OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA chief faces Senate environment committee

Wednesday’s Big Story: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be back on Capitol Hill to appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing titled “The Clean Air Act and Public Health.”

Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) signaled ahead of the hearing that she’s using the session to counter GOP claims that various EPA regulations will stymie job growth and the economy.

The hearing comes at a time when House Republicans are advancing a series of measures to block or delay several looming EPA rules.

“There are so many people who say that when you protect the health and safety of the people via these landmark environmental laws, that you hurt job growth. I think it is very important since we do oversight to bring this issue forward,” Boxer told reporters in the Capitol.

“Anyone who says that environmental laws hurt jobs doesn’t know that since we have passed them, we have had the best economic growth we have ever had,” Boxer said.

NEWS BITES:

House Energy panel to vote on Keystone XL bill

A panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is slated to vote Wednesday on legislation that would require the Obama administration to make a decision on a controversial oil sands pipeline in the coming months.

The Energy and Power Subcommittee will meet Wednesday to consider the legislation, which is expected to clear the committee.

The bill would require President Obama to issue a final order regarding TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline by Nov. 1.

Keystone XL is a proposed pipeline that would carry oil sands from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

The pipeline has come under intense scrutiny from environmental and public lands groups in recent months. The groups point to recent leaks at one of TransCanada’s existing pipeline to raise concerns about potential oil spills. And they note that oil sands production results in greater greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil production.

Still, Republicans are pushing for the approval of Keystone XL, which is currently undergoing a multi-agency review headed up by the State Department. They argue that the pipeline will make the country less reliant on Middle Eastern oil and result in the creation of thousands of jobs.

A memo released by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last week says Republicans are hoping to bring the bill to the floor in July.

House Republicans float bills to speed up renewable development

Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee unveiled four bills Tuesday aimed at speeding up renewable energy development.

The bills were introduced by full committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Energy and Minerals Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), as well as Reps. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).

“Too often renewable energy projects get caught up in government red tape and it can take years to break free. Our goal should be to encourage the production of renewable energy, not impose duplicative regulations that cause years of delays,” Hastings said in a statement about the legislation.

Read more about the bills here.

Boxer working ‘intensely’ on Gulf restoration bill

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she’s trying to strike a deal among Gulf Coast senators on a bill that would steer a significant portion of penalty money stemming from the BP spill to Gulf states for restoration.

“We are working on it very, very, very, very intensely right now to get agreement from the Gulf state senators,” she told reporters Tuesday. Boxer said she is meeting with senators from Gulf states this week.

“They each have a different view on how they want the bill done, so we are trying to work with them and resolve the issues,” Boxer added in the Capitol.

An Obama administration report on Gulf Coast restoration last year called on Congress to “dedicate a significant amount of any civil penalties obtained from parties responsible for the oil spill under the Clean Water Act to the recovery of the region that was damaged, and to those impacted by its effects.”

Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and David Vitter (R-La.) have called for steering 80 percent of the fines imposed on companies responsible for the spill to the Gulf Coast.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

TransCanada makes Keystone pitch


Executives with TransCanada Corp. will hold a conference call with reporters to discuss recent leaks and other issues.

Several U.S. leaks on an existing oil pipeline have given opponents of their proposed Keystone XL line – which would expand imports of oil sands crude from Canada – new ammunition.

Sen. Sanders, activists to tout oil speculation bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will join with the group Public Citizen and others to tout his planned bill that would force the imposition of speculative position limits in oil markets.

Sanders and several other senators are furious that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has not yet complied with a provision in last year’s Dodd-Frank law mandating establishment of new limits on speculation.

House Appropriations to vote on FY2012 energy, water spending bill

The House Appropriations Committee will vote Wednesday on a fiscal 2012 spending bill that slashes renewable energy funding by 27 percent and seeks to reverse the Obama administration’s decision to abandon Yucca Mountain. The spending bill is expected to pass the committee.

House Science panel to examine DOE's clean tech programs

The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on the Energy Department’s clean technology programs. Arun Majumdar, director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, will testify at the hearing, among others.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…


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

- Senate GOP splits on axing ethanol subsidy
- Bachmann: Hit EPA regulations with ‘mother of all repeal bills’
- Four more Republicans abandon Pickens natural-gas bill
- Boehner says changes are coming for ethanol
- Republican: Nuclear regulator should resign
- House Republicans train their fire on top nuclear regulator
- Durbin: More ethanol votes likely
- Reid plans more ethanol votes next week
- Senate keeps $6B in subsidies, but 34 GOP side with Coburn
- Former federal officials: EIA budget cuts could result in 'greater price volatility'
- Mass. Dems bash Sen. Scott Brown on ethanol vote

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