By Ben Geman - 06/21/12 09:55 PM EDT
On Tap Friday: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will use the big United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil as the platform to announce a new mechanism for financing green energy in Africa.
“The announcement will be made in conjunction with Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The mechanism plans to align different types of U.S. financial support to catalyze higher levels of private sector investment in clean energy projects, primarily in Africa,” an advisory states.
Highway bill talks intensify amid Keystone questions
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans will keep pushing for language that would ensure federal approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a provision Senate Democrats and the White House are resisting.
Republicans are also pushing for provisions that would prevent stringent federal regulation of a waste product from coal-fired power plants called coal ash.
Check out The Hill’s Transportation Report blog for the latest.
Energy Department looks to get ‘Beyond Solyndra’
The Energy Department (DOE) is trying to burnish the image of the much-maligned loan guarantee program that backed the failed solar company Solyndra.
DOE unveiled a presentation called “Beyond Solyndra: How the Energy Department’s Loans are Accelerating America’s Transition to a Clean Energy Future.”
The presentation, which is being circulated on Capitol Hill, makes the case that the overall loan portfolio is a success and playing an important role creating jobs and helping to boost green-power generation.
Solyndra was a manufacturing company that went bust, taking a half-billion in taxpayer dollars along with it, but the presentation notes that a big part of the portfolio — 20 projects — is for electricity generation.
The projects together are expected to create enough electricity to power more than 2.5 million homes, according to DOE.
For instance, it highlights the $1.6 billion loan guarantee for the huge Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System that the company BrightSource is building in California’s Mojave Desert, noting more than 1,700 people are working on the site.
“[W]hile critics have focused their attention on the Department’s loan guarantee to Solyndra, the full story is that the Department’s loan portfolio as a whole is having a transformative impact, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and helping double America’s renewable electricity generation,” writes Dan Leistikow, DOE’s director of public affairs, in a blog post.
The presentation also touts more than $8 billion in direct loans to automakers under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
Committee vote sends nuclear nominees to full Senate
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday cleared two nominees for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Lawmakers approved 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.
The full Senate is expected to approve the nominees together by the end of the month, when Svinicki’s current term expires.
But while they’re on track for approval, there was some grumbling and opposition on both sides of the aisle Thursday.
“I could not support Commissioner Svinicki’s re-nomination, because I do not believe that she has demonstrated the commitment to safety that the American people have a right to expect in this post-Fukushima era,” Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in a statement after the vote.
The two nominees were approved on a voice vote. But ... Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) asked to be recorded as a “no” vote on Macfarlane.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Boxer went on the record as “no” votes on Svinicki.
House clears GOP energy package
The House on Thursday approved its latest plan to mandate expanded oil-and-gas leasing and thwart EPA air pollution rules. The Hill’s Floor Action blog was on top of the action.
Check out the coverage here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
On Thursday The Hill noted that Al Gore says Mitt Romney is burying the facts about green jobs; looked at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hint that China could avoid sanctions targeting buyers of Iranian oil; and explored a study that's bullish on the use of natural gas as fuel for heavy trucks.
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