Energy News for March 13, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on March 13, 2015

POLITICO Morning Energy for 3/13/2015

By DARIUS DIXON, with help from Alex Guillén and Elana Schor

BEING THE BIG WONK ON CAMPUS: POLITICO’s Darren Samuelsohn has an Only in the Beltway sort of magazine story about the lengths to which GOP presidential candidates are going to woo economist Stephen Moore: “Stephen Moore paced the hallways of the Fox News studio one recent afternoon thinking about guest lists. The 55-year-old economist, fresh from a round of live interviews trashing Obamacare and extolling the wonders of hydraulic fracturing, makeup pancaked on his bespectacled face, was co-hosting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that night at a private dinner at the 21 Club to introduce the 2016 hopeful to New York’s GOP elite — an event that would soon become very public thanks to a certain former mayor’s Obama-bashing.
… What had turned the supply-sider into a party planner was a quadrennial mating ritual that shapes the presidential cycle even before most candidates have officially announced: Moore and dozens of other ambitious wonks are shopping for a White House hopeful to call their own even as the candidates themselves are searching for policy experts who can make them look smart and burnish often-thin resumes.” Sit back and read Samuelsohn’s piece:

ME FIRST — SENATORS CALL FOR RE-UP ON ISRAEL ENERGY: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Mark Warner are leading a group of six senators urging Secretary of State John Kerry to renew a U.S.-Israel energy agreement that expired in November. “Under its terms, our nation guarantees the delivery of oil to Israel in the event that Israel ever loses access to global markets, as may occur during a crisis,” a letter to Kerry states. The letter notes that although the agreement, which dates back to the Carter era, had been renewed in 1994 and 2004, it’s never been used. The letter:

WOOT, IT’S FRIDAY and aren’t you glad that this week is nearly over? I’m your host, Darius Dixon, and while I’m sad that our minds won’t meet on Pi Day tomorrow, just remember that the only alignment better than this was in 1592. Send your energy commentary, news, scoops and tips to, and follow us on Twitter @dariusss, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

CALIFORNIA COMPUTIN’: The California Energy Commission released the nation’s first proposal to establish efficiency standards for computers and monitors. Projected net savings over a five-year lifespan of an individual desktop is expected to be $67, and once enacted, the computer standards should reduce the state’s power consumption by 2,117 gigawatt-hours per year. The report says that computers, monitors, and displays use about 5 percent of the electricity consumed in California, in both the commercial and the residential sectors. The commission’s been working on this for two and a half years. Standards for notebooks, small-scale servers, and workstation computers would take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Standards for desktop computers and thin-clients would take effect Jan. 1, 2018. A summary: The report: And I think the efficiency geeks out there are in love, NRDC:

But this reminds me of something else. Oh, right. I’m impatiently waiting for the Energy Department to issue a final determination on whether it will set standards for computers and battery backup systems. That determination was slated for release last month but this rulemaking has had some issues since it began almost two years ago: But as, NRDC points out, DOE may be playing second fiddle to California since that state holds a dominating position in setting national standards merely by its size.

BUDGET PROPOSALS SWEEP CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAMS: From our sister publication Capital New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate are calling for millions of dollars in clean energy funds be diverted from a key program that controls carbon emissions to one that preserves forest land. Environmental groups and some lawmakers say that sets a dangerous programs and shuffles money to one green initiative at the expense of another. Legislators have regularly attempted to divert money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program created by northeastern states that generates money by selling air emissions credits to industrial polluters. The RGGI program provided almost $100 million to support the state’s clean energy programs last year and is generally controlled by the New York State Research and Development Authority.

FIFTH CIRCUIT WON’T REVISIT CSB SUBPONEA POWER: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday declined to hold an en banc rehearing of a ruling from last year affirming the subpoena power of the Chemical Safety Board and its investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Fifth Circuit’s active members voted 9-6 against a rehearing for the case. The suit was brought by Transocean, which owned the drilling rig. The CSB, which investigates accidents at industrial sites like refineries and chemical plants, has been investigating the safety issues that led to the explosion and subsequent spill. But the agency cannot issue fines or make regulatory changes, only recommendations. Fifth Circuit’s denial:

Speaking of CSB: The agency’s chairman, Rafael Moure-Eraso, over the past year has been taking fire over his management of the board, and now Sens. Jim Inhofe and Mike Rounds are joining a bipartisan group of House members calling for his ouster. In a letter to the president on Thursday, the two Republicans called for Obama to fire Moure-Eraso now, though his term ends in June. EPA’s inspector general, who also oversees CSB, says that the agency refuses to cooperate with an investigation into the use of nongovernmental email accounts, and congressional investigations concluded he has instituted a hostile workplace. “He has violated his oath of office. He has violated the law,” Inhofe and Rounds write. “The CSB can no longer continue to operate credibly under this leadership, and it is therefore our recommendation that you ask for Chairman Moure-Eraso’s immediate resignation.” Letter:

— The White House last week nominated Vanessa Sutherland, the chief counsel at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, to be the new CSB chair.

DOE PRESS DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Reporters who ping the Energy Department as often as I do have undoubtedly come across the likes of Bill Gibbons, the agency press secretary who looks like he’d be game for just about any extreme sport you can imagine. “It is certainly bittersweet as I’m excited about my next adventure, but also can’t imagine not doing this job anymore. But after 5+ great years at the Department, I’ve decided it’s time to try something new,” Gibbons wrote in an email blast last night announcing his departure. Dude, I hope you keep up the Sabretooth look. Be safe out there.

A YUCCA MOUNTAIN … REFERENDUM: The Nevada-based US Nuclear Energy Foundation is none too impressed with the three-page bill that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dean Heller introduced earlier this week that would give local, state and tribal governments the power to veto a potential nuclear waste. But this group has been urging that the issue of a nuclear waste go through a “complete legislative public process.” They write: “The only guarantee for this process to reflect the ‘will of the people’ is through a statewide public referendum. This would provide a public educational platform for both sides of the issue for assessment.” How can the government demonstrate consent, the Foundation suggests, if “the ‘will of the people’ is not measured.” USNEF:

The group also filed a Freedom of Information Act request with DOE for any and all emails, meetings, video teleconferences, teleconferences, and letters or other related communications between the agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. As ME reported yesterday, DOE has rebuffed the notion that they have any uses for the site. Still, a FOIA never hurt anything but your printer.

ALASKAN OIL MONEY: The Bureau of Land Management announced seven new oil and gas leases in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska that raked in more than $650,000. The new leases are held by ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc./Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. and Nordaq Energy, Inc. BLM Alaska has held 10 lease sales since 1999.


— Colorado Is the Latest State to Consider the ‘Utility of the Future.’ Greentech Media:

— Crude-Oil Price Collapse Takes Toll on Williston. The Wall Street Journal:

— Oil Baron of the Pine Barrens. US News and World Report:

— Oil Deaths Rise as Bakken Boom Fades. The Wall Street Journal:

— W.Va.Gov. Tomblin Signs SB 357, Coal Jobs and Safety Act. The Associated Press:


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