OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry to Foggy Bottom with climate, pipeline questions in tow

COMING TUESDAY: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is slated to vote for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as the next secretary of State Tuesday morning.

The full Senate could confirm Kerry later in the day.

And with that, Kerry would inherit the Obama administration’s review of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

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Kerry, asked about Keystone at his confirmation hearing last week, kept his cards close to the vest about the State Department-led review of the project.

The Obama administration faces huge pressure from business groups and some unions to back the proposed project to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

Green groups have made killing it a top priority.

Kerry's climate and energy portfolio at State will extend far beyond the controversial pipeline review — Kerry, a longtime advocate of battling climate change, will arrive at State as international negotiators work to conclude talks on a global climate pact in 2015.

Click here for more on the hopes greeting Kerry’s arrival at Foggy Bottom and the hurdles he’ll face.

THE REST OF TUESDAY’S AGENDA:

Energy Dept. official looks at the future of US-China relations

China’s role in the global clean-energy economy will be in focus Tuesday morning at a Woodrow Wilson Center discussion in Washington, D.C.

Levi Tilleman, special advisor for policy and international affairs with the Energy Department, will outline how the United States and China plan to work together on clean energy.

From an advisory:

Dr. Levi Tilleman (U.S. Department of Energy) will discuss his reactions and provide an update on Sino-U.S. Cooperation on Clean Energy during the second Obama Administration, with a focus on new efforts to promote collaborative clean energy innovation.

For more on the event, which will be webcast, click here.

State Department talks climate

A State Department official will provide an update on a six-nation coalition dedicated to reducing “short-lived climate pollutants” during a Tuesday presentation at Washington, D.C.'s Johns Hopkins center.

Andrew Eli, coordinator of Climate Change Assistance Programs in State Department’s office of Gobal Climate Change, will deliver the noon remarks on the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

The voluntary effort focuses on combating pollutants such as methane and black carbon. Those contaminants have shorter atmospheric lives than carbon dioxide emissions, but have an impact on health, ecosystems and weather.

Click here for more.

Federal solar official, experts talk ‘innovation’

Tuesday brings the Energy Innovation 2013 conference, hosted by The Breakthrough Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Forum.

Speakers include Minh Le, the Energy Department’s director of solar energy technologies. Click here for more.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Monday and over the weekend ...  

— Mining trade group touts lawmaker support on permits, EPA rules
— Oil firms, governors urge DOE to expand natural-gas exports
— US review delays closing of big Chinese oil deal
— Washington and business brace for an Obama wave of regulations
Japanese energy, business groups urge US gas export approvals
Biofuels groups downplay ruling’s impact on investment


NEWS BITES:

Groups revive legal push for mountaintop mining rule

Environmental groups are reviving a lawsuit aimed at increasing regulatory protections for Appalachian waters threatened by so-called mountaintop-removal coal mining.

The groups had sued the Interior Department over Bush-era rules that advocates called a major rollback of protections. But they agreed to suspend the lawsuit when the Obama administration said it would propose a replacement rule.

That replacement hasn’t arrived, so the groups on Monday told a federal court that they’re reviving the suit over what’s known as the “stream buffer zone rule.”

“We don’t enter into this litigation lightly, but we know that dumping mining wastes into streams destroys the stream and has negative impacts for miles downstream. We were hopeful the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining and the Obama administration would do as promised and propose a rule change that would at least restore the rules in effect for decades,” said Kentucky Waterways Alliance executive director Judy Petersen in a statement.

Groups involved in the lawsuit include Earthjustice, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the Sierra Club and others.

Sen. Vitter: Build Keystone, block carbon rules


Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the new ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, is leaving no doubt about where he stands on energy and climate change.

Vitter announced a series of bills on Tuesday that would require approval of the Keystone pipeline before tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; require a major expansion of offshore oil-and-gas leasing; and block greenhouse gas regulations unless China, India and Russia mandate similar curbs.

“The administration adheres to a far-left environmentalist agenda; they continue to limit access to federal land and suffocate our domestic energy producers with red tape,” Vitter said in a statement.

BLM scraps Colorado oil-and-gas lease sales

The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pulled 5,000 acres Monday from an oil-and-gas lease sale in Colorado, The Associated Press reported.

The National Park Service and conservation groups had raised concerns that the three parcels of land were too close to Dinosaur National Monument.

Conservation groups said BLM “has not done a required inventory of wilderness areas around the lease parcels,” according to AP, which cited the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. BLM said it would further analyze the plots.


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