Energy News for February 25, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on February 25, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 2/25/2015


KEYSTONE BILL IS DEAD, LONG LIVE KEYSTONE: President Barack Obama vetoed the Republicans’ Keystone XL pipeline bill yesterday, rejecting Congress’ attempt to take the project’s fate out of his hands — and leaving the GOP on track for an override vote that will most likely fail. Even before Obama whipped out his veto pen, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to hold an override vote, which the Republican leader’s office said would occur no later than March 3. That leaves the GOP and the pipeline backers with a week to find about 20 more Democratic votes in the House and four in the Senate in order to enact the bill, judging from the votes on the Keystone bill. Elana Schor has more:


BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL bill leaves the project’s supporters bracing for his next move: deciding the fate of the $8 billion pipeline itself. Even if that answer is another no — as more Keystone backers are expecting — all of them vow that the heavy-oil pipeline will survive any attempt by Obama to kill it. The American Petroleum Institute plans to keep pressing for potential Democratic votes to get the Keystone bill past the two-thirds majority needed for an override Obama. And a small pool of Democrats who might be persuadable on the pipeline could change if Obama rejects the project soon. Elana serves up more:

KEYSTONE BILL ‘EARNED MY VETO’: Obama’s rebuke of the bill wasn’t grounded in any potential climate impacts or the 35-permanent-jobs number expected of the project but rather the usurpation of established process and an infringement on the executive branch: “Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.” He added: “[B]ecause this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.” Either way, it basically reads “bite me.”

TURN DOWN FOR WHAT: The GOP are seething over the president’s rejection of the pipeline bill but a photo of Obama smiling and reclining— reportedly taken “moments after signing the Keystone veto”—is likely to twist the knife. Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery tweeted the pic: It wouldn’t shock ME if this photo crops up in a lot Republican National Committee materials.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY. I’m your host, Darius Dixon, and we were somewhat amused by the Keystone-induced fatigue among members of the Energy Reporter Caucus on Twitter yesterday. The Hill’s Tim Cama: “INBOX: Person/group has the same exact opinion on #KeystoneXL as he/she/it has always had.” ME host emeritus Alex Guillén tweeted: “I’d like to veto all reaction emails about the Keystone veto.” Send your energy commentary, news, scoops and tips, and follow us on Twitter @dariusss, @Morning_Energyand @POLITICOPro.

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OIL FOR THOUGHT: Oil sands’ producers have some more pressing worries than Keystone XL right now: an analyst at Wood Mackenzie says cash flows from the region will fall by $23 billion over two years, and turn negative in 2016. That’s based on U.S. crude prices of $55 and $65 a barrel in 2015 and 2016, and that’s a premium to bitumen price. Reuters:

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell are making trips to Capitol Hill throughout the week, but today is only day when all three of them could conceivably run into each other in the hallway. So, for the sake of clarity, here is when and where they will all testify:

10 a.m. — McCarthy testifies to the Energy and Power, and Environment and the Economy subpanels of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rayburn 2123. ME is sure lawmakers will ask about the agency’s draft clean water rule…Hahaha! No, of course, not. The hearing is going to be all about the draft climate rules.

10 a.m. — Moniz testifies to the House Science Committee. Rayburn 2318. All jokes aside, there’s usually a good chance that climate skeptics on the committee will somehow try to corner Moniz on global warming.

1 p.m. — Jewell testifies to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment reviews the Interior Department’s fiscal 2016 budget. Rayburn B-308.

Bonus: 2 p.m. — For those of you holding out hope that John Kerry might get asked about the Keystone XL pipeline, the Secretary of State is testifying in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. Rayburn 2359.

