OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senators to unveil bill delaying EPA boiler rules

State of Play: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is slated to unveil bipartisan legislation Wednesday to delay Environmental Protections Agency air-pollution regulations for industrial boilers.

The regulations have come under fire from members of Congress as well as industry groups, who argue that they are overly burdensome.

Collins held details of the bill close to the vest in the Capitol Tuesday. But she said the legislation would echo some provisions of a bill to delay the rules introduced in the House last month.

“It will have elements that are similar to the House bill and that reflect the letters that have [been sent] during the past year, one of which had 40 other senators that signed it,” Collins told reporters, referring to a slew of letters lawmakers have sent to EPA in opposition of the boiler rules. “Then it will have a feature that’s a little different.”

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will be an original co-sponsor of the bill, according to his office. “There have been some changes,” Wyden told reporters. “It will be different than the House bill in a number of particulars.”

EPA unveiled revised boiler regulations in February under a court-ordered deadline. Because the rules were significantly different than a previous iteration of the regulations, the agency said it would halt implementation until it received additional public comment.

EPA plans to issue a revised proposal in October and revised final rules by the end of April 2012.

The rules would require that industrial boilers and incinerators install “maximum achievable control technology” to reduce harmful emissions like mercury. EPA says the regulations will prevent thousands of deaths and heart attacks at a reasonable cost to industry.


NEWS BITES

Chesapeake expands lobbying team amid fracking battles: Natural-gas giant Chesapeake Energy has expanded its lobbying presence in D.C. with the addition of Bracewell & Giuliani.

Chesapeake, the nation’s second-largest natural-gas producer, is facing a number of battles amid the U.S. natural-gas boom, including proposals to boost regulation of the controversial development technique called hydraulic fracturing.

Bracewell’s Frank Maisano said the firm will represent Chesapeake on “all issues related to natural gas drilling including hydraulic fracturing.”

CSIS bolsters nuclear work, brings on ex-Constellation exec: The Center for Strategic and International Studies is adding former Constellation Energy exec Michael Wallace as a senior adviser.

Wallace served as vice chairman of the major Maryland-based power company and was chairman of the Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

CSIS President and CEO John J. Hamre said Wallace will lend his expertise to a critical topic at a critical time, noting “Mike’s unique skills will help CSIS take a leading role in shaping the debate in this crucial sector.”

“The nuclear power industry is witnessing a profound transformation, impacted by the tragic events in Japan. The world is witnessing a huge expansion of commercial nuclear power construction. Unlike previous waves of investment, this current pattern is international in nature, with competing global teams selling on an international basis. America’s leadership in the commercial nuclear industry is now in question,” he said.

House panel to take on revenue sharing: A House committee is slated to wade into the debate over revenue sharing for offshore drilling next week, just days after a Senate panel is expected to battle over the issue.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hear from state officials July 27 on proposals to share a large portion of revenue from offshore oil-and-gas production with coastal states.

Proponents of revenue sharing argue that it is essential to compensate states for the impact of conducting drilling in federal waters off their shores. They also hope that revenue sharing will encourage more states to back offshore oil-and-gas development.

On the other side of the Capitol, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are planning to offer a revenue-sharing amendment to drilling-safety legislation that the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will debate Thursday.

While Landrieu has said she is confident the amendment will pass the panel, it is certain to touch off a lively debate. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), is an ardent opponent of revenue sharing, arguing all money from drilling should go back to the federal Treasury.

In the Capitol Tuesday, Bingaman stood his ground.

“My position is pretty well-defined,” Bingaman said. “I don’t think revenue sharing makes particularly good sense, particularly with the size of the debt and deficit that we face at the national level. That’s been my position from the beginning and it still is.”

Interior seeks agreement on wilderness agenda: The Interior Department vowed Tuesday to conduct broad new outreach aimed at forging agreement on a bipartisan wilderness agenda that Congress can get behind.

With its controversial “Wild Lands” policy thwarted, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management announced that its state offices “will solicit suggestions and recommendations from state and local elected officials, Tribes, and other federal land managers on areas that deserve wilderness protection and that have broad support for congressional designation.”

“The focus of this effort is to identify lands that have strong backing for protection as wilderness and that might be appropriate for congressional action,” BLM Director Bob Abbey said in a statement.

The effort builds on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s recent outreach to Congress seeking input on members’ views on lands that should receive permanent wilderness protection.

“This fall, the Department of the Interior will submit to Congress a list of 'crown jewels' that it believes are ready for Wilderness designation by Congress based on the combined input from Congressional, state, local and tribal partners,” according to BLM.


ON TAP WEDNESDAY

Energy secretary to huddle with advisers:
Energy Secretary Steven Chu will host a meeting of his Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.

“The meeting will allow SEAB members to provide advice and recommendations regarding the Department's basic and applied research and development activities, economic and national security policy, educational issues, operational issues, and any other activities and operations of the Department of Energy as the Secretary may direct,” an advisory states.

House committee markup to tackle rare-earth bill:
The House Natural Resources will mark up a slew of bills including the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011,” which is aimed at improving federal agency efforts to spur U.S. development of rare-earth minerals and other critical materials.

The hearing comes as reliance on China for rare-earth materials used in renewable energy, defense and tech application is prompting growing concern on Capitol Hill.

Exxon spill under Senate microscope:
A panel of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be the latest to probe ExxonMobil’s recent oil spill in Montana.

Witnesses include senior EPA and Transportation Department officials, as well as the president of Exxon’s pipeline division.

Senate panel probes Gulf oil-spill response:
A panel of the Senate Commerce Committee gathers Wednesday for a hearing on "Lessons in Prevention, Response, and Restoration from the Gulf Oil Spill."

They will hear from senior officials with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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

— Lawmakers to try to block European Union carbon-trading requirement for airlines
— Senate Republican says oil sale may have violated law
— Energy Department pushes efficient light bulbs in new ad campaign
— Bingaman weighs counterattack on offshore revenue-sharing
— GAO: States underreporting violations of drinking-water standards
— Landrieu confident she has votes for offshore energy revenue-sharing
— Health group to White House: Ignore industry smog appeal

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