Energy News for June 2, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on June 2, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 6/2/2015

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

SHOW ME THE MONIZ — ENERGY SEC TO TALK QER, BILLS WITH E&C: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz may find himself having a pleasant and productive hearing this morning when he testifies before a subpanel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the Obama administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review. If you’re not done reading the 300-plus page report itself, Moniz’s prepared statement gives you the highlights ( While many GOP lawmakers certainly don’t have much love for White House policies, that dislike hasn’t usually extended to Moniz. So, part of today’s exercise is likely to involve E&C members not only seeking the Energy secretary’s technical advice but also efforts to lobby him hard to give outright support for various provisions going into Republicans’ comprehensive energy package, the so-called “Architecture of Abundance.”
Bills focused on energy efficiency and grid reliability may garner tentative backing from Moniz, especially the latter, which supports the QER recommendation to establish a “Strategic Transformer Reserve” to help recover from major power outages. But others could prove stickier — including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. E&C Chairman Fred Upton’s plan to sell off some of the reserve to pay for unrelated FDA drug review legislation, despite getting unanimous support from the committee, hasn’t exactly thrilled DOE. Last month, Upton said he had spoken with Moniz about the pay-for. But when asked whether Moniz was fine with the idea, Upton said, “I wouldn’t say that. He appreciated the heads up.” Still, the GOP’s package here includes a proposal for DOE to conduct a “long-range strategic review” of the SPR, something else that falls in line with the QER.

“When I’m a guest in another man’s house, I don’t reach into his refrigerator without asking permission.” Moniz may also shy away from touching anything that delves too deeply into the operations of another agency such as FERC (even though that agency — bureaucratically speaking — falls under DOE in the great convoluted flowchart of the federal government). Some of the draft legislation deals with FERC jurisdiction over hydropower and environmental review, so expect some artful dodges if that gets brought up.

An international flair: Lawmakers also plan to bring up “energy diplomacy,” one of Moniz’s specialties. He’s long made outreach to other nations a priority on issues like climate change and low-carbon technological innovation, including a recent trip to Mexico and a forthcoming voyage to China. However, significant portions of the GOP’s energy diplomacy section are dedicated to more continental concerns, like approval of cross-border pipelines and transmission lines, as well as liquefied natural gas exports. Observers of last year’s LNG export “debate” will recognize language borrowed from earlier bills that put a definitive countdown clock on DOE’s time to consider such projects. The new bill also includes a subsection that requires companies to disclose where their LNG shipments are going. Despite all of the 2014 drama around trying to send American LNG to Ukraine, no one really put forth legislation that would do such a thing.

If you go: The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2123. A second panel includes Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet, Rudolf Dolzer of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, IHS’s Gerald Keeps, and Alison Cassady of the Center for American Progress.

SHELL CEO BUILDS ON CARBON PRICING CALL: A day after joining five fellow oil and gas chiefs to call for a global shift towards carbon pricing, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is set to expand on that by urging for more incentives to speed the coal-to-gas switch in a speech today at the World Gas Conference in Paris. “In Europe, gas-fired power-plants have been mothballed or decommissioned over the last few years. Why? Well, a large amount of subsidized renewables has entered the energy system,” van Burden states in his prepared remarks. “And, from a short-term financial perspective, coal-fired power has been cheaper than gas.”

HAPPY TUESDAY! I’m Darius Dixon and your morning host wants to share something with you, Dear Reader. I’m going to Tokyo at the end of the week. Like “Land of the Rising Sun” Tokyo. That one. For two weeks. I’ve got my own story ideas cooking but what’s something you’ve always wanted to know about Japanese energy policy but were too afraid to ask? Send your energy ideas, news, tips and commentary to, and follow us on Twitter @dariusss, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

NYT MOONWALKS EPA TRUCK RULE ROLLOUT: The New York Times got everyone all revved up the other day when they reported ( that the EPA was going to propose new greenhouse gas regulations for heavy-duty trucks this week. Those rules, the Times said, would require that truck fuel economy increase up to 40 percent by 2027, compared with levels in 2010. Well, it just wasn’t meant to be…this week, anyway. One of the reporters on that story, Coral Davenport, tweeted Monday: “New EPA climate change rules on truck emissions, set to come out this week, now unlikely to come out before next week.”

