OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Keystone pipeline battle, take three (or maybe take five, or could be six)

If the bill clears the House, the next tussle will likely be back in the Senate, where lawmakers last month rejected a measure requiring approval of the pipeline. Stay tuned.


NEWS BITES:

Poll: Obama, Romney even on energy

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A broad new Pew Research Center poll finds that President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are running even among voters who call energy “very important” to their vote.

The poll shows Romney with a slim 49-47 percent edge on energy, within the margin of error.

Sixty-one percent of voters surveyed put energy in the “very important” category, while 51 percent say the environment is “very important” for them at the ballot box.

Obama has a huge 68-29 edge with these environmentally-minded voters — the 39 percent advantage is the largest of any issues Pew asked about.

The economy is the top issue for voters in the Pew survey, with 86 percent saying it’s “very important” to their vote, followed by jobs, the deficit, healthcare, education and Medicare.

Greens to make 'major' endorsement

Four major environmental groups will make a “major endorsement announcement” Tuesday morning.

The Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Environment America and Clean Water Action have scheduled a press conference at 9 a.m. to make the announcement.

Salazar blasts Congress for drilling safety inaction

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar agrees with members of the commission that probed the BP oil spill, who concluded in a new report Tuesday that Congress has been the weak link in the chain when it comes to improving drilling safety and spill response capacity.

The members of the disbanded commission issued a “report card” about progress in the two years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

“It is inexcusable that the Congress has not done more to help us make sure the energy security of the United States is protected in a way that will ensure we can continue to develop our oil and gas resources in a safe and responsible way,” Salazar told reporters on a conference call.

He lamented lack of action in areas including codifying the overhaul and toughening of drilling safety oversight that followed the spill.

The former spill commission members — who reunited to track the progress on their January 2011 recommendations — gave Congress a “D” and the Obama administration a “B.”

Salazar said he agreed with the grade for the administration, stating that it shows that Interior has done a “good job,” but he added: “There is more work to be done.”

Salazar spoke to reporters during a visit in which he met with officials from Brazil’s government and its state-controlled oil company Petrobras, which, like the United States, is developing deepwater resources.

“On the trip, Secretary Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy Beaudreau held meetings with Brazilian government leaders, Petrobras CEO Gracas Foster, and representatives of U.S. energy companies to discuss best practices for offshore drilling safety and deepwater well containment, as well as opportunities to enhance strategic partnerships on safe and responsible energy development,” Interior said in a summary of the visit.

House panel to examine DOE budget

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight panel will hold a hearing Wednesday on “budget and spending concerns” at the Energy Department.

“Our current debt crisis requires controlling federal spending, and President Obama pledged to conduct a line-by-line review of the federal budget to reduce unnecessary spending,” Oversight subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said in a statement. “This hearing will evaluate DOE’s spending-reduction initiatives.”

Christopher Johns, director of the Energy Department’s budget office, will testify, among others.

House subcommittee to vote on energy spending bill

A House Appropriations Committee panel will vote Wednesday on fiscal 2013 energy and water spending legislation.

Read more about the bill, which was unveiled Tuesday, here.

Report: Polar bear rule won't take into account climate change

The Associated Press reports that an Obama administration regulation aimed at protecting polar bears won’t take into account the effects of greenhouse gases on their ecosystem.

Read more here.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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

- White House threatens veto of highway bill over Keystone provision
- Reid working with White House on bill to boost oil market oversight
- House panel approves energy bills amid war over gas prices
- Romney calls White House plan to curb oil market abuses a ‘gimmick’
- Obama pushes new proposal to prevent oil market manipulation
- Obama, Congress, industry get mixed grades two years after BP oil spill in Gulf
- House GOP releases first 2013 spending bill
- Obama to launch ‘crackdown’ on oil market manipulation

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

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