OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House GOP sets sights on planned coal-mining rules

The committee has issued two subpoenas to the Interior Department for information about the planned rules in recent months. He has also pressed the Environmental Protection Agency for information on the planned rule. Hastings says the administration hasn’t been responsive to the subpoenas.

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But the Interior Department counters that the subpoenas are "inappropriate and premature."

The department says it has provided 13,000 pages of documents in response to the committee's investigation.


NEWS BITES:

DOE official: ‘Clean-energy standard’ is a priority for Obama

President Obama’s call for a “clean-energy standard” faces long odds on Capitol Hill, but a top Energy Department official insists it’s on the White House’s front burner nonetheless.

David Sandalow, the acting under secretary of energy, noted that Obama has used his last two State of the Union speeches to tout the proposal, which would require utilities to supply increasing amounts of power from low-carbon sources.

“The president has spoken to this twice in State of the Union addresses. It’s a powerful signal of the priority he attaches to it,” said Sandalow, who is also department’s assistant secretary for policy and international affairs.

He spoke to reporters after a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing about committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman’s (D-N.M.) bill to create a clean-energy standard.

Bingaman has acknowledged the bill isn’t going to clear Congress this year, but has called the proposal a way to lay the groundwork for eventual action.

Cardin weighs options to push SEC on oil-disclosure rule

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who has pushed the Securities and Exchange (SEC) to complete a long-delayed rule on oil industry disclosure, tells E2 that he’s keeping some options in his back pocket if the regulators continue to dither.

Cardin, in a short interview, would not rule out getting involved in the new lawsuit that Oxfam America has filed to force completion of the rules. “We are reviewing all options,” he said in the Capitol.

The Maryland Democrat, who co-authored the provision in the Dodd-Frank finance law requiring the rules, also said he might seek new legislative efforts to pressure the SEC.

“There is the action in the Senate itself, there are appropriations bills, there are other issues that we could try to get action moving,” Cardin said.

However, he said that his discussions with SEC members suggest they are trying to complete the regulation, which is more than a year past deadline. “We are still hopeful they will do the right thing,” Cardin said.

The rule will force SEC-listed oil, gas and mining companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments. Click here and here for more on the battle over the regulation, which faces oil industry opposition.

House panel clears bills to delay EPA rules, boost drilling

The House GOP effort to put the brakes on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air pollution rules moved forward Thursday.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would delay several regulations — including new fuel rules and emissions standards for refineries — while an interagency panel studies their cumulative effect on gasoline prices.

The panel approved a separate bill that would require any removal of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be accompanied by an expansion of domestic oil-and-gas leasing.

Both of the GOP bills attracted three Democratic votes. Copies of the bills can be found here, and info on Democratic amendments that the committee turned back are here.

Report: CFTC mulls changes to oil speculation rules

Bloomberg reporter Silla Brush — an alum of The Hill — has the goods on a potential move by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to ease regulations limiting speculation in oil, natural gas and other commodities.

From the story:

The CFTC’s five commissioners are considering a private vote to change how companies aggregate their trading positions when they have ownership stakes in other firms, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The agency may propose raising to 50 percent from 10 percent the threshold for when a company is considered to have an ownership stake and must add the trading positions, the people said.

Greens bombard EPA with comments in support of greenhouse gas rules

A coalition of environmental groups sent 1 million comments in support of regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants to the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday.

“Americans broadly support the EPA’s efforts to reduce dangerous air pollution that threatens the health and safety of our children, communities, and wildlife. More than one million Americans have now voiced their support for these important safeguards and called on the EPA and the White House to move forward with the strongest possible standard for new and existing power plants,” the groups — including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace — said in a joint statement.

Schumer, pointing to Commerce decision, touts solar bill

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) used a Commerce Department decision to impose hefty tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports to tout his related legislation.

“China’s trade policy undercuts every industry under the sun, and solar is no exception. Slapping tariffs on these Chinese panels is a step in the right direction to break China’s stranglehold on the solar market. To further level the playing field for domestic manufacturers, the administration should cut off Chinese companies from qualifying for U.S. tax credits,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) floated a bill this week would add a domestic content requirement to solar panels sold in the United States, making it more difficult for Chinese-made solar panel firms to qualify for the 30 percent tax credit that U.S. individuals and businesses receive for purchasing and installing solar panels.

Read more about the Commerce Department decision here.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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

- Rahall: Keystone pipeline will be dropped from highway bill
- Activists rip Clear Channel for rejecting climate billboard
- Senate Democrat: Energy bills stalled until fiscal ‘grand bargain’ is struck
- Former US ambassadors: Cut foreign oil dependence to help rein in trade deficit
- Palm oil industry adds lobbying muscle in EPA climate battle
- League of Conservation Voters targets former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez
- RNC blasts White House on coal as Biden campaigns in Ohio
- Cardon spending $300,000 to hit Rep. Flake on energy tax

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

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