OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama's Keystone rejection unifies GOP

State of play: President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline rallied the increasingly divided House Republican caucus going into its yearly retreat.

The GOP, in a unified voice, blasted Obama Wednesday for rejecting the project, arguing he snubbed his nose at a valuable opportunity to create jobs and boost the ailing economy.

Now, House Republicans will travel to Baltimore Thursday for their yearly retreat, where they will likely discuss how best to punish Obama politically for his decision, while at the same reviewing legislative options to reverse it.

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the GOP is mulling legislation aimed at ensure the pipeline — which would carry oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast — gets built.

While he didn’t offer any specifics, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Republicans are eyeing legislation authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) that would move a final decision on the Keystone permit from the State Department to the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Upton's committee will hold a hearing on Terry's bill on Jan. 25.

House Republicans are also reviewing draft legislation authored by Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenGOP anxious with Trump on trade GOP lawmakers to Trump: Don't fire Mueller Government needs to help small businesses follow regulations MORE (R-N.D.) that would give authority to approve the pipeline to Congress, not the Obama administration.

While the bills are very unlikely to become law (they will face major opposition in the Senate), they will nonetheless be used to bash Obama going into the presidential election.

Read more of our Keystone coverage here.


House ‘fracking’ foe to retire: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) won’t seek reelection this year. The Hill has the story here.

Hinchey is among the most outspoken House opponents of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural-gas drilling technique.

Hinchey, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was also a persistent critic of oil-and-gas industry subsidies.

EPA air chief to dish on regulations:
Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe media’s tactics to silence science at Trump’s EPA Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation MORE, who is Environmental Protection Agency’s top air-quality officials, will speak at a breakfast briefing hosted by ICF International.

There’s a lot to discuss.

The agency recently finalized long-delayed rules to cut mercury pollution from power plants, and is crafting greenhouse gas rules for power plants and refineries, among hot topics.

Environment conference rolls on:
The National Council for Science and the Environment’s big annual Washington, D.C., conference continues Thursday. Click here for the agenda.


Here's a quick roundup of Wednesday's E2 stories:

— GOP mulls legislation to force Keystone approval
— Pelosi: GOP left Obama 'very little choice' on Keystone
— House GOP wants Clinton to testify on Keystone
— Obama rejects Keystone pipeline, blames ‘arbitrary’ GOP deadline
— Romney pounces on expected Keystone decision
— House Republicans rail against Obama's decision to reject Keystone
— Obama administration to reject controversial Keystone pipeline
— Report: Power plant mercury rule won’t cause power outages

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Andrew Restuccia, arestuccia@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @E2Wire, @AndrewRestuccia, @Ben_Geman