OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Starring Romney’s energy adviser (as himself)

Hamm’s last appearance on Capitol Hill, when he testified before the Senate Finance Committee in June, was a relatively staid affair.

But now the election is much closer.

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The Energy and Power subcommittee holding Thursday’s hearing has its share of combative partisans on both sides — including Democrats who might not be willing to regard Hamm the person as distinct from Hamm the Romney ally.

Click here to see testimony from Hamm and other witnesses at the hearing, which is titled, “A Focus on the Outlook for Achieving North American Energy Independence Within the Decade.”

Quote of the Day: “It feels like a friendlier, happier group than I recall gathered before us in the past.” – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) at a Senate hearing with the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Members of the commission said tensions have eased with the departure of former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko.


NEWS BITES:

Salazar starts energy road trip


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will tout President Obama’s energy policies during a three-day trek though Colorado this week.
 
Obama has pushed his energy policies in the swing state before, thinking the issue presents a vulnerability there for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
 
In a previous Colorado stop, Obama highlighted his support for extending a 2.2-cent-per kilowatt-hour incentive for wind power production. Romney wants to let that incentive expire as scheduled on Dec. 31.
 
Colorado also has experienced an uptick in natural-gas production in recent years. Democrats and Obama have increasingly embraced the energy source that Republicans have long lauded.
 
Salazar, a former Colorado senator, will stop in Boulder, Denver and Fruita on the Thursday-through-Saturday tour. He also will talk about the administration’s conservation record.

House puts controversial drilling report under microscope


The House Natural Resources Committee will gather Thursday to discuss the controversial 2010 federal report that supported the freeze on deepwater drilling imposed after the BP oil spill began.

Committee Republicans are investigating Obama administration edits to the report that made it appear as if a panel of outside engineers had supported the temporary freeze (they hadn’t). More here, here and here.

Issa fumes at deposition that wasn’t


House Republicans’ planned deposition of an Energy Department (DOE) aide didn’t come to pass Wednesday, much to the chagrin of Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Issa had sought the deposition of Morgan Wright in connection with the GOP probe of DOE’s embattled green energy loan program, in particular the use of private email accounts by DOE aides to discuss projects.

But Wright, the DOE program’s director of strategic initiatives, told Issa in a letter Wednesday that he would not appear because he has not yet obtained private counsel. Issa has called the use of the private accounts an apparent violation of federal records laws.

“This refusal to appear as ordered by a lawful subpoena only adds to the perception of wrongdoing and attempts to hide what really happened in the loan program office. Taxpayers will likely lose billions on the Obama Administration’s ill-conceived loan guarantee program and the appearance of cronyism only enhances the need for answers,” Issa said in a statement.

But Issa himself has come under heavy fire in recent days from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, who says Issa is using intimidation tactics in his probe (Issa disagrees).

Cummings slammed Issa for seeking to make Wright appear before Wright had obtained counsel.

“I believe this is an extreme abuse of the authority of this Committee, contrary to the Constitutional concept of due process, and a stain on the Committee’s honor,” Cummings said in a letter Issa Wednesday.

But Issa, in a statement Wednesday, said Wright was given plenty of notice and that “I had already agreed with Ranking Member Cummings that we would discuss Mr. Wright’s concerns about representation when he arrived and before deciding whether the deposition would proceed today.”

Issa called it an “act of bad faith.”

Greens will ‘stand’ against mountaintop removal mining


Earthjustice and other green groups will stage a “Stand with Appalachia Solidarity Day” in Washington, D.C., Thursday to call for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining.

More info is available here.

Whitfield: Some Republicans could defect on Solyndra vote

A senior Republican acknowledged Wednesday that some Republicans could oppose a GOP bill to curtail the DOE loan program because it does not kill the initiative outright.

“We may very well lose some,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The House will vote Friday on the GOP’s “No More Solyndras” bill, which bars green energy loan guarantees for any applications submitted after 2011 and sets new parameters on reviews of existing proposals, among other provisions.

Some conservative and taxpayer groups say it doesn’t go far enough and are pushing for the bill to bar any new loan guarantees.

The bill is expected to receive a vote Friday. But the House Rules Committee isn't allowing a vote on a GOP amendment that would prevent all new loan awards, which would have laid bare Republican divisions on whether to curtail the program or outright kill it right away.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- Biofuels supporters buoyed after meetings with lawmakers

- Rep. Waxman: Don’t name US coastal waters after Reagan

- Taxpayer, conservative groups: GOP’s ‘No More Solyndras’ bill not enough

- Murkowski presses Obama official on late nuclear waste plan

- Enviro poll: 66 percent support more public transportation


Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Zack Colman, zcolman@thehill.com.

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