By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia - 01/06/11 01:27 AM EST
ON TAP THURSDAY II: WRI to highlight green ‘stories to watch’
The World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, will hold a briefing for reporters on green issues worth watching in 2011.
They range from how far EPA will go in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to how population growth will affect transit options, and lots in between.
Boxer to preview environment agenda
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that she’ll be laying out her agenda for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a press conference Thursday. While Boxer declined to give E2 a preview of her committee plans, she said she plans to comment on incoming House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) agenda.
Murkowski mute on energy agenda
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is expected to remain in her role as the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, isn’t ready to lay out her energy priorities for the 112th Congress. “Let’s take a little more time to do that,” she told The Hill Wednesday.
Markey reintroduces bill to ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who will be the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee this Congress, reintroduced legislation Wednesday that would permanently ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by designating it as a wilderness area.
“If we don’t enact permanent protections for the Refuge, oil companies and their allies in Congress will continue to push for short-sighted plans to drill our last pristine wild places,” Markey said in a statement.
Markey's bill lays down a marker for wider battles over oil drilling in the Natural Resources Committee. But it's highly unlikely that such a bill will move forward, given the Republican majority.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
The 112th Congress got started Tuesday, but there was little talk about energy policy. Still, E2 was at the Capitol pounding the pavement. We told you about some energy/enviro bills signed by President Obama, as well as comments by an environmental lawyer that a decision to allow some drilling companies to expedite environmental reviews might not apply in some cases.
At the Capitol, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said rising gas prices might be the catalyst for a revived energy debate; Upton said he’s still mapping out plans to attack EPA greenhouse gas rules; Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Obama will reject any attempt to block the EPA’s climate authority; and a House Republican said he wants to block the Interior Department’s new wilderness policy.
For good measure, we also reported on one chapter of the oil spill commission’s final report, which blamed "systemic" industry and government failures for the spill.