OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Offshore drilling returns to spotlight

NEWS BITES

Another light bulb vote expected Friday: The House is expected to vote Friday on an amendment to an Energy and Water spending bill that would repeal a series of light bulb efficiency standards.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), is the latest attempt by House Republicans to repeal the standards. Similar legislation by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) failed earlier this week in a procedural move that required a two-thirds majority for passage.

Read more on the Burgess amendment here.

Manchin calls on DOE to save West Virginia CCS project: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called on the Energy Department to put more money into a West Virginia carbon capture and sequestration project that American Electric Power said it would abandon Thursday.

Manchin, in a statement, said he plans to send a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu “asking and encouraging him to take another look at this incredibly promising carbon capture and sequestration program and work on finding a creative financing solution.”

“I strongly believe we need to continue this project, and I hope the Department of Energy will find a way to support this critical program that is important to West Virginia and our nation's energy future,” Manchin said.

The New York Times first reported that AEP plans to shelve its plans to build a carbon capture and sequestration plant at the Mountaineer coal plant in West Virginia.

Company executives said it would abandon the project “because they did not believe state regulators would let the company recover its costs by charging customers, thus leaving it no compelling regulatory or business reason to continue the program,” according to the Times.

The Department of Energy has said it will pay for half of the $668 million project.

But Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that the Energy Department doesn’t have any money to spare to save the project.

“You need money for those things and we don’t have any money because nothing is moving in the talks at the White House,” he said in the Capitol.

E&C Republicans query Jackson on GHG rules: Top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency for information on its greenhouse gas regulations.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Thursday, the lawmakers request information on the agency’s pending fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model year 2017-2025 light trucks and cars, as well as climate regulations for stationary sources.

The letter — which was sent by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Energy and Power subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) — is part of a broad investigation of EPA rules by Republicans on the panel.

Here's the letter.

A busy day in the Senate energy committee: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a suite of bills Thursday, but they now face an uncertain future given the difficulty of moving energy legislation through the full Senate.

They include a measure to create a federal Clean Energy Deployment Administration — sometimes called a “green bank” — that would expand financing for green energy projects. It was approved by voice vote.

CEDA is designed to provide an array of financing tools, including loans, loan guarantees and other kinds of support, to promising technologies that are facing the “valley of death” between technology invention and commercial deployment.

The panel also voted 18-3 to support a broad energy-efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The bill aims to bolster residential and commercial building energy codes and improve industrial efficiency, among other goals.

It drew a cheer from the Alliance to Save Energy. “By strengthening building energy codes, providing energy efficiency financing options for manufacturers and requiring the federal government to improve its energy management, the bill will have a significant impact,” the group said in a statement.

The committee faces a big test next week when it will mark up offshore drilling-safety legislation.


ON TAP FRIDAY:

House Energy panel to examine pipeline safety
: The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power subcommittee will hold a hearing on draft pipeline safety legislation. The hearing comes in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s pipeline spill in Montana, which spilled as many as 42,000 gallons of oil in the Yellowstone River.

The hearing includes testimony from ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing, Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration Administrator Cynthia Quarterman and Pipeline Safety Trust Executive Director Carl Weimer, among others.

EESI holding transmission briefing: The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing in the Capitol on electric transmission with former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jim Hoecker.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

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

— Landrieu, Murkowski widen revenue-sharing proposal in bid for support
— House rejects $820 million in cuts to Department of Energy
— House Republicans vote to subpoena White House over solar loan guarantee
— EPA chief: Bush-era ozone rule not ‘legally defensible’
— Solar company defends outlook ahead of White House subpoena vote
— Senate energy panel to vote on offshore drilling-safety bill next week
— House Republican revives effort to repeal light bulb standards

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