OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA nominee faces climate rule pushback

CARBON RULES: The Obama administration's rules currently in the works for coal-fired power plants sent senators into a frenzy on Tuesday.

In a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Obama's nominee for assistant secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation, Janet McCabe, lawmakers took jabs at each other on the impacts of climate change.

ADVERTISEMENT
Republicans argued that the president's greenhouse gas emission targets don't warrant the EPA limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said the rules for existing and new power plants would force coal miners into poverty because of rising energy costs and the shuttering of coal plants.

McCabe reassured Republicans that the agency would afford states as much flexibility as possible when meeting the carbon emissions limits set for power plants.

Democrats and Republicans spent more time drilling each other over whether climate change was in fact occurring, and whether it contributed to extreme weather events occurring across the globe, than questioning McCabe and other witnesses.

E2-Wire has more here.

LNG EXPORTS: On Wednesday a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will vote on a bill that seeks to expedite natural gas exports to Ukraine and other U.S. allies. 

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) proposed the bill in light of Russia's annexation of Crimea, putting Ukraine in a tight spot when it comes to energy.

Russia upped Ukraine's natural gas bill last week. Ukraine said on Monday that it won't honor the new price and is readying for Moscow to shut off its supply.

The legislation would push the Energy Department to approve the pending export applications without delay. It will likely pass out of committee.

Speaking of natural gas... A House Ways and Means subpanel will hold a hearing to examine the trade implications of expanding liquefied natural gas exports from the United States. The hearing will focus on trade implications, economic implications for the U.S. and the world, geopolitical effects, energy security and the environmental impact, the committee said.
 
Matthew Klaben, vice president of liquefier Chart Industries Inc., will speak on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers. Judy Hawley, chairwoman of the port commission at the Port of Corpus Christi, where Cheniere Energy Inc. is developing an LNG export terminal, will also speak.
 
Sarah Ladislaw, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is scheduled to speak, and Daniel J. Weiss, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, will represent his group.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy will speak once again on her agency’s 2015 budget request. This hearing will be with a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Energy Department's 2015 budget request.

Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman will also testify.

Rest of Wednesday's agenda...

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will mark up a bill from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) that would limit the Environmental Protection Agency's veto power over the Army Corps of Engineers Clean Water Act permits for coal mines.

The Heartland Institute, well known in climate change skepticism circles, will release research saying that rising global temperatures and carbon dioxide do not harm the environment, and are in fact beneficial to plants, animals and humans.

NEWS BITES:

Electric grid... Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Mary Landrieu (D-La.) announced the panel will be looking into the reliability and security of the country's electric grid on Thursday.

The hearing, titled Keeping the Lights On, will hear testimony from Chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Cheryl Lafleur and Colette Honorable, chairwoman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Energy... The Senate confirmed Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz on Tuesday as the Energy Department's under secretary for Nuclear Security and administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“Lieutenant General Klotz’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement. “His breadth of military and national security leadership experience makes him uniquely suited to lead the NNSA, fulfilling its commitments to the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactor programs, and nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness efforts."

AROUND THE WEB:

Following up on a March 20 story in which it reported that Koch Industries is the largest leaseholder in the Canadian oil sands that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built to serve, The Washington Post now reports that Koch is only the largest American leaseholder, barely behind two Canadian companies.
 
Richmond, Va.-based coal miner James River Coal Co. has filed for bankruptcy, citing environmental regulations, a weak economy and competition from cheap natural gas, The Associated Press reports.
 
European energy officials met Tuesday to discuss how to wean Ukraine off Russian natural gas, Reuters reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- EPA nominee stirs up deep-seeded climate views in Senate
- Fed to propose Arctic drilling rule 'shortly'
- Gas prices to change very little this summer
- Dem running for Georgia Senate endorses Keystone XL
- State officials investigate possible link between tracking, earthquakes
- European politicians push for tracking amid Crimea crisis

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