OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Coal fight arrives in House

Click here for the witness testimony, and read on for more on that bill (and what a coal-country Democratic senator thinks of it).

NEWS BITES:

Report to lay out insurance industry’s climate jeopardy

The sustainable investment group Ceres will roll out a report Thursday that describes how extreme weather and future effects of climate change are “creating significant challenges across the country for the insurance industry.”

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“This summer’s devastating drought and record high temperatures are the latest reminders of the impacts that climate change and extreme weather events pose to U.S. property and casualty insurers hard hit by last year’s $32 billion in insured losses,” an advisory states.

Sen. Rockefeller on House carbon capture bill: Duck!

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is bashing legislation sponsored by several West Virginia House members that would block greenhouse gas rules until carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are proven feasible.

“It is called the big duck, D-U-C-K — not the animal, but the act,” Rockefeller told reporters in the Capitol.

A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel is holding a hearing Thursday on Rep. David McKinley’s (R-W.Va.) bill, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), among others.

The bill would prevent carbon standards for power plants until federal officials publish a finding that CCS is “technologically and economically” feasible.

The technology has not been commercialized, but Rockefeller noted CCS efforts that have been undertaken in West Virginia and elsewhere.

“You can’t suspend regulations for that purpose, or else you will never see an end to it,” said Rockefeller in criticizing the House bill.

Rockefeller has broken with some coal-state lawmakers in opposing efforts to kill Environmental Protection Agency regulations. He noted Wednesday the industry has long known the climate regulations were coming.

The West Virginia senator has drawn fire in his state for criticizing the coal industry’s response to climate change.

In a widely noted June speech, Rockefeller said “many who run the coal industry today would rather attack false enemies and deny real problems than find solutions.”

The senator in the past has sponsored legislation to boost federal support for CCS research and deployment, and in early August began seeking input from industry groups, labor and other stakeholders on a revised bill to drive deployment.

Sen. Barrasso: Obama held hostage by green 'extremists'

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Wednesday that President Obama’s energy policy is the result of “being held hostage by environmental extremists.”
 
Barrasso blasted Obama for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that he said led to a large coal producer laying off 1,200 workers on Tuesday.

He said Obama’s energy policies in general and the White House's delay on ruling on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline show environmentalists have co-opted the administration’s energy policy.
 
“The president talks about an ‘all of the above’ strategy,” Barrasso said in a press conference with Senate Republican leadership. “When you actually go and look at it point by point by point, this strategy appears to be none of the above and being held hostage by environmental extremists who care very little, in my opinion, about the jobs that we need to get America back to work.”

Groups seek farm bill vote to advance energy programs

A pro-biofuels and green-power coalition is pushing House leadership for a farm bill vote so farmers can take advantage of the package’s energy incentives.
 
The Agriculture Energy Coalition sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday urging a vote on the stalled five-year farm bill (H.R. 6083).
 
“The certainty provided by a five-year Farm Bill is particularly valuable to farmers, business owners, and investors with an interest in rural energy initiatives,” the letter said. “Inaction by the House on H.R. 6083 will introduce a grave level of uncertainty to a growing segment of the U.S. economy, deterring private sector investments and threatening good paying jobs.”
 
The coalition credited the 2008 farm bill with getting the nation’s first “advanced” biofuels refineries under construction and for increasing energy efficiency and renewable-energy adoption in rural America.
 
Boehner has stalled on calling the bill, largely because it would present a politically difficult vote for anti-spending GOP members from farming districts.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Former Dem staffer to lead new mining group
— Group tells EPA to let California enact ‘clean car’ program
— Dems seek wind tax credit vote on GOP coal bill
— Sierra Club goes after six House members on fossil fuels
— Nader: Capitol Hill needs substantive climate debate
— CBO: Nixing climate rules would cut spending by $245 million
— Romney ad rips Obama on coal

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