OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA didn't disclose health risks in pollution tests

EPA POLLUTION STUDIES: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) got a slap on the wrist from its internal watchdog Wednesday for withholding information about potential risks to participants in studies on pollutants.
 
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that although the EPA obtained approvals from participants before exposing them to airborne exhaust and diesel pollutants, it did not disclose that inhalation could cause cancer.
 

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The EPA’s own research found that the chance of getting cancer from the two hours of exposure for the study was about 3 in 1 billion. But nonetheless, the OIG advised that “the agency should inform study subjects of any potential cancer risks of a pollutant to which they are being exposed so that study subjects can make the most informed decision possible about whether to participate in a study.”
 
The OIG report feeds into Republicans’ distrust of the science the agency uses to justify its air regulations. Sen. David VitterDavid VitterFormer GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World Mercury brings on former Sen. Vitter, two others MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Paul BrounPaul BrounCalifornia lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment Republican candidates run against ghost of John Boehner The Trail 2016: Let’s have another debate! MORE (R-Ga.), both blasted the EPA for a double-standard on protecting human health.
 
The EPA, meanwhile, said it agreed with the OIG and would incorporate its recommended practices.
 
Read more on E2-Wire.

ON TAP THURSDAY: The Senate Environment and Public Work Committee will mark up a bill proposed by a group of Senate Democrats in the wake of the West Virginia chemical spill.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerAnother day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs Carly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report MORE (Calif.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenate Dems: We won't help pass additional health bills RNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (W.Va.) and Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (W.Va.), 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 the Elk River.

The committee will also mark up a slew of other bills including restoration efforts for the San Francisco Bay, conservation of fish and aquatic communities and reauthorization of the National Estuary Program.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The Senate Finance Committee will mark up the tax extenders package in the morning.
 
As E2-Wire reported when the bill dropped Tuesday, it does not include the popular production tax credit (PTC) that benefits wind energy and some other renewable electricity industries.
 
The surprising exclusion drew attention from wind energy’s supporters on and off Capitol Hill. Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyLive coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Live coverage: Day two of Supreme Court nominee hearing Grassley, CNN host spar over Trump wiretap claims MORE (R-Iowa) proposed an amendment to renew the PTC, drawing support from other members and the wind energy industry. 
 
Check E2-Wire tomorrow to see if the amendment goes through, and if other energy provisions in the bill make it through committee.

Rest of Thursday's agenda ...

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will consider the Energy Department's 2015 budget request. Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Overnight Energy: Rough hearing for Tillerson Overnight Energy: Former Exxon chief Tillerson takes the hot seat MORE will be the sole witness. 

The Atlantic Council is hosting a discussion on Thursday about the crisis in Ukraine, specifically the energy issues at play. State Department special envoy for international energy affairs Carlos Pascual will talk about the ongoing skirmish with Fred Kempe, the president of the Atlantic Council.

The House Appropriations Committee will hold two hearings on Thursday about the Energy Department's budget proposal for its National Nuclear Security Administration.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis will testify to the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the Department of the Interior about the Park Service’s budget.

The House Natural Resources subpanel on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs will hold a hearing on two bills that seek to reduce illegal fishing and one to help West Coast fisheries to refinance loans at lower interest rates.

Pew Charitable Trusts and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release a report on “the competitiveness challenges facing the world's clean energy leaders.”

NEWS BITES: 

Keystone XL ... Senate Democrats blocked Republican efforts to tether approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, natural-gas exports and more to unemployment benefits on Wednesday.

Republicans proposed a number of energy amendments for the unemployment bill but none were voted on. Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntTop Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight Overnight Healthcare: Pressure mounts for changes to GOP ObamaCare bill Pressure mounts for changes to ObamaCare bill MORE (R-Mo.) sought to block legislation on a carbon tax. Sens. John ThuneJohn ThuneWeek ahead: Robocall crackdown tops FCC meeting agenda Here's how Congress can get people to live healthy lifestyles Ryan huddles with GOP factions on healthcare bill MORE (R-S.D.) and Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell’s gambit to save the Supreme Court paid off Overnight Healthcare: High drama for ObamaCare vote | Freedom Caucus chair 'optimistic' about deal | Trump woos right High drama for ObamaCare vote MORE (R-Ky.) offered amendments that would have blocked the EPA's carbon emissions regulations for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

While all were shut out, you can expect Republicans to keep up the fight.

LNG exports ... Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.) wrote to acting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur, urging FERC to approve a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in her state by mid-June.
 
The Cameron LNG project in Hackberry, La., received conditional approval from the Energy Department to export to countries that the U.S. does not have a free-trade agreement with in February. FERC’s environmental review is the last major federal review.
 
"I cannot overemphasize how important it is that FERC carryout its regulatory responsibilities regarding Cameron LNG in a timely manner," Landrieu wrote.
 
Landrieu asked that FERC complete its environmental review by the end of April and give a final permit for the building site by mid-June.


AROUND THE WEB: 

Three more participants in a film that seeks to take blame off Massey Energy for a 2010 West Virginia mine disaster said they were tricked into appearing on it and would not have agreed to it if they knew that Massey’s CEO was funding it, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.
 
Gasoline prices are their highest in six months and are likely to keep climbing, Bloomberg News reports.
 
An explosion at a Washington liquefied natural gas plant has prompted concern in nearby Oregon over proposals to build two natural gas liquefaction plants, The Oregonian reports.
 
A Chicago zoning proposal unveiled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration would allow companies to burn and store petroleum coke in the city, despite previous discussions of banning it, the Chicago Tribune reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- Green groups: Court ruling opens door for polluters
- House Dems ask EPA to investigate frackings connection to water contamination
- Gallup poll finds majority favor energy conservation over production
- DOE overhauls controversial vehicle tech loan program
- Report: EPA withheld health risks from human test subjects
- Hoeven: GOP will move on Keystone in May
- Kerry: Russia using energy as a weapon
- US energy imports hit two-decade low
- Russia ups Ukraine's natural-gas bill
- Showdown puts energy credit at risk

 

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