OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Impasse on NRC official continues as clock ticks

Ostendorff’s current term expires Thursday.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — who has pushed for confirmation of the Republican Ostendorff — said Tuesday that he hopes to be able to come to an agreement on the Ostendorff nomination by the end of the week.

An NRC spokesman also called for Ostendorff's Senate approval. “We hope the Senate will confirm Commissioner Ostendorff expeditiously so that the agency can continue to benefit from having a full five-member commission," spokesman David McIntyre said.

The Justice Department declined to comment to E2 on the matter.

Sanders said Tuesday afternoon that he’s waiting for information. Attorney General Eric Holder, he said, has his cellphone number.

NEWS BITES:

Senate Energy panel to hold July 14 markup

Save the date. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will begin marking up a series of energy bills July 14.

Committee spokesman Bill Wicker said top lawmakers on the panel have not yet settled on the “shortlist” of bills that will come up first at the markup. But he said any of the 15 to 20 bills the committee has considered at legislative hearings in recent weeks is on the agenda.

Wicker said legislation to establish a “Clean Energy Deployment Administration,” which would provide various types of financing for renewable energy and other low-emissions projects, could be one of the bills to come up first during the markup. He also pointed to bills to promote electric vehicles and small modular nuclear reactors.

As for compromise legislation on offshore drilling safety floated by the top lawmakers on the committee late last week, Wicker said staff are still reviewing the proposal. But he said the bill is up for consideration as part of the markup.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the top Republican on the panel, said she met with committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) Monday to discuss the markup.

“We both agree, a good strategy is to start with those that are less controversial and then move on through them. The hope is that we will get through the whole list,” Murkowski said, noting that they have not yet decided on an order for the markup.

EPA unveils new E15 labels

The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new pump labels Tuesday designed to prevent consumers from accidentally fueling their older vehicles with higher ethanol-gasoline blends.

The new labels specify that E15, or 15 percent ethanol blends, should only be used in 2001 or newer vehicles, in accordance with recent EPA regulations.

The oil industry, environmental groups and other critics of the EPA standards have raised concerns about the effect of such “misfueling” on older vehicles’ engines.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) criticized the labels Tuesday.

“A label can only do so much to protect consumers from the hazards of misfueling with E15 and won’t prevent a wave of voided vehicle warranties when vehicles are misfueled,” Sheila Karpf, legislative and policy analyst at EWG, said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that the Obama administration, in a rush to placate the corn ethanol lobby, is going to hurt consumers and ultimately taxpayers, who will be forced to address the damage done by our misguided ethanol policy.”

Here is the new label.

Pew releases report linking extreme weather and climate change

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change released a new white paper Tuesday on the connections between extreme weather and climate change.

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Here’s the key takeaway from the white paper:

The fact that 2010 was one of the warmest years on record as well as one of the most disastrous, begs the question: Is global warming causing more extreme weather? The short and simple answer is yes, at least for heat waves and heavy precipitation. But much of the public discussion of this relationship obscures the link behind a misplaced focus on causation of individual weather events. The questions we ask of science are critical: When we ask whether climate change “caused” a particular event, we pose a fundamentally unanswerable question. This fallacy assures that we will often fail to draw connections between individual weather events and climate change, leading us to disregard the real risks of more extreme weather due to global warming.

The report comes on the same day that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2010 was tied as one of the two warmest years on record.

Senate panel to mark up BP penalties bill

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is planning to mark up legislation next month that would direct large portions of the fines from last year’s BP oil spill toward Gulf Coast restoration.



It’s an issue that the region’s lawmakers, including Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and David Vitter (R-La.), have been pushing for months.



Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said earlier this month that she has been working closely with Gulf Coast senators on the bill.

Enviro group targets Ryan on oil tax breaks

The League of Conservation Voters is targeting House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) over oil tax breaks in a new television advertisement running in the lawmaker’s home district.

Here is the ad.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

Senate Dems to float oil security bill

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) will unveil a plan to curb reliance on oil imports. Former Army Capt. Michael Breen, vice president of the Truman National Security Project, will join the lawmakers.

“The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act will set forth a concrete plan to eliminate dependence on overseas oil in 20 years and create a National Council on Energy Security,” an advisory states.

Green group to release beach report

The Natural Resources Defense Council will release its annual report on beaches, titled “Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches.”

" 'Testing the Waters’ will reveal which beaches in the region and across the country have pollution problems and which tested clean. Additionally, it will present beach closing, advisory and water monitoring data for more than 3,000 beach testing locations nationwide,” an advisory states.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …

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

- Levin: White House wasn't 'straightforward' about auto talks
- Barrasso lifts hold on Fish & Wildlife Service nominee
- Senators near ethanol deal
- Vitter attacks potential Obama economic nominee
- Pawlenty skeptical that humans contribute to climate change
- White House: Benefits of EPA rules vastly outweigh costs
- Google: 'Energy innovation pays off big'
- House GOP bashes EPA over $100M in foreign grants to battle pollution

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Andrew Restuccia, arestuccia@thehill.com.

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