OVERNIGHT ENERGY: State of the Union edition

ON TAP TUESDAY: Environmentalists and industry groups are going to be all ears when President Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Obama is expected to tout his "year of action" agenda, which will focus on his ability to bypass Congress in an effort to move key policies forward. He's expected to reiterate parts of this climate agenda, especially as the GOP continues to bulk up its attacks against what it calls the administration's "war on coal."

ADVERTISEMENT
Leading up to the event, Obama has been pressured by both sides on his "all of the above" energy plan and on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, among other issues.

While the oil industry and National Manufacturers Association want Obama to back up his "all of the above" strategy and talk about the jobs that new coal, natural gas and crude oil projects bring to the U.S., environmental groups are pressuring him to dump it.

Green groups want a "best of the above" plan that focuses on clean energy and renewables. By doing that, the groups say, Obama will be sticking by his promise to fight climate change.

As for Keystone XL, Republicans aren't holding their breath for Obama to mention the controversial pipeline in his speech, but still sent a letter to the president on Friday, demanding he make a decision fast.

But the National Wildlife Federation and Friends of the Earth want Obama to say "no" to the pipeline in his speech. Hours before the address, the green groups will parade a 100-yard inflatable pipeline around the Capitol, which will read "Climate Champion or Pipeline President."

It is also possible that Obama will hit on his climate regulations limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, the administration's highly anticipated methane emissions rules, tout the nation's record crude oil production and the renewable fuel mandate.

This time around Obama could have a harder time convincing his base and green groups that he is still on their side. A number are looking to him to provide reassurance that he will stand by his commitments to the environment and clean energy.

"Generally we would love to hear President Obama clarify his views on renewable fuels and the [Renewable Fuel Standard]" said Anne Steckel, of the National Biodiesel Board. "Obviously he has highlighted his support in past addresses, but circumstances are different this time given the [Environmental Protection Agency's] recent RFS proposal, and people want to know where he stands."

"Also, with the Administration’s focus recently on climate change, we are interested to hear how the White House plans to address carbon emissions in the transportation sector while they’re proposing to reduce biodiesel and other advanced biofuels under the RFS. These are the fuels that the EPA has determined reduce carbon emissions by at least 50 percent. So our question is: How do you reduce carbon emissions from cars while cutting back on the cleanest fuels we have? We think there is a disconnect there."


ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee plans to hold a hearing on the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013, which aims to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign suppliers and directs the Interior Secretary to develop a list of critical minerals to the U.S. economy.

Off Capitol Hill, the National Council for Science and the Environment will begin its three-day conference Building Climate Solutions. Officials from NASA and the Energy Department are expected to speak at Tuesday's panels.


NEWS BITES:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee started its full committee markup on two energy bills Monday evening. The committee will reconvene Tuesday morning to continue the markup.

The bills — H.R. 3826 and H.R. 2126 — aim to curb the Environmental Protection Agency's powers under the Clean Air Act.

"Today we will markup two important, bipartisan energy bills as part of our open, 'all-of-the-above' approach to protect jobs and keep energy affordable for all Americans," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in his opening statement Monday evening.

"Jobs have already been lost as a consequence of these anti-coal measures, and EPA’s proposed rule would serve to accelerate the demise of coal."

In more State of the Union news ... Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) announced that his guest at the State of the Union will be Scott DePasquale, the CEO of a Rhode Island-based company that helps reduce energy waste from power lines between utility substations and consumers.

"Furthermore, as we continue fighting the effects of climate change, Scott’s business helps transmit energy in a more efficient way that can reduce harmful carbon pollution," Whitehouse said in a statement

"I thank Scott for his work in this field, and I look forward to hearing from the President about his vision for America’s clean energy future.”


AROUND THE WEB:

The Associated Press reports the this year's Super Bowl will focus on making the big game the most environmentally friendly to date.

MetLife Stadium has taken steps to offset carbon emissions, compost food waste and use biodiesel to power generators.

As the U.S. braces for more Arctic temperatures this week, natural-gas prices rose for a fifth day in New York and are expected to hit a four-year high, Bloomberg reports.

"January is on track to be the coldest month of the century in the lower 48 states, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC, after waves of freezing air swept across the country," the article states.


IN CASE YOU MISED IT:

Check out the stories that ran on E2-Wire on Monday ...

- Greens to pressure Obama by parading inflatable pipeline around Capitol
- Solar industry saw 20 percent jobs bump in 2013
- W.Va. company to dismantle tanks after chemical spill
- Week ahead: Time to lift the oil export ban?

 

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com