OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Oil industry to offer wish list to Dems, GOP

The report will be released at the group’s “Vote 4 Energy” event, which shares a name with its swing-state ad campaign, that will also feature a panel discussion about election-year energy politics and policy.

The panelists are Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners; Jim Connaughton, who chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality and is now an executive with utility giant Exelon; former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who is know a senior policy adviser at Arent Fox; and Hunton & Williams partner Joe Stanko, a former GOP counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


NEWS BITES:

EPA chief pushes back against critics

ADVERTISEMENT
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson hit back Monday morning at critics who say clean air and water regulations are killing the economy.

“No credible economist links our current economic crisis or any economic crisis to clean air or clean land or clean water,” Jackson said during an event at American University.

She noted that environmental regulations “are not free,” but added that they are “are “actually an investment in our future.”

It's the latest in a series of fiery speeches by top Obama administration officials aimed at making the economic case for energy and environmental regulations. Read more here.

Chu to talk solar

Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be in Phoenix Tuesday afternoon to tout solar energy. He’ll appear with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) and others to tout a solar financing program there.

The speech is the latest indication the administration is not backing down from its support of solar energy, amid the furor over the $535 million loan guarantee to failed solar firm Solyndra.

Justice Dept. to appeal EPA mining permit veto

The Obama administration is going to fight for its right to veto a big mountaintop-removal mining project in West Virginia.

In March a federal judge knocked down EPA’s controversial decision to retroactively veto the permit that the Army Corps of Engineers granted Arch Coal for the massive Spruce No. 1 mine.

But Friday the Justice Department, representing EPA, filed a one-sentence notice that it was appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The appeal drew cheers from green groups.

“We are heartened to see the Environmental Protection Agency press forward in its commitment to enforce the 40-year-old Clean Water Act and to ensure that the full protections of that law are finally brought to Appalachia, where they’ve been ignored for too long,” said the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the Coal River Mountain Watch and Sierra Club in a statement.

The groups have intervened in the court battle over the mining project, which has come to symbolize larger struggles over mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

Industry groups and some coal-state lawmakers — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — were enraged by EPA’s veto and are pushing legislation to prevent future permit vetoes.

Interior pushes Google-backed wind project forward


A Google-backed proposal to create a big subsea wind power transmission “backbone” off the Atlantic Coast took a step forward Monday.

The Interior Department’s offshore energy regulators granted a “finding of no competitive interest,” which will enable the environmental review to proceed that could ultimately lead to approval.

The Atlantic Wind Connection is a big offshore transmission line that would, if built, connect energy from planned offshore wind farms along the coast to the grid.

Backers of the multibillion-dollar, multi-stage project, which would take a decade to build in full, include Google, Good Energies II, LP Marubeni Corp. and Elia.

Monday’s finding essentially means that no other developers expressed interest in building transmission in the same region, which will allow environmental planning to proceed.

The subsea power line is envisioned to carry electricity from wind projects that could be built off the coasts of states including New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.

“The first-of-its-kind Atlantic Wind Connection is an encouraging sign of significant industry interest in developing the infrastructure to support offshore wind development. It’s the type of project that will spur innovation that will help us stand-up a clean energy economy to power communities up and down the east coast,” said Interior Secretary David Hayes in a statement.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Here's a quick roundup of recent E2 stories:

- Study: Public willing to pay for more green energy
- Energy exec: US production boom makes case for oil sands exports to Asia
- NRC to increase inspections at Virginia nuke plant that shut down after earthquake
- WH official: Relations with oil sector thawing, but not 'hunky-dory'
- Ex-EPA official who made 'crucify' remark to testify before Congress
- Heitkamp plugs North Dakota energy in new ad
- Hoeven predicts highway bill by June 30, with Keystone included

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

More in Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Earth too hot for its own good, says UN

Read more »