OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Republicans forge ahead on drilling

Look for Democrats to hit back Wednesday by noting that U.S. oil-and-gas production is already trending up under President Obama.

They’ll also likely cast the bills as a sop to wealthy oil companies. E2 predicts that ExxonMobil’s Tuesday announcement of $9.4 billion in fourth-quarter profits will surface.


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House panel to examine nuke report

A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will meet Wednesday morning to review a new report by a federal commission that recommends a revamped strategy for nuclear waste policy.

Among other things, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future recommends new efforts to develop one or more permanent geologic disposal sites and the creation of a new independent body to manage nuclear waste.

The panel will hear testimony from commission’s co-chairmen, former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.

President Obama established the commission to establish a path forward for storing spent nuclear fuel.

Republicans have clashed with the Obama administration over its decision to abandon the long-planned and long-delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. While the report didn’t weigh in on Yucca, look for Republicans to make the site a central part of the hearing.

NRC report on reactor accidents coming Wednesday

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to release a report Wednesday outlining the effect of a major accident at one of the country’s 104 nuclear reactors.

The report is part of the commission’s State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses (SOARCA) project.

House panel to unwrap controversial EPA ‘fracking’ report

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee is wading into the Environmental Protection Agency’s explosive draft study that concluded the natural-gas drilling method called hydraulic fracturing likely led to groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo.

A subcommittee will hear from EPA's Region 8 Administrator, a Wyoming regulator and others about the report, which has come under heavy attack from gas industry officials who have called it sloppy and inaccurate.

EPA is seeking peer reviewers for the report. The conclusions, if upheld, would dent industry claims that the drilling method dubbed “fracking” has a clean track record.

Click here for more on the House hearing.

Report: Judge indemnifies Halliburton from some oil spill liability

Reuters reports on the latest in the ongoing court battle over who should pay the costs associated with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Here’s Reuters:

“A federal judge on Tuesday said Halliburton Co is not liable for some pollution claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, setting back BP Plc's effort to hold other companies responsible for part of the $42 billion cleanup.”

The judge issued a similar ruling last week regarding Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean.

State Dept. climate official to dish on international talks

Jonathan Pershing, the State Department's deputy special envoy for climate change, will hold a briefing on the recent United Nations climate talks in South Africa, and what’s next. More here.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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

— Dem senators to SEC: Don’t fold to oil industry on transparency rule
— Reid bashes GOP plans to force Keystone pipeline approval
— Hoyer: Keystone XL cannot be rushed
— GOP Sen. Inhofe opposes linking Keystone, transportation package
— Green group targets Virginia Senate candidate George Allen
— White House: GOP probing Solyndra for 'political advantage'
— Poll: Strong support for ‘Buffett Rule’ and Keystone XL pipeline
— GOP weighs contempt charges against White House on Solyndra
— Salazar: Interior closing in on gas ‘fracking’ rules

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

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