OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama-Romney debate arrives amid energy, climate differences

Romney has made his energy platform a pillar of his campaign, pledging to boost the economy by scuttling what he calls undue White House restrictions on drilling, coal mining and other projects.

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Obama, for his part, has noted U.S. oil-and-gas production has risen on his watch while accusing Romney of turning his back on green energy and efficiency — sectors Obama calls vital to the nation’s future competitiveness.

Environmental groups, for their part, are working the refs in an effort to get climate change on the debate agenda. The League of Conservation Voters and other groups have collected signatures urging the debate moderator, Jim Lehrer of PBS, to ask Obama and Romney about the topic.


NEWS BITES:

Energy loan disbursements delayed

Less than half the money in a federal clean-energy loan program has been delivered, according to Reuters.

The news service said payments to 19 solar, wind and geothermal projects under an Energy Department loan guarantee program have been “slow and uneven.”
 
Reuters said technical questions and missed milestones partially explain the pace. It also said caution over a Solyndra-style repeat has colored Energy’s handling of the program. Solyndra, a former solar panel maker, controversially went bankrupt after receiving a government-backed loan.

Bromwich: Keep drilling focus on safety

Ex-Interior Department offshore drilling chief Michael Bromwich had a simple message Tuesday: Don’t forget the lessons of the 2010 BP-Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Bromwich, who oversaw the revamping of Interior’s troubled offshore branch after the spill, said Tuesday that it is time to “turn the spotlight back” onto drilling safety and environmental protection.

He noted that after the spill, there was a great deal of attention to improving spill prevention, containment and response. But regulators have faced industry and GOP attacks about the pace of post-spill Gulf of Mexico energy development.

“Surprisingly quickly, at least surprisingly to me, focus on those issues has faded,” he said of safety at a forum on drilling Tuesday. “It was too quickly replaced by a focus on speed, the speed of processing and approving exploration plans, the speed of processing ... drilling permits and the speed at which other regulatory approvals were provided.”

Bromwich, a former Justice Department official, now heads his own strategic consulting firm. He’s also a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he moderated a forum Tuesday on drilling safety. More on that here.


ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

Smart grid, security in focus

GridWeek, a major electric utility and technology conference, enters its second day Wednesday at the Washington Convention Center.
 
The convention highlights “smart” technologies that use more Internet-based communication to provide consumers with real-time energy-use data.
 
That Web-based communication also has made the electric grid more vulnerable to cyber attacks, a topic to be discussed Wednesday at a Homeland Security Policy Institute-hosted discussion.
 
Paul Stockton, assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, will address cyber defense challenges for the nation’s electric grid. That discussion will take place at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs.

White House official to speak at efficiency forum

The Alliance to Save Energy will hold an energy-efficiency policy summit Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.
 
Gary Guzy, deputy director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Roland Risser, Building Technologies Program manager with the Department of Energy, will headline the event.
 
In the evening, the energy-efficiency advocacy group will host its annual awards dinner at the Mellon Auditorium.

Obama aide Zichal to talk energy jobs

Two administration officials will discuss ways to improve workforce skills for energy jobs at a Wednesday morning event at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center.
 
Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training with the Department of Labor, and Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, will speak at the National Journal-hosted event.
 
The panel discussion will focus on policy and education solutions for bolstering skills energy companies covet while also tackling how industries can foster those abilities. More here.

Chevron, Marathon oil officials talk transportation

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Wednesday morning forum on transportation policy. The event will focus on the recent National Petroleum Council study, titled "Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future."

Panelists include officials with Chevron and Marathon Oil.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

- Obama ad blasts Romney for using unpaid coal miners in spot
- Biofuels industry lauds automakers on ethanol blend
- Chamber chapters press Obama, Romney on green energy
- Drilling safety chief: 'Time-out' might be needed as industry takes on more risk
- Candidates spar over climate in Nebraska Senate race


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

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