Energy News for March 2, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on March 2, 2015

POLITICO Morning Energy for 3/2/2015

By Darius Dixon, with help from Alex Guillén, Elana Schor and Erica Martinson

NATURAL RESOURCES LEADERS TAP FRIENDSHIP: Rep. Rob Bishop, the Republican chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and conservative Mormon from Utah, and Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the ranking member who’s a liberal Arizona Democrat and a regular at D.C. dive bars, have struck up an unlikely friendship. And it’s sure to be tested as their panel wrestles over the federal role in energy production and species protection. Bishop and Grijalva are quick to praise each other as serious lawmakers who share a similar sense of humor and disdain for morning meetings. But with a mandate to over federal lands, the committee will play host to a raft of tough fights ranging from access to untapped oil and gas fields, and safeguards for threatened animal habitats to climate change.

Bishop on Grijalva: “I think our philosophies are polar opposites,” Bishop said. “The difference is I like the guy. And we can talk. And so there’s a personal relationship there that transcends the policies.”

Grijalva on Bishop: “He’s not a showhorse, he’s a workhorse [and] we’re serious about what we’re doing,” Grijalva said. “And he appreciates a good zinger and so do I. And he’s gotten me a couple of times really good.” Darren Goode gives a lay of the land:

KEYSTONE BILL EPILOGUE, PART I: The Senate is planning to hold an ill-fated override vote this week of President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff. But, the staffer added that before that can happen, the chamber has to break a Democratic filibuster of Obama’s veto message (yeah, it’s weird since most Democrats support the veto). The cloture vote to break the filibuster is likely to happen Wednesday and then the veto override of the Keystone bill could happen Thursday.

IT’S MONDAY but it’s also March, which means spring is on the way, right? Right!? I’m your host, Darius Dixon, and if you’re tired of hearing people mope around about the death of Leonard Nimoy, well, too bad. It obviously wasn’t a total shock given his health but as uber-Star Trek and science nerds, it was a wet blanket on the Dixon household this weekend. If you want to see some great tributes to Nimoy, there are more than 14,000 on this post on George Takei’s Facebook page: Send your energy commentary, news, scoops and tips to, and follow us on Twitter @dariusss, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS will be dominated by the fallout of Friday’s failure to provide long-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which will now run out of cash at the end of this week. Although it’s not energy-related – and there are plenty of energy hearings this week – the drama around DHS has caused such a ruckus that it’s hard to imagine it’s not taking up a great deal of bandwidth in both chambers. The Senate is expected to have a procedural vote at 5:30 p.m. aimed at overcoming Democratic resistance to going to conference with the House over the DHS spending bill. The House is back today as well and votes on a pair of veterans bills are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. POLITICO’s Congress team explains how it all came to this:

AFTER LOBBYING, OIL TRAINS EXPAND UNDER CUOMO: Scott Waldman, at our sister publication Capital New York, writes: The companies involved in shipping crude oil through New York State have spent nearly $1 million on lobbying efforts and dramatically expanded their operations during Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first term. Though administration officials have recently begun to tout New York’s approach to oil trains as the “most aggressive” in the nation, under Cuomo, New York’s rail lines, along with the Port of Albany, have become the primary routes for the nation’s crude oil shipments. Each day, oil is transported through Buffalo and Syracuse by CSX and down the Champlain Valley by Canadian Pacific. Most of it is offload in Albany on to barges and shipped down the Hudson River.

In all, up to a quarter of the daily output of the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, Montana and Canada – which together produce a million barrels a day – passes through New York. It is the same light sweet crude that’s carried in the same type of tankers that have been involved in accidents across the country, most recently in southern West Virginia last month.

STANFORD SCIENTIST TO RUN FOR IPCC CHAIR: Chris Field, a Stanford professor who specializes in ecosystem reactions to climate change, will run for the chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to the State Department. Field also helped found the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology and is a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since 2008 he has co-chaired the IPCC’s Working Group II, which focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Rajendra Pachauri resigned last week as chairman amid sexual harassment allegations, but the IPCC had already planned to elect a new chair this October. Other announced candidates include Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of Belgium and Thomas Stocker of Switzerland. In the meantime, Ismail El Gizouli of Sudan will serve as acting chairman.

