OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House hearing looks at fracking, regulations

They say planned federal rules would be duplicative, and that diverse geological characteristics across the country means states are best equipped to oversee fracking.

“[E]xploration and production activities are most effectively regulated at the state level, where highly diverse regional and local conditions are more fully understood and where rules can be tailored to fit the needs of local basins, environments and communities,” Matthew Lepore, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said in written testimony.

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Many Democrats and green groups, however, support the White House’s effort to install rules on federal lands, citing concerns about potential groundwater contamination and methane leaked during fracking.

Some of the witnesses will call for more oversight from the federal government.

"[O]ur state agencies may be ill equipped to do the work needed to properly regulate and enforce natural gas drilling. Strong federal oversight is needed to ensure that state regulatory programs have standards that will protect our citizens from harm,” Democratic North Carolina state Rep. Pricey Harrison said in written testimony.

For more on the 9:30 a.m. hearing, click here.


ALSO COMING FRIDAY:

Dems keep pressing climate case

On Thursday, liberal Senate Democrats made their case for stronger climate policy with a new bill calling for fees on carbon emissions. On Friday, House Democrats will do ... something.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and several colleagues will have a press conference to announce a new “climate change initiative,” an advisory states.

Panel discusses climate change impacts on Mexico

The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars will host a 9 a.m. forum to explore a new report on the effects environmental change could have on Mexican migration.

From an advisory:

"Models predict increasing temperatures, decreasing precipitation, and a growing number of extreme weather events. While the decision of an individual to migrate is a result of many factors, the effects of climate-induced migration may be significant as institutions and infrastructure come under increasing strain."

For more on the event, which will be webcast, click here.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Senate Dems' sequester-replacement plan ends tar sands exemption
— GOP bills target ‘overreaching’ EPA
— Sen. Boxer hopes to bring climate legislation to floor by summer
— Major report adds climate change to ‘high risks’ facing US government
— Ambassador: US wants more Canadian ‘progress’ on climate


NEWS BITES:

McCain ‘grateful’ for SOTU climate shout-out

President Obama’s State of the Union speech reminded Republicans of past bipartisanship on climate change by name-checking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Obama called on Congress to pass a bill akin to the cap-and-trade plan that McCain, his former rival for the presidency, sponsored years ago. And McCain was fine with it.

“Always grateful,” McCain told reporters Thursday when asked about the mention.

“I know the president feels strongly about it and that he wanted to point out that there was bipartisan support at one time. I understand that. That’s all I make of it,” McCain said in the Capitol.

But whether McCain will jump back into the fray on climate remains to be seen.

“I have always been wiling to sit down and talk about climate change, but I am not interested in laying increased taxes on the American people,” he told reporters.

Obama, in the speech, said that if Congress doesn’t act, he will launch new initiatives using his executive powers. Major climate legislation remains highly unlikely to move in Congress.

Coastal GOP govs press Interior nominee on drilling

A trio of Republican governors from coastal states are pressing Sally Jewell, Obama’s nominee for Interior secretary, to rethink Interior’s opposition to oil-and-gas drilling off the East Coast.

Interior’s 2012-2017 offshore leasing plan offers tracts in the Gulf of Mexico and, in the later years, off Alaska’s coast. But it does not sell drilling blocs off the East Coast even though formal bans lapsed in 2008.

“Over the past several years, a number of governors have expressed an interest in reforming offshore energy policy so that states can safely and prudently take advantage of abundant offshore resources. During your nomination hearings, we will be listening intently to your answers regarding energy exploration off the coasts of our states and hope you will signal your willingness to revise the Administration’s current policy to one that is committed to safely harnessing our coast’s vast natural resources,” states a new letter to Jewell from the governors of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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

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