E2 Morning Roundup: House panel examines Michigan oil spill, greens and labor unite over renewable power mandate, Landrieu readying for big debate over drilling hiatus and more

Dem Appropriators want separate action on EPA delay

As we noted Tuesday, another possible fight pitting Democrats against themselves at any rescheduled Senate Appropriations consideration of an Interior-EPA spending bill may also be avoided.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Democrats on the panel who have supported his effort to delay EPA climate regulations would not do so when the committee deliberates on the spending bill. They prefer to hold a promised separate vote on the issue on the Senate floor. Panel Republicans appear likely to try to offer an amendment to the spending bill freezing the regulations, which would presumably pass if these handful of Democrats were to vote in its favor. 

Reid promises vote this year

Reid Tuesday said he will keep a promise he has given Rockefeller that he would allow a vote this year on delaying the EPA regs. “Not before we leave here,” Reid told reporters, as cited by the Huffington Post and referring to the upcoming congressional break before the November election. “This year.”

The plan to delay EPA climate rules is drawing strong support from industry trade groups, while environmentalists are lobbying against the measure.
 
Baucus: Tax extenders a high priority before election

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told reporters Tuesday a package of so-called tax extenders may see Senate action before the election. “Hope to. Trying to. Good policy,” he said. It is a key priority, he said. “It’s high, it’s high,” he said. The Senate package would ramp up an eight-cent-per-barrel tax oil and gas companies pay into an oil spill liability trust fund up to 49 cents per barrel.

Unified blue-green effort for renewable power standard

Green, labor and renewable representatives hold a conference call this morning to announce “unified support for a specific, viable [renewable electricity standard] for the first time,” according to an advisory. This is being billed as an unprecedented “shift for the enviros and a new solidification for labor and renewables, potentially opening up room for liberal Senators to get on board with a bipartisan proposal,” notes a spokesman in an email, who was mum on the details of the agreed-upon standard. Representatives from United Steelworkers International, Iberdrola Renewables and Union of Concerned Scientists will be on the actual call but an “action statement” from a wider range of companies and organizations endorsing the same standard will also be released. 

EPA rules for boilers could cost 300,000 jobs, close businesses – industry study
 
A study to be released Wednesday commissioned by an industry trade group concludes that an EPA proposal to impose new Clean Air Act requirements on industrial boilers would cost large numbers of jobs and shutter some operations altogether.
 
The consulting firm IHS Global Insight prepared the study for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, which fears that new “Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards” for mercury, dioxin and other pollutants could prove expensive enough to kill 300,000 jobs at affected companies and their suppliers.
 
The rules for boilers and process heaters – which EPA floated in draft form in June – would apply to a range of facilities, such as refineries and chemical and manufacturing plants, as well as commercial sites and others. The study finds that the billions of dollars in aggregate compliance costs would create a ripple effect on jobs at the directly affected facilities, suppliers and other related businesses.
 
“This study offers an eye-opening look at the economic damage that could be caused if EPA moves forward with this Boiler MACT rule without substantial modifications. The study makes clear that it is important for EPA to take great care in finalizing this rule to avoid significant consequences for many boiler and process heater owners, the communities surrounding affected facilities and the broader economy," said Robert Bessette, the trade group’s president, in a prepared statement.
 
The study finds that big companies can likely absorb the costs but would pass them on to their customers, while smaller or struggling firms would face big job cuts and could close down.

Country music singers headline dueling coal rallies

There are competing coal rallies Wednesday on Capitol Hill – one involving those representing coal-state interests and the other rallying opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining practices. Perhaps more importantly to some is each has its own country music headliner. Stella Parton – Dolly’s sister – headlines a rally at Capitol Hill’s Russell Park on the Senate side of the Capitol Building at 9:30 am, featuring a bipartisan array of coal-state lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin. Country music singer Big Kenny, of the duo Big & Rich, is headlining a separate rally to end mountaintop mining. It’s being held at 1:30 pm at Sprit of Justice Park on the House side of Capitol Hill.

In case you missed it

E2 posts Tuesday included:

EPA chief slams industry lobbyists over ‘trumped-up’ climate rule claims

Senate Interior Dept. spending bill to block West Coast drilling

Senate defeats Nelson plan to limit Big Oil tax break

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