OVERNIGHT ENERGY: When will Obama end the Keystone XL waiting game?

THE PIPELINE TO END ALL PIPELINES: You guessed it, we're talking about Keystone XL, that oil-sands pipeline that has President Obama in a bit of catch-22.

Approve it before midterms and his environmental base filled with young voters could leave him and other Democrats out to dry at the polls.

ADVERTISEMENT
Punt the decision again and Republicans will bring a measure to the floor this spring that could force his hand, while green groups say they won't rally behind him in November without an answer.

Environmentalists told The Hill Obama's vow to fight climate change and his carbon emissions limits for power plants won't be taken seriously if he doesn't provide certainty on the fate of the pipeline. Reject it before the midterms and he could hurt vulnerable Democrats and empower Republicans.

But two Senate Democrats who face reelection in November painted a different picture.

Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (La.) say no matter which way Obama rules on the pipeline, it won't hurt them.

"This election is not going to be won by what the White House does or doesn’t do,” Landrieu said last week. “It will be won by what I do, what the people of Louisiana decide about the kind of leadership they want in the Senate.”

Read the full story about when Obama could make a call on Keystone XL here.


ON TAP TUESDAY: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will consider President Obama’s nominee for a top post within the Environmental Protection Agency this week, which will likely stir up the fight over his controversial climate change regulations.

The committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Janet McCabe for assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, which she currently occupies in an acting capacity.

McCabe has testified before Congress multiple times in the past year on the administration’s carbon emissions limits for coal-fired power plants and the science behind a number of the agency’s regulations. The discussion on Tuesday will likely turn to those regulations.

The committee will also consider on Tuesday the nominations of Ann Dunkin as assistant administrator for Environmental Information at the EPA and Manuel Ehrlich Jr. for a post on the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.


ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Senate Agriculture Committee will look into advanced biofuels and their effects on the economy, employment and fuel prices. Witnesses will represent NASCAR team Richard Childress Racing, DuPont, the Advanced Ethanol Council, Innovate Mississippi and Airlines for America.


Rest of Tuesday's agenda...

Also on Tuesday, a House Appropriations subpanel will hold a hearing on the Energy Department’s 2015 budget request for its Environmental Management division. Dave Huizenga, acting assistant Energy secretary for Environmental Managment, will testify.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on job opportunities for women and minorities in the energy sector. The committee said in a memo that women and minorities are likely to account for a third of the employees in energy by 2030, up from a quarter in 2010. The energy industry will send four witnesses, representing 3.5.7.11 Holding Co., Cloud Peak Energy Resources, Cobalt Energy International Inc. and Camac Energy Inc. Julie Gressley, a consultant with IHS Economics, will also testify.

The House Natural Resources Committee will consider a number of bills that seek to reform the Endangered Species Act. Republicans are adamant that the law needs a 21st century facelift that would prevent the current and future administrations from adding species to the list at will.

Also on Tuesday, a House Natural Resources subcommittee will mark up a slew of state coastal barrier bills.


NEW BITES:

Shale oil to drive decrease in imports... U.S. production of shale oil, also known as tight oil, will help the country reduce its liquid fuel imports to about 25 percent by 2020, the Energy Information Administration said Monday.

Crude oil production in the U.S. will rise to 9.6 million barrels a day by 2020, the highest since 1970, the EIA said. Growth in shale oil production will account for about 81 percent of the increase.

In the EIA’s most optimistic prediction, the U.S. won’t need to import any liquid fuels by 2040.

Pipeline politics... The largest online Hispanic organizing group, Presente.org, joined the fight against Keystone XL last week.

“We are calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org. “Latino communities in America are concentrated in the areas most affected by climate change — from the drought stricken Southwest to coastal cities like Miami which are most threatened by rising sea levels. Additionally, refineries that would process KXL's tar sands are concentrated in Latino communities in Texas — sickening our children and families with their toxic pollution. We are not willing to sacrifice our health, climate, and safety for the sake of Big Oil profits."



AROUND THE WEB:

The oil industry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) argued at the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday over the agency’s 2013 renewable fuel standard mandate, Greenwire reports. At issue are refiner carryover credits and the EPA’s consistent tardiness in issuing final annual rules for the mandate.

Rio Tinto Group said it would donate its 19 percent stake in the Pebble Mine project in Alaska to two charities, in a move green groups have hailed as a major blow to the project, The Washington Post reports.

The Huffington Post looked back four years later at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia, which killed 29 miners and was the most deadly coal mine disaster in the United States since 1970. It led to new mine safety rules in 2013 meant to prevent similar incidents.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- Murkowski: Arctic not priority for administration
- Scientists, economists urge Obama to reject Keystone XL
- Ukraine prime minister warns of natural gas shutoff
- EPA pledges flexibility for states in power plant rule
- UN panel calls for climate change 'enlightenment'
- Week ahead: Senate to consider nominee for top EPA post
- When will Obama make call on Keystone?

 

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