By Ben Geman - 06/18/12 01:44 PM EDT
The measure nonetheless provides an election-year platform for debate on regulations that critics call economically harmful but defenders call vital to protecting public health.
Across the Capitol, the House is slated to debate a package of energy bills designed to speed up onshore oil-and-gas drilling. Critics of the measures say they would dismantle needed environmental reviews.
The legislation would also delay some EPA air pollution rules while an interagency panel reviews their effect on fuel prices, employment and the economy.
The House is also slated to take up a separate package of land-use bills that includes Rep. Rob Bishop’s (R-Utah) border security legislation.
Bishop’s plan would exempt the Department of Homeland Security from an array of environmental laws within 100 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders.
Those bills are just a few of the things to watch this week.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee might gather to vote on two White House nominees for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Allison Macfarlane, President Obama’s choice to replace outgoing Democratic NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko, and Kristine Svinicki, a Republican nominated to a second NRC term, are both expected to win committee approval.
It’s not clear when the full Senate might hold a vote on the nominees, though it’s likely to happen soon because Svinicki’s current term expires at the end of June.
There will be plenty of energy-related hearings this week. Among them:
On Tuesday, a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee panel will gather to review EPA’s new rules to curb air pollution from hydraulic fracturing.
Also Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will gather to review the potential for energy-related technologies and practices — including reinjection of wastewater from natural gas fracking — to cause seismic activity.
In the House, an Energy and Commerce Committee panel will hear testimony about EPA greenhouse gas regulations Tuesday from a range of industry officials, environmentalists and experts.
And off Capitol Hill — way, way off — the big United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, will take place in Rio de Janeiro from June 20-22. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation.
Closer to Capitol Hill, there will be several energy-related forums this week in Washington, D.C.
On Monday afternoon, The Atlantic magazine’s “Next Generation Energy Forum” will host speakers including Daniel Poneman, the U.S. deputy secretary of Energy, and Carol Browner, who was President Obama’s top energy aide and is now with the Center for American Progress.
Tuesday brings a summit hosted by the United States Nuclear Infrastructure Council. Speakers include Poneman and William Ostendorff, a member of the NRC.
On Wednesday, National Journal hosts an energy forum with speakers including House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who plays a central role coordinating the House GOP’s political messaging on oil-and-gas drilling and other issues.