OVERNIGHT ENERGY: GOP ramps up Keystone pressure, Murkowski’s travel report, and more


E2-Wire previewed her visit to Japan here.

GOP boosts pipeline pressure: Republicans — and some Democrats — are again ramping up calls for federal approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, seizing on the Nebraska governor’s approval of a revised route through the state.

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Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will lead a press conference Wednesday afternoon calling for a federal permit for Keystone.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), a strong advocate of the proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refiners, will appear on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” at 8:20 a.m. Wednesday to tout the project.

Terry is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Republicans are mulling more legislation to require a federal permit for Keystone.

Those bills haven’t gained Senate traction, but have served as a political rallying point for pipeline advocates.

Dem Sens. Boxer, Wyden look forward: The Democratic chairmen of the Senate's Environment and Energy panels talked up their plans in separate remarks to reporters Tuesday.

Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) predicted that he'll have room to maneuver that his predecessor atop the panel didn't. 

“There has been an election, and what I have been especially struck by ... is the number of senators who have just come up and said ‘we really have got to get going on energy again. It seems like everything has been stalled out,’ ” he said.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) offered a peek at her climate strategy as well.

A big climate bill is highly unlikely to move in Congress, but she wants to protect EPA's power to move ahead with new emissions regulations under its current powers.

“I think Sandy was a turning point in terms of the public’s sense of the extent of damage that climate change can do to this country,” Boxer told reporters Tuesday. “A lot of people don’t recognize that EPA has huge authority here to reduce carbon in the air.”


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Nebraska approves Keystone pipeline, leaving fate of project in Obama’s hands
— Consumers herald new mine safety rule
— Bipartisan support moves hydropower bill
— Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to EPA pollution rule
— Ex-Sen. Ben Nelson heads to K Street
— UN secretary-general puts climate deal atop to-do list
— Poll shows country split on climate change
— Obama’s green team: He really meant it 


NEWS BITES:

Whitfield: House energy panel could tweak biofuel mandate ...

A Republican leader on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said the panel could consider changes to the federal biofuels mandate.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), who chairs the Energy and Power subcommittee, does not expect the panel to try and outright repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires increasing amounts of ethanol and other biofuels in the nation's motor fuel supply.

But he said the committee plans to hold several hearings on the mandate, noting opposition to the rule from some lawmakers and lobby groups.

“The objective is to hear from everyone and just see what we can do to make it more effective and productive than it already is,” Whitfield said Tuesday during a briefing with reporters.

... and will seek common ground with Senate

Whitfield said he is encouraged by communication with leaders of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Whitfield and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) have met with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), he said.

“I can remember many Congresses in the U.S. that I’ve been in serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee — we never met with any senator at all on anything. So I think it’s encouraging that we sat down and already had a meeting,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield noted "philosophical differences on energy issues" exist, but said the lawmakers possess some common legislative interests. Those include advancing energy efficiency measures and reducing permitting periods for some energy projects.

Cooperation would be a departure from the last Congress, when the GOP-led House Energy and Environment panels and their Democratic-led counterparts found almost nothing to agree on.

FERC, Deutsche Bank settle manipulation charges

Federal regulators and Deutsche Bank AG agreed to a $1.5 million civil settlement Tuesday for power market manipulation charges in California.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also required the bank to return “unjust profits” of $172,645, Reuters reported.

Deutsche Bank did not admit nor deny the charges, the wire service reported.

From Reuters:

The Deutsche Bank action is part of a larger effort by FERC to target electricity trading schemes reminiscent of the market manipulations by Enron and others that led to the California energy crisis more than a decade ago.

FERC has also proposed a record $470 million fine on Barclays Plc for allegedly manipulating power markets in California and a six-month ban on JPMorgan Chase & Co's energy trading arm from some U.S. power markets.

Group seeking LNG export limits adds muscle

The chemical company Huntsman Corp. is joining a coalition of manufacturers that wants to restrict liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

The Woodlands, Texas-based firm joined America’s Energy Advantage on Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The new group is led by Dow Chemical and several other big manufacturing and chemical companies. They've broken over the issue with big industrial trade groups that are more supportive of exports.

Huntsman and its partners in the new coalition warn that sending too much LNG abroad would raise domestic natural-gas prices, harming gas-consuming industries.

But export backers contend the price rises would be modest, and trumped by the net economic benefits from exporting.


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