OVERNIGHT ENERGY: GOP, US Chamber seek energy traction

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Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would enable EPA to ratchet down corn-based ethanol requirements in the national renewable fuels mandate when corn supplies run low. The bill almost entirely resembles a House bill sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.).
 
Cardin’s and Goodlatte’s offices have been working together on the effort, which would allow a reduction in the amount of ethanol that's required to be blended into the nation's motor fuel supply.
 
“I think there is probably the support to do something to help the impact that corn-based ethanol is having on the food chain,” Cardin told The Hill on Wednesday. “Whether we can find a vehicle and find a process to get it done is going to be extremely challenging because of the calendar.”
 
Cardin said that poultry and agriculture interests have contacted his office with concerns about the rising cost of corn. Those groups say biofuels production during the current drought is depleting corn stocks used as feed for livestock and poultry. That pricier input will also increase consumer costs for food, such as beef and chicken.
 
The House and the Senate bills both would let EPA reduce corn-based ethanol requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard by as much as 50 percent, depending on the amount of available corn relative to use.
 
The EPA’s renewable fuel standard, which is the rule both bills would impact, requires domestic use of 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol by 2022.
 
The only significant difference between the two bills is the House version would permit production changes twice per year based on a pair of biannual reports. The Senate version would allow just one yearly revision.

EPA calls water safe in ‘fracking’ town

The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that the water in a rural Pennsylvania town famous for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, activity is safe enough to drink, Reuters reports.
 
Fracking injects a combination of water, chemicals and sand into tight rock formations to unlock natural gas.
 
Dimock, Pa., residents had long complained that fracking yielded clouded, odd-smelling water. The EPA will stop giving four homes alternative drinking water as a result of its finding.

Alt-fueled vehicles under House microscope


A House subcommittee will take a look at the Obama administration’s efforts to support alternative fuel vehicles in a Thursday morning hearing.
 
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hear from two Energy Department (DOE) officials and Brian Wynne, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association.
 
The hearing will discuss whether taxpayer dollars are used efficiently in the administration’s alternative fuel vehicle efforts.
 
The federal government offers an array of incentives for developing alternative fuel vehicles. The Departments of Energy, Treasury, Transportation and Agriculture as well as the Environmental Protection Agency all administer some of those incentives.
 
Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency with DOE, and Rickey Hass, deputy inspector general for audits and inspections with DOE, will represent the administration at the hearing.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire on Wednesday ...

- Oil lobby sues EPA for biofuels requirement

- Senate committee moves chemicals bill without GOP support

- Obama backers promote wind energy in Iowa

- House panel approves 'No More Solyndras' bill

- Dems accuse GOP of playing politics with offshore leasing bill

- House votes to replace Obama administration's offshore drilling plan

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