OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate, House climate votes on tap

The group's letter dubs consideration of the bill one of its "Key Manufacturing Votes" and claims that EPA regulation will cost jobs and slow economic growth if it proceeds.

Opponents of the bill are also flexing their muscles. House Democrats, under the banner of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, are holding a morning press conference with ex-military members opposing the bill. The American Lung Association and Union of Concerned Scientists will also be at the event.

The House Rules Committee met Tuesday afternoon to mull the groundrules for floor debate — and argue about the bill — in a session that previewed Wednesday’s lines of attack.

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said the bill is an antidote to Democratic claims that Republicans are not doing enough on jobs. “The jobs bill is right here,” said Woodall.

But Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) took a different stance. “This is not a jobs bill. This is not a jobs bill. This is an anti-science bill,” he said.

The House is slated to debate a dozen amendments, including one that will put lawmakers on record about whether they believe humans are causing dangerous climate change. (Check out our post about the amendments here.)

The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the bill, which also faces huge obstacles in the Senate. But a House vote to rebuke of EPA climate rules will help fuel efforts to block or delay the measures through other vehicles, including spending legislation.

One more thing: Environmentalists are channeling Katy Perry in their battle to defend EPA’s climate rules.


COMING WEDNESDAY:

Amid high-stakes government spending talks, Obama to talk energy in Philly

Amid thorny negotiations on government spending legislation in Washington, President Obama will travel to the Philadelphia area Wednesday to host a townhall discussion on his energy plan.

The trip is part of a shift in the White House’s communication strategy from foreign policy issues like Libya to energy security. It comes as the president is engaging in high-stakes negotiations with top lawmakers over a plan to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown.

Wednesday will mark the third event in a week in which Obama touts his plan to reduce the country’s reliance on oil imports by one-third within the next 14 years. Obama announced the plan last Wednesday in a major policy speech. and outlined a proposal to get U.S. companies to rely more heavily on clean vehicles Friday.

The White House is aggressively promoting its energy plans amid the rise in gasoline prices (and the GOP attacks that have accompanied that increase). A top administration energy official briefed reporters Tuesday night on Obama’s trip to Philadelphia.

Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Policy Heather Zichal noted Obama will discuss his energy plan with workers at the Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pa. The company manufactures wind turbines.

“What he’s really trying to achieve with this trip is to hear directly from the people,” Zichal said.

NEWS BITES:

Transocean to donate safety bonuses to memorial fund

Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded last year in a fatal accident, promised to donate part of their executive bonuses to a memorial fund for the victims of the disaster after the company came under fire for claiming that 2010 was the “best year in safety performance in our company’s history.”

The company, in an April 1 filing with Securities and Exchange Commission, patted itself on the back for its safety record and gave executives bonuses based in part on the company’s safety record.

“Nothing is more important to Transocean than our people, and it was never our intent to diminish the effect the Macondo tragedy has had on those who lost loved ones,” Transocean CEO Steven Newman said in a statement. “We offer our most sincere apologies and we regret the impact this matter has had on the entire Transocean family.”

According to the company, more than $250,000 will be donated to the fund, which helps the families of the 11 men who died last year when the Deepwater Horizon exploded.

But executives will not return the entirety of their bonuses — only the 25 percent that is based on safety performance.

Amid criticism from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and others, the company admitted Monday that its comments were “insensitive.”

On anniversary of Upper Big Branch disaster, prospects for mine-safety bill remain unclear

President Obama on Tuesday touted the administration's efforts to investigate the cause of West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal-mine explosion on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, which killed 29 miners.

"During the past year, my Administration has worked to investigate the cause of the explosion, bring those responsible to justice, and take the steps necessary to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring again," Obama said in a statement.

But the president also called for mine-safety legislation.

"While these collaborative efforts have changed the way some mine operators do business, we know we can also improve our mine safety laws to better provide for the safety of the men and women who work in America’s mines and for their families’ peace of mind," Obama said.

Congress has not been able to pass mine-safety legislation in the year since the disaster, and the prospects for the bill remain unclear.

Meanwhile, the West Virginia congressional delegation introduced a resolution to honor the 29 miners killed in the explosion at the mine.

“I want their families to know that our hearts are still broken, and we have not forgotten their sacrifice. We have done — and will continue to do — all that we can to improve mine safety to ensure that an accident like this one never happens again,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said in a statement.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

Here are a few highlights from the energy-related events around town ...

House panel to probe nuclear safety amid Japanese crisis

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight panel will probe the U.S. government response to the reactor crisis in Japan. Witnesses include officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — which is reviewing U.S. reactors — as well as industry officials and environmentalists.

House committee to review offshore drilling bills

A House Natural Resources Committee panel will hold a hearing on Committee Chairman Doc Hastings’s (R-Wash.) bills to expand offshore oil-and-gas development.

Natural gas in focus

The Bipartisan Policy Center, which has a major focus on energy, will hold a forum on “Ensuring Stable Natural Gas Markets” that includes Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.).

Offshore drilling in focus

The think tank Resources for the Future hold a forum on “Deepwater Drilling: Recommendations for a Safer Future.” It will include Richard Lazarus, who was executive director for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

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

— The House GOP’s one-week stopgap measure would cut Energy and Water spending by $632 million

— The Hill profiled former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening

— The GOP’s 2012 budget proposal calls for expanded oil-and-gas production

— The Interior Department said it was planning new rules on subsea "blowout preventers"

— A House Democrat called for changing the title of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton's (R-Mich.) bill to block EPA climate rules

— House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) balked at Democratic demands to omit EPA riders from a final spending package

— The White House said it would veto the Upton bill to block EPA climate regulations

— A top environmental leader slammed the environmental movement for its ‘shrillness’

— Key senators are nearing a deal that would allow a vote on an amendment to block EPA climate regulations

— And Upton shrugged off an effort by a House Democrat to rename his bill the “Koch Brothers Appreciation Act”


Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Andrew Restuccia, arestuccia@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @E2Wire, @AndrewRestuccia.


—This post was updated at 7:55 p.m on April 5 and 8:08 a.m. on April 6.