OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Lawmakers, veterans boost pressure for wind credit


For now, the incentive’s fate waits on “fiscal cliff” negotiations between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Those automatic spending cuts and income tax increases are set to take effect Jan. 1

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While its proponents contend the incentive leverages $15 billion of investment per year and would cost $5 billion, fiscal conservatives say it costs $12.1 billion and that it is too expensive to extend.

Grassley said earlier this month that the Senate would wait to move the $205 billion tax extenders package that includes the wind incentive in order to give Obama and Boehner time to work on a deal.


IN OTHER NEWS TUESDAY:

UN climate expert ties Sandy, climate change

The Associated Press reports from Doha, Qatar, that a prominent global warming expert is linking Superstorm Sandy to climate change. From their piece:

Though it’s tricky to link a single weather event to climate change, Hurricane Sandy was “probably not a coincidence” but an example of the extreme weather events that are likely to strike the U.S. more often as the world gets warmer, the U.N. climate panel’s No. 2 scientist said Tuesday.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predicted that as stronger and more frequent heat waves and storms become part of life, people will stop asking whether global warming played a role.

The latest round of U.N. climate talks began in Doha this week.

Rep. Smith wins Science Committee gavel ...

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has won the three-way race for the chairmanship of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee in the next Congress.

The House Republican Steering Committee recommended Smith on Tuesday, and its picks will be ratified Wednesday by the full House Republican Conference, according to Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office.

The committee’s work includes oversight of federal energy and environmental research and science programs.

Smith — who has questioned human-induced climate change — vowed earlier in November to focus on “innovation” in energy and other fields.

“Through the work, research and development of American innovators, we can reach our goal of energy independence, develop new technologies to save lives, and discover new worlds in outer space,” he said when announcing he would seek the chairmanship.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the current chairman, must hand off the gavel due to term limits.

...  as current chairman Hall floats energy R&D bill

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) introduced a bill Tuesday that would set aside research and development funding for unconventional energy sources.

With little time left on the legislative calendar, it is unlikely that Hall — who will return to Congress next year but give up his chairmanship — will get his bill passed.

The bill (H.R. 6603) would allocate $12 million per year between fiscal 2013 and 2015 for research and development related to oil-and-gas drilling in shale formations.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the unconventional drilling method used to access those reserves. The process injects a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into tight rock formations to release hydrocarbons.

Though the practice has been credited with driving a domestic energy boom, it also uses a considerable amount of water. Hall’s bill calls for $5 million annually between fiscal 2013 and 2017 for water reuse and recycling research and development.

The bill also would support oil shale research and development, a controversial energy source that was largely abandoned in the 1980s.


WEDNESDAY'S AGENDA:

Murkowski, Landrieu to talk natural gas

The Hill is hosting a Wednesday morning forum on natural gas and other energy topics with Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Landrieu is a member of the committee.

Both are outspoken advocates of expanded offshore drilling. The forum titled “Natural Gas & Energy Issued in the New Congress” will be webcast at 9 a.m. at thehill.com.

And keep an eye on The Hill’s E2-Wire blog for other coverage of the event.

Gulf of Mexico drilling rights for sale

The Interior Department will hold its latest sale of oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday, offering more than 20 million acres.

“The sale will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area – encompassing 3,873 blocks and covering roughly 20.8 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters),” Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.

“BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas,” the agency said.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the sale isn’t expected to be a blockbuster.

Goodlatte to address economic impact of biofuel rule

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) will discuss the impact of the federal ethanol mandate on the chain restaurant industry at a Wednesday event.

Goodlatte will join the National Council of Chain Restaurants to highlight a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the biofuel rule.

Goodlatte has sponsored bills to either alter or repeal the rule, which requires refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels into traditional transportation fuel by 2022.

Meat and poultry producers say the rule drives up food costs by fencing off corn supplies for ethanol production. But the biofuels community notes a chunk of ethanol byproduct gets recycled back into animal feed.

Several state governors asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a waiver from the rule, claiming it drove up animal feed costs. The EPA rejected that request earlier this month.

Officials to gaze into energy future

A handful of energy experts with administration experience will convene for a Wednesday panel to discuss the future of U.S. energy policy.

Think tank Resources for the Future will host the event, which will touch on the roles nuclear energy, coal, oil, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency could play in the next decade.

Panelists include Doug Arent, executive director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Richard Meserve, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman and currently president of the Carnegie Institution of Science; and Jeff Holmstead, former Environmental Protection Agency chief and currently a lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani.

Click here for more.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Obama quietly signs bill shielding airlines from carbon fees in Europe

— Energy agency sees glass as half-empty on climate change

— Oil-and-gas lobby: Repeal of biofuel rule a top priority next Congress

— Top Energy Department official stays mum on future leadership

— Ex-senators propose interagency council for energy policy

— Wind industry's top lobbyist navigates political crosswinds


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

Follow E2 on Twitter: @E2Wire, @Ben_Geman, @zcolman

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