Energy News for April 28, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on April 28, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 4/28/2015


TSCA TUESDAY: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is set to mark up bipartisan legislation this morning reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act led by Sens. David Vitter and Tom Udall — but Sen. Barbara Boxer, the bill’s fiercest critic, isn’t going down without a fight. Vitter and Udall had already amassed quite the coalition of cosponsors before announcing yesterday that three new liberal supporters were now on board: Sheldon Whitehouse, Cory Booker and Jeff Merkley, who are backing a new compromise version of the compromise legislation filed yesterday. The bill — the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act — already had 22 cosponsors, ranging from Michigan Sen. Gary Peters to Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe.

Language in a newly circulated draft, obtained by POLITICO before today’s markup, addressed some of the biggest objections that several Democrats on the environment committee lodged against an earlier version of the bill pitched by Udall and Vitter — namely that it would pre-empt states’ toxic controls without providing firm deadlines for EPA to act on high-priority chemicals. Pro’s Darren Goode gets into the who, what, where, when and whys of the latest TSCA drama:
THE FIGHTIN’ 31ST: Although the bill certainly has the votes to get out of the environment committee today, Boxer, the panel’s top Democrat, is likely to rain as much fire and brimstone on it as she can muster. The outgoing California lawmaker has already slammed an earlier version of the bill as “worse than current law” and introduced her own TSCA reform measure, alongside Sens. Ed Markey and Bernie Sanders (Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal and Barbara Mikulski are cosponsors). Boxer can also be counted on to roll out a collection of groups still opposed the Vitter-Udall bill. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, for instance, sent a letter to EPW leaders yesterday spelling out why the new version is better, but still not good enough for them to support. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families letter:

Everybody wants a say: Nearly 90 members of the National Association of Chemical Distributors are swarming Capitol Hill today in part to back the Vitter-Udall TSCA effort and are scheduled to meet with about 130 congressional offices as well as with representatives from the EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Transportation Department.

Lest we forget: EPW will consider several bills during today’s markup, including one from Sen. John Barrasso, the Secret Science Reform Act, that would require EPA to base its regulations on publicly available scientific data — a companion bill to House-passed legislation. Boxer, Markey and all the other EPW Democrats sent a letter to Inhofe yesterday pressing him to pull the Secret Science bill from today’s agenda because it hasn’t had a hearing yet. As the House version passed last month, the White House said it would veto the legislation. The letter:

If you go: The markup starts at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 406.

MONIZ DOWNLOADS QER TO CAPITOL HILL: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is scheduled to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today at 10 a.m. and do a deep dive into the Obama administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review. The package, which was unveiled last week, included steps to replace aging natural gas pipelines, make the electric grid more resilient, improve measurements of methane emissions from natural gas systems, boost coordination of crude oil and other products shipped by rail and rethink the release authorities of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. So there’s a lot of ground to cover. The hearing is in Dirksen 366 and will be webcast here:

HAPPY TUESDAY! I’m Darius Dixon, and at the end of the week your morning host is going to do something that is not recommended: Get on a long plane ride with 8-month-old mini-ME. We’re off to the “other” Washington — Seattle, if you’re wondering — and we could use some tips about travelling at 30,000 feet with a Wild One (other than about eating on takeoff and landing). While you’re at it, send your energy news, tips and commentary to, and follow us on Twitter @dariusss, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

** A message from the Auto Care Association: The auto care industry is a coast-to-coast network of more than 500,000 independent manufacturers, distributors, parts stores and repair shops that keep every motorist moving. Our four million employees generate 2.3 percent of America’s gross domestic product. Our network delivers products at the speed that keeps America’s cars on the road. **

ENERGY AND WATER WINDS ITS WAY: The House gavels back into session today and the Rules Committee is slated to take on the chamber’s $35.4 billion fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill at 5 p.m. in H-313 in the Capitol. The panel intends to approve rules for both the energy and water measure as well as the 2016 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill, and House leadership expects to pass them on the floor by the end of the week. Traditionally, these bills get some sort of open rule, which opens them up for all sorts of amendments. The bill report:

ON TOUR WITH ABE: The Obamas are hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife for an official visit and state dinner today in Washington. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle will officially welcome the prime minister with an arrival ceremony before the two leaders hold a bilateral meeting and press conference. Agenda items include progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and climate change. According to White House pool reports, Obama and Abe visited the (Abe!) Lincoln Memorial yesterday afternoon, which seems fitting since the Civil War and Lincoln’s life both ended 150 years ago this month.

