Energy News for June 15, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on June 15, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 6/15/2015


SHE SAID SHE SAID: Hillary Clinton reached out to liberals who may be backing Sen. Bernie Sanders and/or questioning her green bona fides by promising Saturday in the first major rally in her presidential campaign that “we will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st Century.” That’ll be done in part by “using additional fees and royalties from fossil fuel extraction to protect the environment and ease the transition for distressed communities for a more diverse and sustainable economic future,” she said. Clinton also touted “developing renewable power, wind, solar, advanced biofuels, building cleaner power plants, smarter electric grids, greener buildings.” This, she said, “will create millions of jobs, and help new businesses and enable America to lead the global fight against climate change.”

Clinton also took the opportunity to paint Republican presidential candidates as being anti-science. “Ask many of these candidates about climate change, one of the defining threats of our time, and they’ll say ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Well then why don’t they start listening to those who are?” she said.
WHAT WASN’T MENTIONED?: How the U.S. is now leading the world in oil and natural gas production, EPA, hydraulic fracturing, and Keystone XL.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Clinton’s speech won lightening quick plaudits from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund and billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, who has hosted a fundraiser for her.

“Kudos to Secretary Clinton! We’re thrilled that today’s powerful speech builds on her long record of environmental leadership by making crystal clear that climate change will be a top priority throughout her campaign,” LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld emailed. Clinton “today emerged as a strong leader in solving the climate crisis and ensuring our country’s economic security,” Steyer said in his statement.

WE CAN WORK IT OUT: Her comments came one day after co-founder Bill McKibben, a leading figure in the protests against the Keystone pipeline and a supporter of Sanders’ campaign, in an open letter to Clinton laid out “five reasons environmentalists distrust you.” That included not enough focus on climate change, being “terrible on Keystone,” developing an office at the State Department “to push fracking all over the world,” and for presiding “over the monumental failure that was the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009.” Read the open letter on Grist:

A Republican National Committee spokeswoman said Clinton’s speech “was chock full of hypocritical attacks, partisan rhetoric and ideas from the past that have led to a sluggish economy leaving too many Americans behind.”

YOU (ALSO) KNOW MY NAME: Jeb Bush officially launches his campaign today with an event at Miami Dade College. Republicans looking for a greener GOP platform may start to galvanize toward Bush, who has acknowledged climate change as a problem but also echoed conservatives in decrying the “arrogance” of those who say climate science is settled. Your ME scribe wrote about this recently:

SINGS WORSE THAN BILLY SHEARS: That would be your host Darren Goode. But I’ll get by with a little help for one more day until Elana Schor takes over for the rest of the week. Please send tips to Follow us on Twitter @DarrenGoode, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

TUESDAY IS APPROPS DAY: Tuesday will be a good indicator for just how far House and Senate Appropriations panels are willing to go to curtail EPA and other Obama administration regulations and spending. The House Appropriations Committee will take up a $30 billion spending bill that would cut EPA’s budget to $7.4 billion, down $718 million from 2015 levels. It also includes a number of policy riders blocking EPA’s carbon rules for power plants and the Waters of the United States rule, and blocking the Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing a proposed Endangered Species Act rule for the greater sage-grouse.

Democrats were critical of the funding levels, particularly the 9 percent cut to EPA. A spokesman for Democratic appropriators promised that “we will have amendments targeting insufficient funding levels and damaging and ideological policy riders.” A spokeswoman for GOP appropriators had no specific details on amendments.

Read the 134-page bill:

And the Senate Interior-Environment Subcommittee is marking up its 2016 spending plan Tuesday afternoon. Following the same tradition as the House, amendments will be probably be held over until the full committee takes it up. Unlike the House, text of the Senate plan won’t be readily available until well after the markup is over.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski told reporters last week she is cognizant that “we haven’t seen an Interior appropriations bill in committee in some years [and] I don’t want that to be a repeat this year.” She added that House Republicans typically “have been a little more aggressive with riders than we’ve seen on the Senate side.” Yet the Alaska Republican is no fan of EPA or Interior Department regulations, and leading EPA foe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a prime seat on the Interior subcommittee and full Appropriations Committee.

A spokeswoman for Interior-Environment ranking member Tom Udall said to expect the New Mexico Democrat “to offer an amendment at full committee to boost funding levels for critical environmental programs.”

