The week ahead: Solyndra, BP oil spill in focus

ADVERTISEMENT
The House Natural Resources Committee will hear Thursday from the co-chairmen of the joint Interior Department-U.S. Coast Guard investigation of the 2010 BP oil spill.
 
A major report from the investigators in September detailed a series of missteps by BP and its contractors that led to the disaster, which killed 11 workers and dumped several million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
 
The Natural Resources Committee will also hold a hearing Wednesday on the “lingering economic impacts” of the temporary ban on deepwater drilling that followed the BP spill.



The hearing will coincide with the one-year anniversary of the formal end to the moratorium, which Republicans, oil-state Democrats and industry groups called too aggressive. 

Permitting, under tougher safety rules, began again early this year, but GOP and industry critics say Interior should go faster.
 
There will be plenty of other Capitol Hill action this week. Here are some highlights:
 
The full House is expected to debate legislation that would prevent EPA from adopting strict regulations for coal ash, a waste product from power plants, and instead give states a more prominent role in meeting standards.
 
The House is also slated to vote on a separate bill that would delay and soften EPA rules governing air toxics from industrial boilers.
 
A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel meets Wednesday to review EPA spending. Witnesses at the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing will include EPA’s chief financial officer and inspector general.
 
A separate Energy and Commerce Committee panel meets Thursday to review electric transmission siting, planning and cost allocation issues.
 
Across the Capitol, a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee panel meets Thursday for a hearing on “Innovative Practices to Create Jobs and Reduce Pollution.”
 
Friday brings the deadline for committees to suggest ideas to the bipartisan, bicameral “supercommittee” that’s seeking at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.
 
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) intends to provide a submission that urges opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and more offshore areas to oil drilling.
 
He argues that leasing and royalty money is a better way to raise federal revenues than taxes. Look for submissions from other panels as well.
 
There are several events of note off Capitol Hill too:
 
Republican White House hopefuls will debate on the economy Tuesday night in New Hampshire. Look for candidates to take aim at EPA regulations they allege are hampering growth.
 
The group Environment America will release an analysis Tuesday that shows a “path forward on achieving meaningful reductions in global warming emissions despite a gridlocked Congress,” an advisory states.
 
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) will deliver remarks before the Natural Gas Roundtable on Wednesday morning.