OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pipeline politics on display as highway bill talks begin

But they face an uphill battle, and the Senate Democratic negotiating team, which outnumbers Senate Republicans eight to six, is the first line of defense for opponents of tethering the pipeline to the highway bill.

Among those eight Democrats, only Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBooker tries to find the right lane  Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges MORE (Mont.) has voted in favor of including Keystone in the bill, but he has signaled that he’s unlikely to insist on the provision. 

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Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D-W.Va.), a member of the conference committee, has said he believes Senate Democrats would stick together against including the pipeline.

Rockefeller, who chairs the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, reiterated in the Capitol Monday that he does not see Keystone making the final cut.
 
The conferees will gather at 3 p.m. in the Hart Senate building.

Setting the bar low ...

Speaking of Rockefeller, he warned reporters not to expect too much from the opening meeting of the House-Senate negotiations Tuesday.

“People give speeches and they get up and leave. It is just going to be about the most boring thing you have ever covered,” he said in the Capitol Monday evening.

But there could be some hope. “There may,” he allowed, “be some interesting things in the speeches.”


NEWS BITES:

Groups maintain ties with Heartland Institute

A Heartland Institute billboard that linked belief in climate change with the murderous views of the Unabomber and Charles Manson caused quite a controversy last week.

But that wasn't enough to drive away groups that are sponsoring the conservative think tank's upcoming climate conference.

Read more here.

House panel to examine green buildings

A House Science Committee panel will hold a hearing Tuesday at 10 a.m. on the ratings system for green buildings. Witnesses include Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant energy secretary at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency, among others.

The British are coming

Greg Barker, the United Kingdom’s energy and climate minister, is leading a delegation of British companies to the United States to talk about collaboration on curbing emissions by growing the market for low-carbon tech.

They will “share best practices and expand collaboration in developing both nations’ low-carbon economies,” according to an advisory from the U.K. government’s Trade & Investment branch.

“Visiting Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta, the seven British companies joining Minister Barker range from multinational companies such as Rolls-Royce to growing innovators like KiWi Power, a smart grid intelligence firm,” an advisory from U.K. Trade & Investment states.

Barker said that growing the market for low-carbon technologies is good for Britain.

“The growing global market in green goods and services represents a huge range of opportunities for UK businesses,” Barker said in a statement. “What is good for the planet can be fantastic for business too and I want to help British entrepreneurs and companies seize those opportunities with both hands.”

Interior chief expected to back Utah gas wells

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be in Utah with a top lieutenant Tuesday for a “major natural gas development announcement” in the state's Uintah Basin.

Look for Interior officials to tout development just days after rolling out new environmental regulations for “fracking” that industry groups complained could slow drilling.

Interior officials have highlighted the Uintah Basin as a place where they’re seeking to speed development.

They're working with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. on a project that's expected to allow as many as several thousand new wells coupled with enhanced air pollution safeguards.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (R-Utah), in a statement Monday, praised the expected approvals while taking a few shots at the Obama administration.

"Utahns have gotten used to the Obama Administration closing off federal lands to domestic energy production, so this announcement is a long time coming. Extending the life of the activity in the Greater Natural Buttes area and keeping high production levels going for another decade will lead to lower energy costs and more jobs for Utahns," he said in a statement.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Here's a quick roundup of recent E2 stories:

- Some groups stand by Heartland Institute amid firestorm over climate billboard
- Gas pipelines under cyberattack
- Republican to revive lightbulb war
- Oil companies top Fortune 500 list
- Clinton pressures India to further reduce Iranian oil imports
- Trumka says labor wants Keystone built, believes green issues can be resolved
- Green group marshals top K Street lobbyists to do battle on farm bill
- Heartland Institute yanks Unabomber climate billboard
- Republicans say Obama is running out of excuses to delay Keystone pipeline

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

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