OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House climate, energy aide Zichal looks ahead

COMING WEDNESDAY: Heather Zichal, President Obama’s top energy and climate adviser, will look at what’s next for the White House.

She’s speaking Wednesday afternoon at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Check out E2-Wire for coverage tomorrow.

Zichal’s remarks arrive shortly after Obama — in his second inaugural address and State of the Union speech — vowed to make confronting climate change a second-term priority.


Murkowski, Interior nominee to meet amid Alaskan road fight

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is slated to sit down Wednesday with Sally Jewell, the White House nominee to replace outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will formally vet the nominee at a March 7 hearing.

But Wednesday’s meeting is something more than typical nominee-chats-with-senator stuff.

Murkowski has threatened to hold up Jewell's nomination because Interior isn’t allowing a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, a project that Murkowski and other Alaskan officials call vital to healthcare access for a remote village.

Click here for prior coverage.

Bipartisan think tank to unveil major report

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by a quartet of former Senate majority leaders, will roll out a wide-ranging set of energy policy recommendations on Wednesday.

Bloomberg, Chu to highlight ARPA-E summit’s final day

Wednesday brings the final day of the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency annual summit.

And it’s a big one. Speakers will include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and several lawmakers.

Click here for more information.

Sen. Vitter, Rep. Bishop to unveil energy plan

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) will hold a Wednesday press conference to unveil their “Energy Production and Delivery Act of 2013.”

“This legislation would immediately help address the nation’s energy, job, and financial crisis by unleashing domestic energy resources, creating thousands of well-paying jobs, and increasing federal revenues from energy production,” an advisory states.

Vitter is the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Bishop is a high-ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

US Chamber report to allege EPA downplays rules’ impact

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will release a report Wednesday that alleges the Environmental Protection Agency is using fuzzy math when it analyzes how regulations affect employment.

The group is taking aim at “EPA’s oft-repeated claims that regulations create jobs.”

“Anne Smith, senior vice president and environment group co-head of NERA Economic Consulting, will present her analysis on how EPA has gotten it wrong when predicting the real impact of regulations on job creation,” an advisory states.


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

– Dems seek high-level climate meeting with White House
– Centrist Dem: Link Keystone pipeline to efficiency boost
– Electric car executive rules out heading DOE
Senators push Kerry for quick Keystone decision
– White House official: Power grid upgrades needed to mitigate extreme weather
– Oil industry, at White House, makes case against EPA fuels rule


Kerry hints at new climate, energy work with Germany

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Berlin Tuesday that the Obama administration wants to increase climate collaboration with Germany, a nation that has employed aggressive policies to expand renewable power output.

“You think of the engineering skills of Germany. It’s one of the reasons why I want to partner, and I think the president wants to partner, with respect to global climate change, because your technical engineering, innovative skills, which we see in so many different ways, can help us to design some of the alternative and renewable energy production capacity that we need in order to quickly, more rapidly transition from a fossil fuel base to a alternative energy-based world, and we all have to do this,” Kerry said at the “Youth Connect: Berlin” event.

The State Department already has a number of bilateral green energy and climate partnerships with other nations.

Witness: BP prized cutting costs more than safety

BP promoted a culture of saving money that sacrificed safety in the lead-up to its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a witness said Tuesday during the ongoing trial regarding the 2010 disaster.

"There is ample evidence of intense pressure within the system to save time and money. With stress and pressure come sacrifices to safety," said Bob Bea, co-founder of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

Click here for Reuters’s latest update on the federal civil trial.

Sen. Sanders, manufacturing group trade barbs over carbon tax

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took aim Tuesday at a manufacturing industry-backed study that concluded a carbon tax would slow the economy.

“The price that America cannot afford to pay is the price of doing nothing to reverse global warming,” Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders has co-sponsored climate legislation that includes a carbon fee. Read about the bill here.

But the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said the economy could ill-afford such measures. The group released a study Tuesday that said a carbon tax would curtail manufacturing output.

The study, conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, said energy-intensive manufacturing would decline as much as 15 percent, while other sectors would drop 7.7 percent.

“The notion that some policymakers have in Washington that an economy-wide tax of this nature is a good idea is flatly wrong,” NAM CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement.

AFL-CIO stops short of endorsing Keystone

The AFL-CIO’s executive council on Tuesday threw its support behind expanding oil-and-gas pipeline infrastructure — though it did not specifically mention the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

“The AFL-CIO supports the expansion of our pipeline infrastructure and a much more aggressive approach to the repair of our more than 2.5 million miles of existing pipelines,” said a resolution adopted by the labor federation’s executive council.

Many labor unions want Keystone to go forward because it could provide jobs for their members, though some unions oppose the project.

In the adopted resolution, AFL-CIO noted the jobs potential. But it also highlighted the need to address climate change, which is the main reason green groups want President Obama to nix the pipeline.

Chu talks ARPA-E

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has yet to knock any new energy innovations out of the park, but that it’s moving along just fine.

The agency, which received funding in 2009 and has bipartisan support, invests in so-called “high-risk, high-reward” concepts in hopes of striking a technological breakthrough.

“We wanted home runs. Now, after three years, people say, ‘Have there been home runs?’ Well, maybe not, but there’s people rounding second and third base. So it’s looking good,” Chu said Tuesday at ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit.

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

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