The week ahead: Keystone pipeline, EPA rules in focus

The White House in April threatened to veto the House version of the transportation bill over language that effectively requires a permit for Keystone.
 
Administration officials say the House plan would short-circuit the federal review that’s slated to last into 2013.
 
Stay tuned.
 
Also this week, the Senate is likely to confirm a pair of 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. Svinicki's current term expires at the end of the month.
 
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, on Thursday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear from various experts at a hearing on “innovative non-federal programs for financing energy efficient building retrofits.”
 
In the House, the Environmental Protection Agency will remain in the GOP’s crosshairs.

On Wednesday the Appropriations Committee will mark up fiscal year 2013 spending legislation that would make deep cuts to EPA’s budget.
 
Meanwhile, Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans will continue their assault on EPA air pollution regulations that they contend will harm the economy.
 
The committee has two hearings that will provide lawmakers a platform to bash the agency:
 
On Thursday the Energy and Power Subcommittee will gather to review EPA’s recent proposal to tighten standards for fine particulate matter, or soot. Advocates of tougher air quality standards say reducing exposure to fine particulate matter will yield enormous public health benefits.
 
On Friday EPA’s top air pollution regulator, Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOvernight Energy: EPA stands firm on fuel standards EPA decides not to weaken car efficiency rules Top Republican urges regulators to back off MORE, will appear before the same panel to discuss to the agency’s greenhouse gas regulations.

But in another hearing room, defense of the agency will come from the very top. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is slated to appear before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Thursday.

The title of the hearing is “Strengthening the Scientific Backbone of the EPA: An Examination of Agency Practices and Foundations for Regulations Affecting the American Economy.”

Off Capitol Hill, top White House energy and climate aide Heather Zichal will address the think tank NDN on Monday, June 25.
 
And way off Capitol Hill, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and a pair of top lieutenants will travel to Norway June 25-28 to discuss offshore drilling safety with officials there.
 
They will continue the “ongoing dialogue with international counterparts, government officials and oil and gas industry leaders regarding the safe and responsible development of offshore energy resources,” an advisory states.
 
Salazar was invited by Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe, and the trip builds on last year’s Ministerial Forum on Offshore Drilling Containment held in Washington, D.C. Salazar has made drilling safety a major focus since the massive 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.