PREACHING TO THE POPE: The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is kicking off an event this morning at the Vatican focused on the “The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity” — and the Heartland Institute has “brought real scientists to Rome this week to dissuade Pope Francis from lending his moral authority to the politicized and unscientific climate agenda of the United Nations.” The climate skeptics’ group is holding its own luncheon event ( today just outside the Vatican to counter whatever UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs say about their concerns about climate change. The Academy’s website ( states that, “The desired outcome is a joint statement on the moral and religious imperative of dealing with climate change in the context of sustainable development, highlighting the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people — especially the poor, the excluded, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, children, and future generations.”

TODAY’S CROWDED WEBCAST: Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy holds its Global Energy Summit has lined up EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman John Furman, IHS vice chairman Dan Yergin and others to speak. The webcast: The rundown: It starts at 1:15 p.m.

GREENS OPEN CAMPAIGN AGAINST CLIPPER PIPELINE: CREDO Action is launching a new effort this morning pressing Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to “shut down Enbridge’s illegal tar sands expansion scheme, and submit it to a full environmental review.” The push comes after reports ( that the State Department accelerated the approval process for Enbridge’s planned Alberta Clipper pipeline, which would bring Canadian oil to refiners south of the border. The petition:

COAL-FUNDED REPORT WARNS OF DOI POWER GRAB: As the comment period winds down on an Interior Department rule proposing to open up new ways to assess royalties on coal mined on federal land, Cloud Peak Energy is releasing a new report today saying the regulation would leave the coal industry high and dry. “The proposed rule changes would most likely eliminate any profit margin on [Powder River Basin] coal exports to Asia,” University of Wyoming economics professor Timothy Considine writes in the report, which the coal giant funded.

Mostly music to the Sierra Club’s ears: “This study finds that the proposed changes would make exports of coal mined from federal lands unprofitable, because a provision buried within the proposed rule would extend unparalleled and unrestricted power to the Secretary of the Interior. Under this ‘default provision,’ the Secretary would be granted unrestricted authority to assign a ‘reasonable’ value to coal mined on federal lands for determining royalty payments. Instead of benefiting from this proposed change, American taxpayers would likely receive less in royalty revenue because production to support coal exports would likely not occur under this provision… With the prospect of declining domestic coal consumption, many PRB coal producers are hoping to export this coal to U.S. allies in East Asia such as South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The proposed rule changes, however, will likely dash these expectations and cost the federal government, Wyoming, and Montana significant royalty revenue.” The comment period closes a week from Friday. The rule: The report:

CONFLICTING INFORMATION RESPONSE: The National Association of Manufacturers argues that Ross Eisenberg’s Friday editorial saying that “existing efforts to reduce air pollutants are on track to put almost all of our nation (all but nine counties) at or below 70 parts per billion by 2025” doesn’t mean that EPA’s efforts to tighten the ozone standard won’t cost a lot of money. “Could this still be this the most expensive regulation ever if EPA says we’re already going to be at or near 70 ppb in 2025?” the group’s VP for energy and resources policy wrote in a new blog post. “You bet it could. The key is understanding the economic pain manufacturers the country would feel from a new ozone standard in the ten years between today and 2025, a key data point the EPA left out of its analysis. By lowering the ozone standard now, you accelerate what is required of states, manufacturers and other businesses in order to meet stricter targets sooner.” In November, EPA proposed lowering the current 75 parts per billion standard to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. And NAM has estimated that revising the ozone standard down from 75 ppb to 65 ppb would lower the nation’s GDP by $140 billion starting in 2017. EPA is expected to issue a final rule by October. Eisenberg’s Inside Sources editorial: And his new blog post:

ME BAD: Yesterday’s edition of Morning Energy misstated what day the House Science Committee had scheduled a hearing on EPA’s draft ozone rule. It’s set for Wednesday.


— Oil-Industry Debt Mounts Up. The Wall Street Journal:

— Tensions grow in Arctic Council as US takes control (+video). The Christian Science Monitor:

— Shell Faces Pressure to Disclose Priorities. The Wall Street Journal:

— Tesla Rises as Analysts Cite Energy Storage Opportunity. Bloomberg:

— Seattle’s “Shell No” Rally sends strong message to Seattle Port Commission and Obama. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

— Fracking bill clears Florida House. The Tallahassee Democrat:

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