Week ahead: House panel turns focus to chemical safety

House Republicans next week will consider their legislative response to a chemical safety bill that a Senate panel passed in April.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the environment and economy, introduced a “discussion draft” for the Chemicals in Commerce Act in February, and lawmakers discussed it at a hearing in March.

This week, the committee announced a Tuesday hearing for the bill while releasing a new draft.

“The draft legislation reforms the law to ensure a transparent, workable and risk-based process for chemical review and regulation,” the committee said in its notice of the hearing.

The subcommittee will hear from Jim Jones, assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical safety and pollution prevention office.

Lawmakers will then hear from witnesses outside the government representing the American Chemistry Council, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, Greenwood Environmental Counsel, Proctor & Gamble Co., BASF, the Safer Chemicals and Health Families campaign, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Monday will head to Altoona, Pa., in Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-Pa.) home district, for a field hearing on the impact of federal water regulations such as the Clean Water Act on local economies.

Earlier in April, the Transportation Committee passed a bill to curb the EPA’s water permitting powers by prohibiting it from retroactively revoking permits to dump fill or dredge into protected waters after the Army Corps of Engineers has issued the permit.

Lawmakers will hear from representatives of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Rice Energy, the National Association of Home Builders, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and Consol Energy.

On Tuesday, Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” will be the star of a hearing at the House Natural Resources Committee.

There, the focus will be on jobs in domestic energy production that require skilled labor. Rowe explored many such jobs on his show.

The House Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on energy policy will hold a hearing Wednesday on the effect that liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports have on foreign policy.

Numerous committees on both sides of Capitol Hill had hearings on LNG exports in March and earlier in April as Republicans pushed the Obama administration to approve more applications to ship LNG overseas. Wednesday’s hearing will look into the potential benefits of exporting LNG, the State Department’s role in energy diplomacy and the effects that U.S. policies on LNG exports have on Ukraine.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee, meanwhile, will hold hearings on Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) bill to spur energy development on Native American land and on this winter’s propane shortage.

Elsewhere in Washington, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will speak on Monday at the National Academy of Sciences’ annual meeting, talking about the role that scientific research has played in the EPA’s work. That speech will be broadcast on the Internet.

The American Gas Association’s monthly Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon will be Monday, and it will feature Adam Sieminski, head of the Energy Information Administration.

Peter Lyons, the assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy, will speak at a Center for Climate and Energy Solutions event Monday about nuclear power. Carol Browner, formerly President Obama’s climate czar and the EPA administrator during President Clinton’s administration, will also speak.

The Atlantic Council, along with the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrad Group, will meet Monday and Tuesday about the foreign policy implications of America’s booming energy production.

More in Energy & Environment

EPA head defends methane rule from greens’ criticism

Read more »