CURRY SNIPES AT AGU OVER GRIJALVA PROBE: While the American Meteorological Society – no skeptic of climate change – came out swinging ( ) in defense of any individual scientist targeted by Congress, the American Geophysical Union issued a slightly softer statement about the seven academics targeted in Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s climate probe. AGU President Margaret Leinen wrote that scientists need to be protected from intimidation, but that requesting financial disclosure was “not unreasonable.” But, she added, the request for drafts of, or communications about, a scientist’s testimony “goes too far.” “All scientists deserve the same protections afforded by academic freedom, just as they have the same obligations to act with integrity,” Leinen wrote. AGU is one of the largest professional organizations for earth scientists. Leinen’s blog post:

Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry, a one of Grijalva’s seven targets, writing on her blog, said that AGU’s response “implicitly supports Grijalva” and was a “failure of leadership by Margaret Leinen.”

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL SERVICE: Roger Pielke Jr., a carbon-tax promoting professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, who was nevertheless targeted in Grijalva’s recent climate probe has been quite prolific on Twitter – and it seemed to have paid off a little. In a series of tweets yesterday, Pielke complained about his congressman’s position on Grijalva’s document request, writing “Whoa–> My own congressman @jaredpolis (who I voted for;-) refuses to support my academic freedom ,” adding “Happy to provide my congressman @jaredpolis a personal briefing on my research related to his colleague’s ‘investigation’-I’m easily reached.” Well, Polis tested the water, replying “of course I support academic freedom” to which Pielke shot back: “Wonderful. Then I look forward to your vocal, unequivocal support!” After that Polis decided to take things offline, asking for Pielke’s phone number. Whatever the Colorado Democrat said, it seems to have been convincing. Roughly 25 minutes later, Pielke tweeted, “Just of [sic] the phone with @jaredpolis much respect … 1st class Thanks.”

CALLING ALL REGULATION NERDS: For those not yet in the know, POLITICO Pro’s Erica Martinson pulls together the world of energy regulation into a pretty sweet, nerdy, bi-weekly tipsheet. You can find the latest edition here:

WHAT DOCKET DO SUPER BOWL BETS GO UNDER? FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur, a Massachusetts native, wears her support for the New England Patriots on her sleeve – which includes wearing a jersey to the occasional monthly meeting at the agency. And because her team won this year’s Super Bowl she won a bet that would’ve otherwise forced her to wear a Seattle Seahawks jersey. But Washington Utilities and Transportation Commissioner Philip Jones, a former NARUC president, kept up his end of the bargain and donned some Patriots threads. LaFleur has the photographic evidence:

EPA ORDERS CSX ON WEST VIRGINIA CLEANUP: The EPA has officially ordered CSX to restore areas of West Virginia affected by the derailment of the company’s oil train accident last month. “Under EPA’s order, CSX must first develop and submit a comprehensive plan for all the areas impacted by the derailment. CSX has committed significant resources to respond to the derailment and has worked closely with the Unified Command at the scene. The plan must include short-term and long-term cleanup and restoration,” the EPA said in a statement. CSX must continue air and water testing must continue, conduct long-term monitoring of Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their shorelines, and educate nearby residents about the potential health impacts of the accident. EPA’s order:

WRITE ME FROM MONTREUX: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is headed to Montreux, Switzerland, today as part of the U.S. delegation involved in the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The 12-member group, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, also includes the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Kevin Veal as well as Moniz advisor and shadow man Mark Appleton. The U.S. negotiating team will meet with Iranian and European Union officials this week as part of the trip.


– Oregon’s signature solar energy project built on foundation of false hopes and falsehoods. The Oregonian:

– Colorado land impact of oil and gas boom: scars spread and stay. The Denver Post:

– Activists Protest Olympics Meeting Over Golf Course Concerns. International Business Times:

– Bearish Oil Wagers Surge to Record as Glut Keeps Growing. Bloomberg:

– Oil storage in US close to running out: Pro. CNBC:

– Oil and Gas Lobby Says Up Means Down. Environmental Defense Fund:

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