OVERNIGHT ENERGY: On global warming, a busy climate on Capitol Hill Thursday

The event will be webcast at TheHill.com.


THE REST OF THURSDAY'S AGENDA:

EPA vote expected at long last

The Senate will finally get around to voting on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Senate is expected to vote for cloture, or cutting off debate. The vote on final approval of the nomination could also come Thursday, Boxer told reporters.

"I don't think there's much opposition so we could go straight to a [final] vote" after the procedural cloture vote, Boxer told reporters in the Capitol.

McCarthy is widely expected to be confirmed.

Senate panel to discuss clean energy investment

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will debate how to encourage investment in U.S. clean energy technology during a Thursday hearing.

The panel is expected to delve into Obama administration loan and loan guarantee programs, which have caught flak from Republicans.

Witnesses include: Peter Davidson, director of the Energy Department’s loan program; Richard Kauffman, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; and Nick Loris, an energy policy fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Click here for more on the hearing, which will be webcast.

Nominee to lead Navy energy program headlines event

Retired Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn, President Obama’s choice to run the Navy’s energy efforts, will speak at a military renewable energy conference Thursday.

McGinn currently leads the American Council on Renewable Energy, which is hosting the event. Obama’s pegged him to continue a push to green the Navy.

The Navy is in the process of transitioning its fleet to run on domestic biofuels, and has a plan to get 1 gigawatt of power from renewable sources by 2020.

Other speakers include: Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.); Tom Hicks, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy’s energy program; and Kathleen Ahsing, director of planning and development for the Army’s Energy Initiative Task Force.

Click here for the agenda.

Zichal, Barrasso weigh the future of energy

White House energy aide Heather Zichal, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and others will speak at a morning energy forum hosted by Politico.

The event will explore “what to expect for energy policy in 2013, its impact on the economy, the future of the EPA and the president's recent statements on climate change.”

Click here for more info.

Defense Department environmental practices in focus

Several Pentagon officials will lay out what the Defense Department is doing to manage various environmental matters in a Thursday briefing at the Environmental Law Institute.

The panel also will discuss the president’s climate change plan.

From an advisory:

The integration of military installations and the local environment involves questions of transportation, land buffers for sound protection, munitions testing, and more—all of which have environmental implications for air and water quality, wetlands and species protection, and land remediation. Ocean and air transportation raise special concerns at a time when DoD is promoting the use of alternative energy sources and energy conservation.

Witnesses include: John Conger, the Pentagon’s acting deputy undersecretary for environment and installations; and Ned Farquhar, the Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management.

Click here for more on the event.

GOP lawmaker talks electric grid

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) will discuss the potential faults in leaving the electric grid unprotected against powerful solar storms.

Franks will tout his legislation, the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage, or SHIELD, Act (H.R. 2417) during the 8 a.m. event at the Capitol Hill Club.

The measure encourages industry and federal collaboration to develop standards and best practices for hardening the electric grid against solar storms.

Solar storms occur when the sun shoots a beam of charged plasma directly at the Earth, leading to a forceful reaction that jolts communication wires. Such storms have the potential to take enormous portions of the electric grid offline, and are a cause of concern among utilities and regulators.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Wednesday ...

— Hoeven predicts efficiency bill won't survive without Keystone pipeline

New Sen. Markey snags Foreign Relations, Commerce, Small Biz assignments

— Rep. DeFazio draws nearer to top Dem spot on Natural Resources panel

— Report: Companies see climate risks, but few take heightened action

— Energy panel votes to rein in EPA rules

— Bill Clinton presses for climate action

— Interior chief defends ‘fracking’ rules amid GOP, industry attacks

— Senior House Republican threatens fresh Interior subpoenas 


NEWS BITES:

Bill Clinton, the EPA president?

The EPA’s headquarters was named the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building on Thursday to honor the 42nd president. But was he deserving of the honor?

The Washington Post says yes.

From the Post:

In the case of Clinton, it’s clear he’s a natural fit for EPA. Love it or hate it, he enacted some of the most sweeping environmental protections in U.S. history.

Clinton, along with then-EPA administrator Carol Browner and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, pushed through an ambitious environmental agenda with included both bipartisan measures and controversial initiatives that infuriated Republicans. Sometimes the decisions had an air of political calculation, like when Clinton declared Utah’s Grande Escalante a national monument shortly before the 1996 election at the suggestion of his pollster Dick Morris. Other times the initiatives represented a clear consensus, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996. Clinton has also continued to press the case for renewable energy and other environmental causes since leaving office, from his perch as head of the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Click here for the whole story.

Wildfire rages in California

Seven homes have been destroyed and dozens more evacuated as a wildfire blazed through California Thursday.

From The Associated Press:

The wildfire started Monday between Palm Springs and Hemet, near the rural Riverside County community of Mountain Center and grew to more than 22 square miles by Wednesday morning. It was burning in thick brush and trees at an elevation of 5,000 to 7,500ft.

More than 2,200 firefighters and 25 aircraft had the blaze about 10% contained.

It was mostly moving east toward the desert and away from small communities of homes, summer cabins and ranches in the San Jacinto Mountains.

Click here for the rest.


Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Zack Colman, zcolman@thehill.com.

Follow E2 on Twitter: @E2Wire, @Ben_Geman, @zcolman