OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Ryan budget slashes climate, energy programs

GOP BUDGET: Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released what is likely his last fiscal proposal on Tuesday.

The 2015 budget proposal seeks to capture the GOP's platform heading into the midterms and years to come. Ryan brought out all the punches, drilling the Environmental Protection Agency for its carbon emissions limits on new and existing coal-fired power plants over two pages out of the 100-page document.

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The budget has President Obama's climate change agenda in its crosshairs, proposing cuts to climate initiatives, especially in foreign efforts.

The proposal also targets Energy Department science research and loan guarantee programs, contending that "all energy sources should be developed without undue government interference."

But the oil-and-gas industry is a big winner in the budget as it expands exploration in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and Intermountain West.

Sierra Club Director Michael Brune called Ryan's budget proposal a "cruel April Fool's Day joke."

"House Republicans continue to put the demands of their big polluter allies before the interests of the American people," Brune said.

E2-Wire has more here.

TAX EXTENDERS: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released his proposal for tax extenders Tuesday.

While it included multiple tax credits that incentivize alternative fuels and energy efficiency for vehicles and homes, the wind energy industry and its backers on Capitol Hill were surprised to see that it did not include an extension of the production tax credit.

The provision, which expired last year, gave energy producers tax credits for the wind, hydropower, geothermal and other alternative energy electricity they produced.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who shamelessly calls himself the “grandfather” of the production tax credit (PTC) did not waste time in his efforts to rectify the situation: he announced hours after the bill was released that he would file an amendment. Other wind energy supporters, including Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), said they would also work to bring the tax credit back.

A committee aide told The Hill to expect the bill reported out of committee Thursday to include the popular PTC.

Check back on E2-Wire tomorrow for more about the efforts to get the PTC into the tax extenders bill.


OBAMA'S BUDGET: Administration officials are headed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to testify on President Obama's 2015 budget proposal for the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency.



A House Energy and Commerce subpanel will examine the EPA's budget request.

EPA chief Gina McCarthy will be the sole witness at the hearing, and will likely have to field questions on the administration's recently released methane strategy and controversial carbon emissions standards for power plants.



Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will also be testifying Wednesday, but before a House Appropriations subcommittee on his department's budget request for 2015. 



Moniz will likely spend a good portion of his time discussing the natural-gas investments in the budget, which have become a hot topic thanks to the crisis in Ukraine.

KEYSTONE XL: Senate Republicans are continuing their push for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This time they want to attach it to the unemployment bill before the Senate.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), John Hoeven (N.D.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.) will hold a presser on Wednesday about an amendment they are proposing to tie to unemployment benefits, which would approve the $5.4 billion pipeline and expedite natural-gas export applications to Ukraine and Japan.

CRUDE EXPORTS: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will be testifying before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on crude oil exports role in U.S. energy trade policy.

Murkowski, the ranking member on Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is an outspoken advocate of ending the ban on crude oil exports.

Others testifying include Erik Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute, and CEO of the independent petroleum refiner Hollyfrontier Corporation Michael Jennings.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda ...

A Senate Armed Services subcommittee will hold a hearing on the military construction, environmental, energy and base closure programs of the Defense Department.

Witnesses will include John Conger, acting deputy Defense undersecretary for installations and environment, and Dennis McGinn, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and the environment.

A House Appropriations subpanel will dive into the U.S. Forest Service’s budget request for 2015. Tom Tidwell, chief of the forest service, will be the only witness.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute, an energy sustainability group, will hold a discussion on Capitol Hill on climate change effects in the American southwest. Federal, local and green group officials are scheduled to appear.

NEWS BITES:

W.Va. chemicals bill ... Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the bill she co-sponsored with fellow Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) will be marked up on Thursday.

The bill seeks to prevent chemical spills like the West Virginia leak earlier this year that left 300,000 residents without clean water for days. The legislation bulks up states' powers on oversight of chemical facilities like the Freedom Industries facility along Elk River.

"We are marking up the bill, and it will pass," Boxer said to reporters on Tuesday.

Carbon tax ... Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) are getting hit again by the American Energy Alliance for supporting a carbon tax, which both lawmakers have adamantly denied doing. The TV and online ads will run throughout April.

Take me out to the ball game ... Boston native and EPA head Gina McCarthy tweeted a photo of herself with the manager of the Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, at the White House on Tuesday.

AROUND THE WEB:

Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy Co., told MSNBC that his personal opinions on climate change influenced a federal investigation that blamed the company’s safety record for a mine disaster that killed 29 in 2010.

Federal regulators are encouraging gas-and-oil drillers to report near-miss incidents to a confidential tracking system, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Scientists investigating the March 22 landslide in western Washington are looking at river erosion and logging as possible contributors to the incident, National Geographic reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- House votes to refocus government weather forecasting efforts
- House rep wants to lift ban on crude exports
- GOP seeks to tie Keystone, gas exports to jobless benefits bill
- McConnell wants anti-EPA rule in jobless bill
- Ryan budget attacks Obama's climate agenda
- Tax extenders bill includes incentives for biofuels, energy efficiency
- Reps ask EPA about renewable fuel challenges
- Crucial climate regs head to White House
- Exxon: Climate change won't stop oil and gas
- Tech leaders urge State to reject Keystone XL
- UN climate report changes little on Hill

 

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