OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior forum to lay groundwork for blowout-prevention rules

The event will include representatives from government organizations, industry, trade associations, equipment manufacturers, consultants, training companies and BOP monitoring companies, according to Interior.

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Interior officials say that while they have already toughened drilling safety rules, more is needed with respect to the blowout preventers.

Major probes of the BP accident by a joint Interior-Coast Guard panel and other investigators have emphasized the need for improved blowout preventers, undersea devices that are supposed to deploy powerful metal arms — called shear rams — to cut off blown wells.

James Watson, who heads Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, touted the need for further blowout preventer rules at an offshore technology conference earlier in May.

“The Drilling Safety Rule contained a number of provisions related to blowout preventers, but the various investigations on the Deepwater Horizon, in particular the ones from the National Academy of Engineers and the BSEE-U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team, highlighted a number of additional issues with BOPs — arguably the most critical piece of safety and well control equipment on a rig — that need to be addressed. This is a rule that I believe is much needed, and we will work deliberately toward getting a draft rule published,” he said.

Tuesday’s daylong event — which will be webcast at here — will feature panels addressing a range of topics, such as “What new design requirements are needed to provide assurances that BOPs will cut and seal effectively under foreseeable operating conditions?”


NEWS BITES:

Groups pressure Reid for vote on energy-efficiency bill

A broad coalition of groups — 92 in all — urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to take up bipartisan energy-efficiency legislation as soon as possible.

The groups include the Alliance to Save Energy, the Sierra Club and the American Chemistry Council.

The legislation, authored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would improve energy efficiency in buildings and at federal agencies, among other things.

“At a time when too many Americans are suffering financial hardships, energy efficiency offers real solutions that would not only help alleviate their pain, but would also deal with the short- and long-term economic, environmental and national security problems associated with rising energy use,” the groups said in the letter.

Chu, DOE officials to embark on energy tour

Energy Department officials will hold a series of events this week in honor of National Small Business Week.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu will speak Wednesday at DuPont in Delaware and Friday at a General Electric research center in New York.

Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman, Assistant Secretary Pat Hoffman and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Director Arun Majumdar will also hold events around the country.

Senate committee to probe energy innovation

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday about the latest report from the American Energy Innovation Council.



It’s a group of private-sector heavyweights — including Bill Gates — that's pushing for a more muscular federal rule in helping spur development and deployment of green-energy technologies.



Witnesses will include Norman Augustine, the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. More on the hearing here, and click here for some earlier E2 coverage of the council’s work.

‘Safe chemicals’ advocates to storm Capitol Hill


A coalition pushing for tougher rules to prevent chemicals from hurting public health will rally tomorrow in favor of Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) bill to toughen Toxic Substances Control Act requirements.

The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition says it has brought hundreds of moms, nurses and cancer survivors — under the banner of the “National Stroller Brigade” — to the Capitol.

There will be a 10 a.m. rally and press conference at the Capitol, and meetings with lawmakers, the coalition said.

Lautenberg’s bill would require manufacturers to develop and produce more data about chemicals; force EPA to take more aggressive steps to reduce exposures to so-called persistent bioaccumulative toxics; and require additional testing and safety assessments for some chemicals, according to Lautenberg’s office.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Here's a quick roundup of recent E2 stories:

- Jaczko: Resignation unrelated to bullying claims
- House Republicans call on Jaczko to step down immediately
- Nuclear agency chief Jaczko to step down
- Oil industry seizes on Obama order in push against Dodd-Frank rules
- House Republicans, Romney take aim at Obama’s stance on coal industry
- Obama, G8 challenge Iran over nukes and oil

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