OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Climate advocates seek post-SOTU momentum, House looks at energy costs

Witnesses will include attorney and energy economist Gene Trisko, who prepares analyses from a coal industry group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

He’ll make the case that Environmental Protection Agency air pollution regulations are driving up consumer electricity costs.

On the motor fuels side of things, a representative of another fossil energy-affiliated group, the Institute for Energy Research, will allege the Obama administration places too many areas off-limits to drilling and that refiners face burdensome regulations.

But Daniel J. Weiss of the liberal Center for American Progress plans to tell the panel that overall energy costs as a share of family income are down slightly since 2008, and that gasoline prices are tethered to global crude oil market factors beyond U.S. control.

“Fortunately, the Obama administration has adopted essential programs to help families and businesses reduce their energy expenditures. This includes investments in energy efficiency, vehicle fuel economy, and clean, renewable electricity — none of which are subject to price volatility experienced by fossil fuels,” his prepared testimony states. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Wednesday and late Tuesday night after the State of the Union ...

– Hydropower bill sails through House
– Obama and Murkowski back green tech cash – with one huge difference
– Keystone pipeline protesters arrested at White House
– House GOP to put wind power credit under microscope
– Top Republican to Obama: Don’t bypass Congress on climate
– House GOP lawmakers cool on Obama 'Energy Trust' proposal
– Obama floats 'Energy Security Trust' in State of the Union address
– In address, a pledge to fight global warming


NEWS BITES:

API poll: Voters want Keystone XL

Sixty-nine percent of registered voters favor building the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, according to an American Petroleum Institute (API)-backed poll released Wednesday.

“The Keystone XL wraps new American jobs and energy security into a single common sense package. That’s why voters overwhelmingly back it, and that’s why the nation needs it and why the administration should approve it,” API CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement.

Of the 1,001 respondents, 83 percent said the pipeline would bolster energy security, and 92 percent said jobs should be a factor when considering the project.

The pipeline would bring oil from Canadian oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.

The respondents said they either supported or opposed the pipeline in response to a question that began, “Canada has 170 billion barrels of oil underground. A pipeline — the Keystone XL pipeline — has been proposed to help bring more of that Canadian oil into the U.S. for use in American refineries.”

The poll, which was conducted by Harris Interactive between Feb. 5 and Feb. 10, carried a 3 percent margin of error.

Stimulus funded leisure for battery company workers

Not the finest hour for the 2009 stimulus law. The Washington Post reports:

The Energy Department gave $150 million in economic recovery act funds to a battery company, LG Chem Michigan, which has yet to manufacture cells used in any vehicles sold to the public and whose workers passed time watching movies, playing board, card and video games or volunteering for animal shelters and community groups.

Those are the conclusions of a report released Wednesday morning by Energy Department Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman, who said that the grant to a subsidiary of South Korean giant LG “had not been managed effectively.”

Check out the whole story here.

Duke Energy CEO says utilities must revamp business model

Outgoing Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said Wednesday that the utility is prepared for a slowdown in energy demand growth, adding, “Our industry is going to have to change its cost structure.”

The Associated Press reported the comments by Rogers, which came after the utility surpassed earnings expectations. The Charlotte, N.C.-based firm earned $435 million in net income in the fourth quarter.


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

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