OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House drilling fight part deux

The House Rules committee was meeting Tuesday evening to determine the rules of engagement on the leasing bill. When the meeting is finished, you will be able to see which amendments will receive votes Wednesday here.

The votes come just days after the House approved the first in the three-bill drilling package. The legislation would set a deadline for holding delayed Gulf of Mexico oil-and-gas lease sales and mandate the sale of leases off the Virginia coast.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) authored all three drilling bills. But he will miss Wednesday’s vote because he is undergoing treatment in a hospital in Washington state for a digestive disease.

"The chairman is doing well, but will still be unable to travel back to D.C. this week," a spokeswoman for Hastings told E2. More on the bills here.


NEWS BITES:

House Democrats to unveil final portion of alternative energy bill. House Democrats will release the final installments of a three-bill energy package Wednesday ahead of the expected passage of two GOP-sponsored drilling bills, a House Democratic aide said.

One bill would codify the recommendations of the national oil spill commission; impose so-called “use it or lose it” standards, which would level fees on oil companies that don’t move forward with production on their leases; and require lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

Another would provide a series of incentives for natural-gas and electric vehicles.

The bills come a week after House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), unveiled the first bill in the package, which would eliminate oil industry tax breaks.

Peabody Energy gets pranked. Coal company Peabody Energy got pranked Tuesday when a group of activists created a fake website for the company, claiming it would give out inhalers to children living near coal plants.

Here’s CNN with more: “A press release supposedly from Peabody Energy said it was creating a new public health initiative 'designed to combat the stigma of asthma among American children.' Under the so-called 'Coal Cares' initiative, the false statement said, the inhaler actuators would be given to children living within 200 miles of a coal plant, along with coupons good toward purchase of asthma medication.”

Peabody put out a statement outing the website as a hoax Tuesday.  “The site is in fact a hoax, making inaccurate claims about Peabody and coal,” Peabody said.

But in doing damage control, Peabody inadvertently attributed information about coal to the wrong source.

“[T]he World Resources Institute found that for every 10-fold increase in per-capita energy use, individuals live 10 years longer,” the Peabody press release said.

The World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, fired off a statement of its own Tuesday saying it has never made such a claim.

“First, WRI has never made such an assertion and has never done analysis to that effect. Second, this conclusion ignores critical factors related to energy production and human health,” it said in a statement.

Manchin, Barrasso team up for coal, biomass fuels. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is teaming up with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on legislation aimed at spurring development of transportation fuels derived from coal — found in abundance in their states — and other materials.

Their “Alternative Fuels Act” would repeal a 2007 law that prevents federal agencies from buying alternative or synthetic fuels that have a higher greenhouse-gas footprint than conventional petroleum.

It would also, a summary states, speed up Energy Department review of loan-guarantee applications for alternative fuels projects; boost incentives for use of algae-based fuels in the national renewable fuels mandate; and allow the Defense Department to enter into 20-year contracts for alternative fuel purchases, among other provisions.

Bipartisan House group readies energy plan. A bipartisan group of lawmakers under the banner of the “House Energy Working Group” plans to roll out an energy bill Thursday.

The group — which came together in March — includes Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.).

“The Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act is the only bipartisan, comprehensive American energy solution offered in the House. The legislation dedicates an estimated $2.2 trillion to $3.7 trillion in federal revenues from expanded offshore exploration leases and royalties toward repairing America’s roads and bridges, investing in renewable energy sources and clean energy technologies, environmental restoration, and reducing the deficit,” an advisory states.

Federal judge hits Interior again over offshore drilling permits
. From Bloomberg:

"The U.S. 'unlawfully and improperly delayed' permits for deep-water drilling after the BP Plc (BP) Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year, a federal judge ruled," their piece states.

"U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans today ordered offshore energy regulators to act within 30 days on six pending permit applications filed by companies that have contracts with Ensco Offshore Co., the Louisiana drilling company leading the legal challenge to the government’s offshore drilling bans," they report.

DoE release strategic plan
. The Energy Department on Tuesday released its “strategic plan” for 2011, a report outlining the department’s goals for the year.

The plan divides the department’s mission into four categories. Here they are, via a DoE statement:

• Catalyzing the timely, material, and efficient transformation of the nation’s energy system and securing U.S. leadership in clean energy technologies

• Maintaining a vibrant U.S. effort in science and engineering as a cornerstone of our economic prosperity with clear leadership in strategic areas

• Enhancing nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental efforts

• Establishing an operational and adaptable framework that combines the best wisdom of all Department stakeholders to maximize mission success.


ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

Gas ‘fracking’ in focus. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee meets for a hearing on the controversial natural-gas extraction method called hydraulic fracturing. 

House panel reviews mountaintop mining
. A panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets Wednesday for a hearing on mountaintop-removal coal mining, a hearing that comes as Republicans and coal-state Democrats are attacking Environmental Protection Agency restrictions on the practice.

Witness will include representatives from business groups and EPA’s top water-quality official.

Interior Secretary to promote ‘secure energy future.’
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will deliver a speech at the 41st Annual Washington Conference of the Americas at the State Department. His speech is titled “Toward a Safer, More Secure Energy Future.”

Big nuclear energy conference continues. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s Washington, D.C., conference will roll on with speakers including a top Energy Department official and industry executives. More here.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Here’s a quick roundup of Tuesday’s E2 stories:

— Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) floated drilling safety and energy legislation.
— Senate Democrats unveiled a bill to slash oil tax breaks to large oil companies.
— Bingaman said he hopes to take up his bills this work period.
— Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) wants savings from the bill to eliminate oil tax breaks to go toward deficit reduction.
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing Democrats to confirm a GOP member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a second term.
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is hoping to vote on the bill to cut oil tax breaks “in the next week.”
— The federal Energy Information Administration trimmed its summer gas-price forecast.
— A report says the Obama administration’s decision to terminate the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository set back the effort to find a nuclear waste storage site by 20 years.
— Public health groups slammed Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for his comments about air pollution.
— Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said the Obama administration had an "irrational" reaction to last year’s oil spill.


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