Interior apologized for the problem and clarified the report, but Republicans are continuing to probe the matter. Click here, here and here for more.
“There is a clear pattern of actions by the Interior Department to withhold information and answers on the Administration’s falsely edited report and decision to impose a Gulf drilling moratorium that cost thousands of jobs, inflicted widespread economic harm and restricted American energy production,” Hastings said in a statement.
Republicans have been seeking appearances by administration aides to learn more about what happened with the report. Capitol Hill Democratic aides said Interior offered to have Secretary Ken Salazar himself appear, but that Hastings declined.
Hastings plans to convene the hearing in September, his office said.
Interior has called the GOP probe a politically motivated fishing expedition, slamming an “an ever-changing and unsettled set of requests,” and has defended the decision to impose the deepwater freeze that expired in October 2010.
The department began issuing deepwater permits again under tougher safety standards in February 2011. Interior, in response to Hastings’s attacks, said there are more rigs at work in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico than at any time since May 2010.
“We will continue to work with the committee to meet their
legitimate oversight interests,” Interior spokesman Blake Androff said, but he did not address the specifics of the spat over witnesses.
Inhofe targets Navy’s Green Fleet
Courtesy of our DEFCON Hill blog . . .
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is continuing Republican pressure on the Navy’s “great green fleet,” naval exercise sending a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus that questions the Navy’s biofuel purchases.
Inhofe asks in the letter for a report from the Navy that details the total cost of the “green” event, including everything from fuel burned to the painting of logos on ships and planes to promote the event.
“Requiring the Navy to spend exorbitant amounts of an already stretched budget on alternative fuels is impacting our near and long term readiness,” Inhofe wrote.
Congress is threatening to restrict the military’s ability to use biofuels.
Nuke agency leader staffs up
New Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane has named her chief of staff and deputy chief of staff.
Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner will serve as Macfarlane’s chief of staff. A specialist in nuclear security and nuclear energy policy and strategy, Niedzielski-Eichner moves over from the Energy Department.
Jacob Zimmerman is Macfarlane’s deputy chief of staff. He has been a branch chief of three Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation divisions at the NRC. He also served as technical assistant for reactors for former NRC Commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield.
ON TAP WEDNESDAY:
House GOP to rebuke Obama on offshore drilling
The House is slated to approve a GOP-led bill Wednesday that would mandate a major expansion of offshore oil-and-gas leasing to include areas off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts that the White House is keeping off-limits.
The GOP’s five-year plan also has a more aggressive schedule than the Obama administration’s 2012-2017 program for leasing in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast.
Republicans hope to put Democrats in a tough political spot by also scheduling a vote on separate bill that reflects the narrower Obama administration plan, which is focused on leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and, in several years, in Alaska’s Arctic.
Click here and here for more.
Senate battle on chemical regulation
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to vote Wednesday on Democratic legislation to toughen Environmental Protection Agency regulation of chemicals.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) plan likely has the votes to clear the committee, but probably won't get much farther because it lacks GOP support, and 60 votes would be needed on the Senate floor.
Natural gas in focus at Capitol Hill event
The congressional Natural Gas Caucus will convene a Wednesday morning hearing to discuss liquefied natural gas exports, regulation, and how manufacturing has adjusted to increased domestic production.
The event will delve into how different aspects of how the natural gas industry can promote job growth, an advisory states.
Speakers include Dominion Energy CEO Gary Sypolt, Ultra Petroleum Vice President Frank Billings and NGV Americas President Rich Kolodziej.
Forum to explore military’s green energy push
The think tank NDN will host a Wednesday discussion on the Defense Department’s use of clean technology.
The event will explore the policies and the politics of the matter. The department has forged ahead with programs like biofuels testing, drawing criticism from Republicans about the cost of such technology.
Jon Powers, federal environmental executive for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is one of four speakers at the event.
Senate hearing to probe energy-water nexus
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power will evaluate how water use efficiency impacts energy use at a Wednesday hearing.
Witnesses for the hearing include: Henry Green, president of the National Institute of Building Sciences; Daniel Bena, senior director of global sustainable development with Pepsi; Russ Chaney, CEO of the IAPMO Group; and Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire on Tuesday . . .
- Enviro group targets GOP lawmakers for climate views
- EPA delays cooling water intake rule
- Romney: Obama ‘doesn’t have a clue’ on energy
- Markey wants hearings on new BP spill report
- Obama administration announces solar energy road map
- House advances drilling bill in procedural vote
- Senate GOP readies new energy push
Quote of the Day II: “Not at all. We’re grown-ups.” – Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
She was answering a reporter's question about whether a partisan committee battle on chemical regulation would erode goodwill on the panel displayed on the recent highway bill.
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