SANTA BARBARA SLIPPER SLAPPED WITH CLASS ACTION SUIT: Plains All American Pipeline, whose crude oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County, California, last month, is now faced with a class action lawsuit over the spill. Keller Rohrback LLP, and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The 27-page complaint alleges that Plains negligently operated the pipeline and “has a long history of recklessly avoiding installing safety equipment,” a reference to the company’s 1987 lawsuit against the county agency that sought to have an automatic shutoff valve installed. “While this spill is a disaster, it is not an accident,” the complaint states. “[Plains] wantonly disregarded the health and safety of the people and environment by operating a pipeline it knew did not have proper safety systems in place.” The complaint centers on Santa Barbara resident Stace Cheverez, a longtime commercial sea urchin and nearshore fisherman who cannot conduct his business because of the spill. Local tourism has also been shot because of the accident, the complaint says. The complaint:

EX-IM BANK ON TRIAL: The Senate Banking Committee is getting a rundown of the Export-Import Bank today from a panel of nongovernmental witnesses, including those from the American Enterprise Institute and the Chamber of Commerce. The bank’s current authorization expires June 30 so there isn’t a whole lot of time to play with but most of the drama — and the split among Republicans — is playing out in the House, where Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling wants the government-backed lender shut down. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t block a vote on Ex-Im before its expiration, although he personally opposes it.) Sen. Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, is a big supporter of the Ex-Im Bank. Meanwhile, panel chairman Richard Shelby hasn’t made himself out to be an outright opponent but nonetheless opposed attaching the bank’s reauthorization to last month’s trade promotion authority bill in the Senate. The Banking Committee will take testimony from Ex-Im Bank president Fred Hochberg on Thursday. Today’s hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 538.

NRDC REPORT CALLS FOR CEASE AND DESIST ON COAL FINANCING: A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council today that “documents for the first time key governments and financing organizations that have backed more than $73 billion in coal-related projects over the last eight years.” “Governments of the world are literally hiding their ongoing support for fossil fuels, and for coal in particular,” the report states, flagging Japan in particular for providing the largest amount of coal financing of any country between 2007 and 2014. China, South Korea, Germany and the U.S. fill out the top five offenders in the report. NRDC co-authored the report with Oil Change International and the World Wide Fund for Nature. The report: More info:

ANTI-RFS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES: The free-market oriented American Energy Alliance is launching a six-figure online ad campaign against the Renewable Fuel Standard, which the EPA only took out of the oven on Friday. The campaign is rolling out print ( and online ads in CQ Roll Call as well as a series of Facebook ads in Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. “We’re sending a clear message to Congress that the only way to fully fix the problem they created is to fully repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle said in a statement.

POLITICO CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTORY LIVES! Our Congressional Directory is now live so we’ve got a list and we’re checking it, well, all the time. According to the people upstairs, the directory “compiles member and staffer information including work history, education, issue areas and recent news, and offers Pros the ability to create customized searches, export lists, and track updates.” If you’re looking for the Senate Finance Committee’s energy lawyers or Sen. Chris Coons’ energy policy advisor, we’ve got you covered. Even better, if you’re already a Pro subscriber then access to the Congressional Directory is already part of the deal.

GREENS ASK FOR EMERGENCY STAY ON COVE POINT: Several environmental groups Monday night asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to place an emergency stay on FERC’s 2014 decision allowing Dominion to build LNG export facilities at its Cove Point site in Maryland. The Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and others argue that their petition for a FERC rehearing “languished” for seven months while the commission kept granting new construction authorizations for Cove Point “all before Petitioners could bring this challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act.” The groups ask for the court to issue a decision by June 17 because that’s when Dominion is slated to start building foundations. To succeed, the groups will have to demonstrate that they have a chance of succeeding in their broader arguments and that allowing Cove Point construction to continue will create “irreparable harm.” The filing includes a litany of complaints from local residents, along with photos of the construction. Read:

EURO ME, PART DEUX: Morning Energy’s European cousin has an accent and generous vacation benefits — and is rich in information again this morning. Check it out:

EPA ISSUES ENVIRO JUSTICE GUIDANCE LIKE IT’S 1994: Via the Washington Examiner: “The Environmental Protection Agency will more forcefully consider the effects potential regulation could have on improving the health and environment of minorities, low-income residents, tribes and indigenous people that the agency says are disproportionately affected by pollution. The EPA issued its final guidance Monday stemming from a 20-year-old executive order that urged incorporating ‘environmental justice’ factors into the rule-making process. The guidance ‘explicitly’ prompts the agency to weave environmental justice ‘into the fabric of the [Action Development Process],’ referring to the steps the agency goes through to determine whether it should propose new regulations.” The Examiner: The guidance document:


— How Europe’s climate policies have led to more trees being cut down in the U.S. The Washington Post:

— Divisions apparent ahead of energy ministers’ meeting. POLITICO Europe:

— Jeb Bush meets with coal industry CEOs. The Washington Post:

— Colorado’s biggest rural power cooperative wades into solar fight. Denver Business Journal:

— Denton, Texas Banned Fracking — But the Drillers Are Back. VICE News:

— Solar Impulse pilot pledges to continue flight after Japan stop. AFP:

— Bill to spike RE support dies in Texas. Recharge News:

— Scientists Start $150 Billion Program to Cut Clean-Energy Costs. Bloomberg:

— Canada Oil Sands Operators Start Return as Fire Eases. Bloomberg:

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