OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Departing EPA chief says ‘Be Green’

Jackson will speak at EPA headquarters Friday at a summit the agency is hosting with the group Green for All and Amplify Public Affairs.

It will begin BeGreen2013, “a movement encouraging individuals to protect the environment and public health,” an advisory states.

From EPA:

The free, public summit will feature panel dialogues with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, actor and environmentalist Lamman Rucker and GreenHouse Foundation co-founder Shedonna Alexander. Other leaders and local environmentalists will discuss their efforts to build sustainable communities and protect the environment, including Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, NEEF Executive Director Diane Wood, Wash Cycle Laundry Founder Gabriel Mandujano, Dr. Ivor Horn of the Children’s National Medical Center and Laura Turner Seydel, chair of the Captain Planet Foundation.

ADVERTISEMENT
And it’s going to be webcast here at 4 p.m.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Mine safety rule prompted by deadly explosion faces industry blowback
— DOE names new Bonneville Power Administration chief
— GOP governors, Canadian leader press Obama to approve Keystone pipeline
— Groups battle on Keystone XL pipeline
— Senators: Dodd-Frank lawsuit ‘fundamentally’ threatens Congress’s power
— Vitter: 'Political purposes' behind EPA fracking study

NEWS BITES:

DOE’s Chu mum on future, not on tree-huggers and climate


Energy Secretary Steven Chu spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Thursday.

Chu, a cyclist, debunked a myth: “Sometimes I’ll run up the stairs [at DOE], but I don’t go on my bicycle up the stairs.”

He offered DOE as a resource for communities to build and rebuild in smart ways as extreme weather becomes more frequent.

“What used to be the flood of the century may no longer be the flood of the century. It may be the flood of the decade or shorter period of time,” Chu said.

Chu, armed with historical temperature data, said climate change is here, which tree-huggers and non-tree-huggers alike must accept.

“There is a reasonably good chance the frequency of violent storms is increasing. I’ve been going through a lot of recent data . . . and that is absolutely turning out to be true in terms of floods and things like that. They are increasing. It is just a fact. I don’t care if you hug trees or not. This is just a fact,” he said, referring to several decades worth of data on extreme weather.

What Chu did not do, however, was talk about his future, and left the meeting without taking reporters’ questions.

Chu is widely expected to be leave as part of the wider Cabinet turnover in President Obama’s second term.

That view got stronger Thursday when Bloomberg, citing two sources “familiar with the matter,” reported that Chu’s heading for the door. One of the sources said the announcement might come next week.

A DOE spokesman declined to shine light on Chu’s future.

“Dr. Chu is focused on his job as Secretary each day and hasn't made any announcements about his future plans,” spokesman Bill Gibbons said.

Oil-and-gas official hopes DOE changes don’t slow gas exports


The American Petroleum Institute ramped up calls Thursday for DOE to approve an array of natural-gas export applications — and a top official expressed concern that turnover at DOE could slow the process down.

“Clearly, any time you have change at the top of one of these important federal agencies that has to adjudicate these things and you don’t have the seat filled of the person that has to sign off on it, that is a concern,” said API chief economist John Felmy when asked about Chu’s rumored departure.

He expressed hope that if Chu does leave, his replacement will be quickly confirmed by the Senate.

Felmy, on a call with reporters, made the case for exports at a time when some large manufacturing companies are calling for restrictions.

“Allowing the export of LNG is a win for the U.S. economy in the same way exporting our agricultural products, industrial machinery, pharmaceuticals, electronic equipment, chemicals, and thousands of other commodities and products is a win,” he said.

Energy companies on guard in Algeria

Foreign energy firms are evacuating their Algerian plants while a U.S.-based company is “closely monitoring” its facilities in response to an armed takeover of a BP facility in Algeria.

Al Qaeda-linked militants seized the natural-gas plant near Libya’s border Wednesday, taking dozens — reportedly including seven Americans — hostage. Some of those hostages and Islamist gunmen were killed Thursday as the Algerian military squashed the incident with an air strike.

Energy firms varied in their reactions to the episode.

Spain’s Compania Espanola de Petroleos SA and Norway’s Statoil both removed employees from the Libyan border, The Associated Press reported. BP was planning to move non-essential staff.

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle reported The Woodlands, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. was “closely monitoring” its three oil-and-gas sites.

The Islamist militants raided the BP to demand an end to U.S.-backed French military intervention against Islamists in Mali. Militants there have taken rule of the northern part of that country and are advancing toward the capital, Bamako.

The Hill’s Julian Pecquet has more on that here.

Prominent wind company adds jobs after 2012 layoffs

A wind turbine maker that laid off hundreds of employees last year as a wind industry credit faced expiration plans to hire more than 100 workers in Colorado.

Nearly three weeks after Congress extended the wind industry incentive in the “fiscal cliff” deal, Vestas Wind System is adding the workers to its Pueblo, Colo., facility.

The Denver Business Journal noted Vestas shed about 600 jobs at its four Colorado manufacturing operations last year.

This post was updated at 10:05 a.m. on January 18

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