OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama, GOP square off over energy from afar

Thursday brings a series of events and press conferences across the country under the umbrella of the GOP leadership-run House Energy Action Team (HEAT).

The events are part of a wider GOP campaign against Environmental Protection Agency regulations and what Republicans call undue Obama administration restrictions on oil-and-gas drilling.

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Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) will have a press conference in Bismarck, N.D., and then tour a Continental Resources drilling rig in Killdeer.

Other events Thursday under the HEAT banner include:

• Arkansa GOP Reps. Tim Griffin and Rick Crawford will tour a pipe manufacturer in Little Rock that Republicans say is laying people off due to the White House failure to authorize the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

• Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) are hosting an event at a Greeley, Colo., construction company to “discuss how we can increase domestic production and the impact high gas prices have on America’s economic recovery,” an advisory states. Afterward they will tour a trucking company to “learn how gas prices affect end-users.”

• Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) will tour a hydraulic fracturing site in Parker County, Texas, to highlight allegations that new or potential Obama administration regulations will hinder oil-and-gas development.

Other events with GOP members will occur in Kansas, Ohio and California, where Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) will tour a Valero Energy Corp. refinery.

And Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and several other members will tour a Shell deepwater drilling rig and an offshore production platform in the Gulf of Mexico.


NEWS BITES:

Face-off over EPA carbon standards

The Environmental Protection Agency will get an earful about its global warming rules Thursday.

The agency is convening public hearings about its recently proposed carbon dioxide standards for new power plants. More here.

Murkowski, Begich to discuss Alaska’s green-energy future

Alaska is well-known for its oil production, but on Thursday the state’s Senate delegation will appear at the liberal Center for American Progress for a forum on “challenges and opportunities” for renewable energy there.

In addition to Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D), the event will feature Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes. More here.

House GOP takes aim at Grand Canyon mining ban

House Natural Resources Committee Republicans released emails Wednesday that they say show the Interior Department exaggerated the scientific justification for imposing a 20-year ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

One email from a National Park Service hydrologist raised questions about the Interior Department’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).

“The DEIS goes to great lengths in an attempt to establish impacts to water resources from uranium mining. It fails to do so, but instead creates enough confusion and obfuscation of hydrologic principles to create the illusion that there could be adverse impacts if uranium mining occurred,” an excerpt of the email provided by the committee says.

“These emails raise serious concerns about whether the Obama Administration’s decision to block uranium production in Arizona was based on politics rather than sound science,” committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said in a statement.

Interior announced in January that it will ban new uranium mining claims on 1 million acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon. Read more about the decision here.

Nebraska landowners challenge state pipeline law

Nebraska landowners challenged a state pipeline law in an effort to derail the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

More from Bloomberg:

“Three Nebraska landowners asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a new law allowing the governor to approve pipeline routes and delegate the right to acquire property for such projects, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.

TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s permit application to run the Keystone XL pipeline through the state is being processed under the new law, the attorney, David Domina, said in an interview today. Under the law, Calgary-based TransCanada can gain eminent domain authority without having to wait for federal permits, he said.”

Big-name musicians support Lacey Act

Major recording artists — including Sting, Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz — have thrown their support behind a law, known as the Lacey Act, that blocks the importation of wood from protected forests.

Republicans and others are seeking to overturn the law after federal agents raided Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee last year as part of an investigation into whether the company was using illegal wood from India in its products. The raid infuriated Tea Party groups, which have said the Lacey Act is an example of the administration’s overly burdensome regulations.

“A chorus of the biggest names in music is opposing this Tea Party-led effort to eliminate the Lacey Act, which would open the floodgates to increased illegal logging,” Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement Wednesday. Markey released that list of musicians.

“Killing this vital law would create a new era of ‘blood instruments’ and destroy consumers’ freedom and confidence to buy products that are made from safe and sustainable wood.”


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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

- BP agrees to $400 million settlement at Indiana refinery
- Hastings, Interior IG square off over drilling report
- Nuclear chief Jaczko in no hurry to step down

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