majority party split up the votes that Democrats had hoped would force the GOP into an awkward roll call on whether they believed in the science behind climate change. But Republicans made an eleventh-hour change in strategy on two Democratic attempts to divide them – with Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, their most vocal denier of humans’ effect on the climate, joining a leading liberal in a symbolic vote on whether global warming is “real and not a hoax.” Elana Schor has more:

    Next up: The Senate has lined up another six amendments to get votes as early as today. They include a symbolic climate change measure from Sen. Bernie Sanders, a proposal to block the use of eminent domain to acquire Keystone land from Sen. Robert Menendez; a proposal to expedite drilling permit approval from Sen. Mike Lee; a proposal to levy oil spill liability taxes on Keystone’s heavy crude from Sen. Ron Wyden; and a bid to ramp up revenue sharing from offshore drilling with coastal states, offered by Sen. David Vitter. Also on the docket is one of two amendments offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, though it was not clear last night which one.

    HE’S A DOER, NOT A TALKER: Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer will be on the Hill this morning for a pro-Keystone press conference with Sens. John Hoeven and Joe Manchin. 10:30 a.m., SVC-203

  • Today’s Washington Brief:
    • By a tally of 98-1, the Senate voted in favor of an amendment that says climate change is real and not a hoax. However, a surprise last-minute move by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a climate change denier, gave Republicans a way out by saying the only hoax was that climate change could be caused by human activity. National Journal has the story.
    • As the climate drama unfolded on the Senate Floor, Mitt Romney chimed in, saying climate change is a big challenge to the U.S. and that both parties are failing to lead on the issue. The Washington Post
    • As Congress continues its work to approve the Keystone pipeline, some Senators are leary of an upcoming all-night battle to finish work on the bill. E&E
  • Today’s Business Brief:
    • The Shale oil boom isn’t just hurting OPEC producers, it’s also crimping Canada’s ability to economically develop its tar sands oil. Bloomberg News
    • Oil rose above the $50 a barrel threshold today on news that the EU would begin a bond-buying program that could push the dollar to new highs and put downward pressure on oil prices. CNBC has the story.
    • Google opened up 2015 with two big investments in renewable energy, furthering speculation that the internet giant is becoming an energy company. More from Utility Dive.
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