EPA SECRETS OR CONGRESS-PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY: The House Science Committee is slated to vote on “Secret Science Reform Act” legislation this afternoon — a bill requiring the EPA to make public all its data used to back its regulations. Panel Chairman Lamar Smith, who introduced the bill yesterday, and some Senate Republicans have long been focused on passing such a measure, arguing that it will ensure government transparency. The focus so far has been on several major epidemiological studies that were used in air pollution regulations, and EPA’s failure to turn over all of the related data to Congress. EPA has said it could not provide medical data while protecting identifying information of participants. Gina McCarthy has said ( the bill is a red herring — not about secrets but “challenging the credibility of world renowned scientists and institutions like Harvard University and the American Cancer Society.” The panel will also consider the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act. Expect party line votes on both bills. The markup is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Rayburn 2318.

HENRY WAXMAN BECOMES A…LOBBYIST? Borrowing generously from POLITICO Influence, recently retired Rep. Henry Waxman is joining his son, Michael, at the consulting firm Waxman Strategies. The California Democrat, a former chairman of the Energy and Commerce and the Oversight and Government Reform committees, will serve as chairman of the firm and is expected to focus on health care, environment, energy, technology, telecommunications and congressional investigations. In an interview with Influence, Waxman said that the firm would be “representing a select group of clients, helping them navigate the legislative and regulatory process, communicate effectively and get results.” Waxman will be based in D.C. and could end up registering to lobby after his one-year ban is up. “We will only work for clients on issues we support, offering a team approach and range of services,” Waxman told Influence. “Traditional lobbying may be a necessary part of our work. When needed, we’ll make sure to provide the best support, but that may not be the role for me.”

WEST VIRGINIA SOLAR BILL VETOED ON TECHNICALITIES: West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a controversial solar net-metering bill (HB2201) due to “a number of technical issues.”

CLIMATE SCIENTIST INVOKES TAILGUNNER JOE: Yesterday, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee — in response to recent disclosures about Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon — called on universities to disclose financial information about seven researchers whose work has been championed by skeptics of man-made climate change. But Roger Pielke Jr., one of those scientists listed in the request, tweeted “Climate McCarthyism alive & well. Just learned a U.S. congressman has contacted my university to ‘investigate’ me. I’m not even a skeptic ;-).” Pielke, a professor at University of Colorado- Boulder, added: “So read this carefully. I am being investigated by Congress for presenting in testimony per-reviewed science 100% consistent with the IPCC.”

Others rally to Pielke. Bob Ward, with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, tweeted: “I have my differences with @RogerPielkeJr but @RepRaulGrijalva is absolutely wrong to make baseless allegations about his funding.” University of British Columbia geography professor Simon Donner replied: “Bob took the words right out of my mouth. The investigation is unfair and unwarranted.” Longtime New York Times climate reporter Andrew Revkin called it “Targeted harassment,” adding “Exxon, BP $ flow to heaps of climate/energy scientists at Stanford, Princeton, e.g. Why not them, too?”

THE ‘REAL PROBLEM’ WITH SOON AND CLIMATE DENIAL: In an essay about scientist Willie Soon, who reportedly failed to properly disclose funding he received from fossil fuel interests when publishing several papers about climate change, astrophysics professor Adam Frank says that the “real problem” is not the lack of disclosure but that Soon has contributed little to the body of climate research. Frank writes: “What should really matter is not the source of a scientist’s money, but the quality of their work. Only from that vantage point can we judge their roles as public advocates.” He said there’s value to having skeptical climate scientists contribute to the field, and he “was more than willing to hear what the man had to say.” But after seeing Soon give a research talk years ago, Frank said he was “On all counts I was disappointed.” He continues: “For a topic this contentious, there was insufficient discussion of the voluminous and highly detailed response critics have offered to his claims that solar activity accounts for most observed climate variability.” NPR:


— Murkowski blasts Jewell as ‘hurting’ Alaska. POLITICO Pro’s Darren Goode:

— Rivals Hit Oil Exporter That Opened U.S. Spigot. The Wall Street Journal:

— Colorado oil, gas task force sends 9 measures on to governor’s desk. The Denver Post:

— Virginia proposes $361,000 fine against CSX over Lynchburg derailment. The Roanoke Times:

— Gazprom Seeks U.S. Stamp of Approval as Sanctions Warnings Rise. Bloomberg:

— Shell refinery apologizes for foul stink released over Anacortes. AP:

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