By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia - 07/26/11 11:02 PM EDT
Several Gulf of Mexico states won revenue-sharing under a 2006 law, but Landrieu and others want it sped up and expanded to other regions, including Alaska.
But the lack of consensus on the matter last week prompted the unraveling of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup of a bill to boost drilling safety standards (more on that here).
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the chairman of the committee and longtime opponent of revenue sharing, said Tuesday that he has no plans to take another stab at moving the offshore safety bill through the committee.
The markup dissolved when enough lawmakers departed to leave the committee without the numbers to vote on amendments, including Landrieu’s revenue plan. The walkout occurred after a separate amendment aimed at broadening support for the revenue plan was voted down.
“We tried to deal with it the other day and we lost our quorum,” Bingaman said Tuesday, adding that he has nothing scheduled.
Landrieu, for her part, has said she’s hopeful the bill will be revived in committee, but is looking at other options to advance the revenue plan over Bingaman's objections.
“I’m building support around Sen. Bingaman,” she told reporters Tuesday.
House passes bill to force decision on Keystone XL pipeline
Read more here.
Feinstein: Ethanol plan stuck in neutral
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that her staff has been unable to find a legislative vehicle to move a bipartisan compromise ethanol plan.
“There is no vehicle. My staff has looked at everything,” Feinstein told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday.
Her comments are the latest indication that the prospects of the compromise ethanol plan being attached to a final package to raise the debt ceiling are diminishing. Still, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) remained optimistic Tuesday.
“We’ll have to see what happens. We’re still working really hard to do that,” she said, referring to attaching the compromise plan to a debt-ceiling package.
The bipartisan ethanol compromise – negotiated between ethanol proponents Klobuchar and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and ethanol critic Feinstein – would end an ethanol blenders’ credit while extending incentives for next-wave ethanol and alternative fuel infrastructure.
Two-thirds of the money saved from ending the tax credit – about $1.33 billion – would go toward deficit reduction. Both Feinstein and Klobuchar had expressed hope that the compromise package could be added to the debt-ceiling package.
Here’s more on the compromise.
Cheers, jeers for ozone delay
Green groups, as we reported earlier Tuesday, are furious about the latest delay of EPA’s rule to tighten Bush-era smog standards.
But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been lobbying against the rule with a number of other groups, is hopeful the delay will become more than simply the short pause that an EPA spokesman pledged.
Business groups say the ozone rules will stifle job growth and hurt the economy.
“If today’s decision is an indication that the administration is taking a harder look at the likely effects of these new ozone standards, then we are very pleased with this delay,” said Bill Kovacs, senior vice president of Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs, in a statement.
The National Association of Manufacturers similarly issued a statement saying they're hopeful the administration is backing off the ozone rule.
The delay also drew a cheer from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the frequent EPA critic and top Republican on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. He sees an opening to continue pounding away at the rule.
“While EPA still insists they will move forward, time is clearly on our side to convince them to halt this job-killing agenda,” Inhofe said in a statement.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who heads the EPW panel on clean air, said the new standard needs to be completed.
“I do not believe that we can continue to delay on this matter. I urge the EPA to move quickly to finalize its plans for the new ozone air quality standard so that our nation can finally move forward to make the ozone reductions we need to achieve cleaner, healthier air,” he said in a statement.
It remains to be seen how long the latest delay of the standard will last. “We are going do it as soon as possible, but it is still going to take some time,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Tuesday.
Menendez hits BP profit as oil tax hopes fade
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) reiterated his call to end tax breaks for major oil companies Tuesday after BP posted a $5.6 billion profit in the second quarter. But the push by Menendez and other Democrats to nix the tax breaks through a deal to increase the debt ceiling is facing increasing hurdles.
"BP's 'disappointing' quarter of only $5.6 billion in profits shows just how absurd their taxpayer subsidies are. Without them, BP would have had to scrape by with just $5.5 billion in profits this quarter. Why some in Congress think BP deserves these extra profits but seniors do not deserve Medicare is beyond me.”
Menendez acknowledged Tuesday that the effort to repeal oil industry tax breaks has taken a back seat to high-stakes negotiations aimed at raising the debt ceiling.
“With the debt ceiling sucking the wind out of everything here, it’s hard to get traction going, even though what’s happened in Montana and other places has raised people’s concerns again,” he said, referring to a recent Exxon Mobil oil spill along a Montana river.
Menendez said he hopes to continue pushing to repeal the tax breaks once debt-ceiling negotiations are finished.
League of Women Voters launches campaign to protect clean air rules
The League of Women Voters launched a new campaign aimed at countering Republican attacks on a slew of Environmental Protection Agency clean air rules.
The campaign includes a television advertisement running in Washington this week. The ad calls on the public to pledge to protect clean air.
“We’re asking every citizen, every elected official, and every parent in America to promise to protect our children from dangerous pollution,” the ad says.
The advertisements come this week as the House debates fiscal 2012 Interior and EPA spending legislation that includes a slew of policy riders aimed at hobbling the administration’s environmental agenda.
“We are deeply concerned about attacks on EPA and health protections. Any action to block the EPA from updating Clean Air Act protections, or any delay on behalf of the Administration to avoid implementing new clean air and industrial pollution requirements, is an attack on the health of our children and families, plain and simple,” League of Women Voters President Elisabeth MacNamara said in a statement.
ON TAP WEDNESDAY:
House panel to bash EU emissions plans
A panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will explore a European Union greenhouse gas program that U.S. lawmakers say is unfairly threatening new requirements on U.S. aviation. The Hill’s Keith Laing has much more on the controversy here, and details of the hearing are here.
Forum explores military renewable energy, efficiency
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute, E3G and Operation Free will host a forum on Capitol Hill titled “More Fight, Less Fuel: The Defense Department's Deployment of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.”
Speakers include Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Tom Hicks, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy.
House panel to weigh bill that cuts climate funding
A House Appropriations Committee panel will mark up GOP-drafted spending legislation Wednesday that would nix U.S. funding for a pair of multilateral programs that help developing countries battle climate change and block funding for United Nations climate efforts. More on the GOP plan here.
House Energy and Commerce to begin moving pipeline bill
The panel’s Energy and Power subcommittee will gather Wednesday to mark up pipeline safety legislation. More info here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...
Here's a quick roundup of Tuesday's E2 stories:
- House passes bill to force
decision on Keystone XL pipeline
- House rejects Dem environmental warnings in oil pipeline bill
- Public health, green groups blast ozone rule delay
- GOP spending bill would nix international climate aid
- Dems charge pipeline bill will help Canada export, not add to US oil supplies
- House members take early shots at Canada pipeline bill
- Obama administration delays smog rule amid pushback from industry, GOP
- Gore likens Tea Party debt stance to climate-change skepticism
- USAID counters oil industry on disclosure rule
- Gingrich regrets 2008 climate ad with Pelosi