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THURSDAY IS ENCYCLICAL DAY: The long-anticipated environmental encyclical from Pope Francis making a moral case to address climate change will be officially released Thursday at noon Vatican time (6 a.m. EST). A press conference is set for 11 am in Vatican City, including Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and John Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Schellnhuber is a longtime member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was one of the coordinating lead authors for IPCC’s Third Assessment Report released in 2001. Multilingual Vatican press advisory on Thursday’s release:

MORE POPULAR THAN …: The hope among climate advocates is that the moral argument from Francis, whose popularity perhaps rivals Pope John Paul II’s in the 1980s, will do more to forward the issue, among especially young Catholics, Independents and skeptics who may not yet be swayed by the science or economic arguments. “He’s not just any old pope, he is the rock star pope,” Robert Orr, a former assistant secretary-general at the United Nations who’s now dean of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, told your ME host recently. Orr said the “biggest constituency for this encyclical are people under 20.”

But the hardened ideological views just among Catholics alone raise some skepticism on whether it will be the game changer that advocates are counting on. On the whole, U.S. Catholics’ views on climate change mirror those of the broader public: Sixty-one percent of U.S. adults and 63 percent of Catholics believe that solid evidence exists that the Earth is warming, according to Pew data from March 2014, and 40 percent of both groups say it mostly stems from human activity. A study last year by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment found that people were less likely to support action on global warming when religious leaders speak out on the issues — especially people who follow a different faith or have no religious affiliation. Read the study:

MUST WATCH: Check out a preview of the encyclical from the Brazilian NGO network Observatório do Clima done in the form of an epic movie trailer, complete with Jesus as a boxing trainer:

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS: The House is expected to try again this week to pass the rest of a fast-track trade package that features an unusual partnership between House GOP leaders and the White House.

But Republicans need more help from Democrats, who harbor concerns that trade promotion authority will lessen the ability of Congress to ensure environmental protections and other criteria are included in trade deals. “We look forward to working in a bipartisan way for a trade promotion authority bill that has better transparency, more consultation with Congress and stronger protections for Congressional priorities — especially labor rights and the environment,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote to fellow Democrats Friday after a stunningly lopsided defeat of a crucial part of the trade package.

House lawmakers on Friday did pass a customs bill that would seek to bar climate change in trade deals and which Pelosi railed about in a 15-minute floor speech earlier in the day.

Elana Schor told Pros Friday how climate change and the environment played a surprisingly large part of the divisions in the debate:


TUESDAY — Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on two Energy Department nominations: Jonathan Elkind to be an assistant secretary of energy for international affairs, and Monica C. Regalbuto to be an assistant secretary of energy for environmental management. Dirksen 366. 10 a.m.

Joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade subcommittees on the potential impacts of EPA’s proposed ozone standard on manufacturers. 2322 Rayburn. 10:15 a.m.

WEDNESDAY — Senate Environment and Public Works hearing on EPA’s final coal ash rule. Witnesses include representatives from Environmental Council of the States, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, American Coal Ash Association, Southern Environmental Law Center and Coastal Conservation League. Dirksen 406. 9:30 a.m.

THURSDAY — Senate Homeland Security Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee hearing on EPA oversight of the Renewable Fuel Standard, featuring EPA air chief Janet McCabe. It’s the first congressional hearing since EPA released its package of proposed RFS mandates for 2014 through 2016. 9 a.m.

REVOLUTION: Protestors will demonstrate Monday near the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum because they are upset that the museum has ties to David Koch and physicist Willie Soon. A demonstration begins at 12:30 at the Smithsonian Castle, leading to a march to the Natural History Museum, a press conference and the delivering of a promised 420,000-signed petition. Speakers will include Beka Economopoulos, who heads what is billed as a “new, mobile-museum” called The Natural History Museum; Joe Romm, a climate scientist and founder of Climate Progress; and Hip Hop Caucus President Rev. Lennox Yearwood.

Around the same time, the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group of climate skeptics and deniers financed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will hold its June strategy meeting starting at noon in the hearing room of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rayburn 2123.

ALSO HAPPENING TODAY: The Energy Information Administration begins its two-day annual conference. Monday’s session features Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Tesla Motors co-founder and CTO JB Straubel and BNSF Railway Company Executive Chairman Matthew Rose. Moniz will “discuss the changing energy landscape, energy security and DOE’s efforts to work with Congress to implement the findings of the [Quadrennial Energy Review,]” a DOE spokesman emailed. Tuesday’s session includes Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm and Sen. John Hoeven. Renaissance Washington, 999 Ninth Street NW. Full agenda:


— Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water.’ Washington Post:

— High-tech solar projects fail to deliver. Wall Street Journal:

—Chesapeake Energy seeks dismissal of nonprofits’ lawsuit. Fuel Fix:

—Energy nations better watch out as Saudis open stock market. Bloomberg:

— Judge delays trial for former Massey Energy CEO. AP:

—Westar Energy drops plan for 3 new energy efficiency programs. AP:

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