OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House panel advances bill to expedite gas exports

NATURAL GAS: The hot topic on everyone's lips in the energy world on Wednesday was natural gas exports.

A House Energy and Commerce subpanel voted in a 15-11 vote to speed up liquefied natural gas exports to U.S. allies Wednesday morning.

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The bill, proposed by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) would clear up pending applications for export facilities in the U.S., which would send natural gas to Ukraine and Eastern European countries.

E2-Wire has more on the vote here.

Later on Wednesday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz chatted up a Senate Appropriations subcommittee about the Department of Energy's 2015 budget request, but a few lawmakers wanted to talk about natural gas exports instead.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) asked Moniz if the department would be willing to speed up its permitting process for export facilities, a question the Energy secretary might be a bit tired of hearing at this point.

"It's not like we haven't done anything," Moniz said, citing the seven export facilities conditionally approved by the agency. "We have approved 9.3 billion cubic feet per day. That is very, very close to the entire LNG export of Qatar, by far the largest exporter in the world. So just to get an idea, this is an appreciable volume. It's not some small amount."

ELECTRIC GRID: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will examine the reliability and security of the nation's electric grid on Thursday.

Witnesses include Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur, CEO of American Public Power Association Sue Kelly and Colette Honorable, head of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

BIOFUELS: The Hill will host a policy event on the Renewable Fuel Standard on Thursday. The event will feature a conversation with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and the Paul Bledsoe of Bledsoe and Associates on the possibility for changes to the fuel mandate from Congress, and how ethanol policy could work for all the stakeholders involved. A roundtable discussion with experts and stakeholders will follow.

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) renewable fuel mandate, which determines the amount of ethanol that refiners must blend into the nation's fuel supply, has proven controversial in recent years.  Biofuels companies have pushed for higher levels, while the oil industry wants lower levels mixed in, or none at all. The EPA’s proposed 2014 standards were lower than the previous year for the first time since the fuel mandate was established in 2007.

ON TAP THURSDAY: The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will convene a hearing on the Department of Energy’s science and technology priorities.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will be the only witness. The agency's carbon capture technology for coal-fired power plants will likely be raised during the hearing.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change will host a press conference with five corporations on actions they are taking to fight climate change.

Companies joining the roundtable discussion with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) include IKEA and Sprint.

Rest of Thursday's agenda...

Daniel Poneman, deputy secretary of Energy, will give the lunch keynote at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event. The event will focus on the effects of shale gas and oil from the United States on geopolitical and national security dynamics around the world.

A Senate Armed Services subpanel will hold a hearing on the strategic forces programs within the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management. The Defense Department's 2015 budget request for those programs will be discussed.

Resources for the Future, a nonprofit research firm, will host a conversation on the local impacts of shale gas development in the U.S.

NEWS BITES:

Murkowski talks Arctic... Sen. Lisa Murkowski is going on an Arctic push. The Alaska Republican has questioned administration officials and agency heads in every hearing she can on whether they are asking for funding for Arctic programs in their 2015 budget requests.

"My concern is we are saying good things about the Arctic but not seeing it translated into the budget that has come down from the president, and if we are going to say the Arctic is a priority, then we need to match resources to the message," Murkowski told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Wednesday. 

Duke Energy... The largest online Hispanic organizing group in the U.S., Presente.org, is slamming Duke Energy with a new ad campaign.

Presente.org launched a website aimed at hitting Duke for opposing renewable energy expansion. The group will also run a TV ad in Tampa and Orlando, Fla., in the coming weeks that will hit the energy giant on its coal-fired power plants.

"Duke Energy is sickening Latino communities with pollution while fighting tooth and nail to stop clean energy solutions like rooftop solar," said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org. "Latinos are now on the front lines in the fight to clean up our communities and stop climate change."


AROUND THE WEB:

After taking over the governorship following four years under Bob McDonnell (R), Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he will reactivate the state’s climate change commission to advise him on what Virginia can do about the climate, the Roanoke Times reports.
 
Bloomberg News reports coal exporters in the United States and Australia are losing money when they ship coal to Asia.
 
A California proposal for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has passed a committee in the state Senate, the Los Angeles Times reports.
 
The European Union is phasing out subsidies for renewable energy, Reuters reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- Obama targets climate change in wildfire strategy
- Bill would establish 'victory bonds' for clean energy investment
- Senate GOP to Obama: Tell EPA to back off
- Heitkamp wants more money for oil train safety
- Majority supports renewable fuel standard, poll shows
- Pipeline violation penalties hit record high
- Committee moves to restrict EPA's authority to block water permits
- One step closer to 'Mount Reagan'
- Feds to propose mandatory 2-man crew on oil trains
- Panel votes to speed up gas exports
- EPA met with hundreds of groups for existing power plant rule
- Former Reid aide confirmed as head of Interior energy agency

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