OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate panel approves contentious Interior nominee

SUH’S NOMINATION HEADED TO FULL SENATE: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Thursday morning to send the controversial nomination of Rhea Suh for a senior Interior Department post to the full Senate.

But not before Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) could get in a few words about Suh, whom President Obama has nominated to oversee fish, wildlife and parks at Interior. Republicans see Suh as antagonistic toward the natural-gas industry.

"This position is charged not with overseeing energy production, but with overseeing fish, wildlife and parks," Landrieu said. "Ms. Suh repeatedly reiterated her support for natural-gas production before this committee."

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Landrieu sought to defend Suh against the criticism. Landrieu’s support for Louisiana’s energy development industry caused particular pain for the state’s Republicans, who told her that approving Suh would harm oil-and-gas interests.

And while Murkowski and Landrieu often see eye-to-eye, the Senate Energy duo clashed about Suh's nomination.

"In my view, madam chairman, she has not demonstrated that she is the right choice to oversee and provide the needed direction to the National Park Service and to Fish and Wildlife," Murkowski said.

Read more about the hearing here.


ON TAP FRIDAY: The American Council on Renewable Energy is hosting its forum centered on improving policy to match a changing market on Capitol Hill.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz are set to speak at the event. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) will speak as well.

NEWS BITES:

Ukraine aid... Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) continued his calls for the administration to utilize U.S. energy resources to loosen Russia's "stranglehold" after the House passed legislation providing President Obama more room for sanction on Russia.

"Tapping all of our energy resources will not only help our allies reduce their dependence on Putin, it will help our economy grow and put more Americans back to work," Boehner said.

And the world goes dark... The World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals and businesses to turn off their lights for an hour to conserve energy this Saturday, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., for the annual Earth Hour event.

Major landmarks, including the Seattle Space Needle, Chicago's Navy Pier and the Empire State Building, will have their lights off.

AROUND THE WEB:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not happy about a BP oil spill on Lake Michigan near Chicago and is demanding a “full accounting” of the incident, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

President Obama will meet with the King of oil-rich Saudi Arabia Friday as the United States is importing the least crude oil in two decades, Businessweek reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- Energy boom fuels population growth, census figures show
- Industry says natural gas network strong despite harsh winter
- Lesser prairie chicken listed as threatened species
- Legislation would encourage access to energy use information
- Former Cabinet member James Schlesinger dies
- Senate committee approves Rhea Suh nomination
- US wind projects fall 93 percent
- Oil spill hits half-mile of Lake Michigan
- House energy chairman Upton 'vigilant' over electric grid threats

 

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