OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Conservatives, industry strike back on carbon and oil taxes

On Tuesday, several Democrats including Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) — the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee — floated a draft bill to impose carbon taxes on big industrial emissions sources.

It follows a separate emissions-fee proposal from Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The anti-carbon tax event will feature Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), other lawmakers and groups including American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the American Energy Alliance, Heritage Action and others.

Oil group fights to save tax incentives: In a separate briefing Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute will announce new efforts to ensure its tax incentives are protected in fiscal policy negotiations.

The group, which is the oil-and-gas industry’s largest trade association, will announce a new TV ad campaign.

The White House and many Democrats have for years been pushing to strip the petroleum industry’s ability to claim several tax deductions, calling them a multibillion-dollar taxpayer handout to an industry that doesn’t need it.

But industry officials and their allies have beaten back the efforts thus far. They say that higher taxes on energy producers would slow what has been booming oil-and-gas production, harm job creation and unfairly single out their industry.


House Science Committee debates federal energy subsidies

Federal energy subsidies will go under the microscope during a Wednesday House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on Energy hearing.

The hearing will dive into the costs and benefits of providing financial assistance — such as tax credits, loan guarantees and research and development spending — for energy.

Witnesses are Terry Dinan, senior analyst with the Congressional Budget Office; Mary Hutzler, distinguished senior fellow with the Institute for Energy Research; and Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president of policy and government affairs with Advanced Energy Economy.

For more on the 3 p.m. hearing, click here.

Interior, California to make ‘significant announcement’ on renewables

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) will officially expand a state and federal partnership Wednesday that has spurred utility-scale solar projects in California.

The partnership has sparked more than a dozen large California solar projects through the past four years, according to Interior. About one-third of the state’s 15,000 megawatts of renewable power come from public lands.

Obama to huddle with House Republicans

President Obama will continue his three-day series of meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers by huddling with the House Republican Conference.

The White House has listed energy among the topics that could surface in the meetings this week.

Venezuela’s oil, post-Chávez

The U.S. Energy Security Council will host a briefing Wednesday about what comes next for Venezuela’s oil industry after the death of President Hugo Chávez.

The main speaker will be Gustavo Coronel, who was a founding member of the Board of Venezuela’s national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and was elected to the Venezuelan Congress in 1998 before it was dissolved in 1999 following Chavez’s rise to power, an advisory states.

China and climate change in focus

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host an event titled “China’s Climate Challenge.”

“Dr. Xuedu Lu, Advisor on Climate Change at the Asian Development Bank will discuss China’s actions to mitigate climate change today, the future outlook of such policies, and its implications for international efforts,” an advisory states.

More info is here.


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

— Canadian opposition leader: Government playing US 'for fools' on Keystone

— Democrats circulate carbon tax bill

— Obama: Climate change threatens shipping routes

— Republican wants details on offshore-drilling corruption unit 


Green groups to Obama: Block natural-gas exports

Environmental groups sent a letter to President Obama asking him to wait for more thorough analysis before allowing a major expansion of natural-gas exports.

The Energy Department is weighing an array of industry applications to export liquefied natural gas.

Green groups and some Democrats worry rapidly expanding exports could raise domestic energy prices and encourage more of the controversial drilling method known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.

Fracking critics say the method is putting groundwater at risk, among other pollution concerns, while industry groups say fracking is safe.

Letter signatories included the Center for International Environmental Law, Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Earthworks, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.

Japan looks to methane hydrates, with climate fears in tow

The Washington Post explores efforts by energy-thirsty Japan to develop methane hydrates, a potentially massive supply of natural gas if it can he harvested.

Japanese officials announced a breakthrough that could lead to large-scale development of the subsea resource — eventually.

“The Japanese government says that it’s still five years away from commercial extraction of natural gas from methane hydrates. The drilling process itself is still tricky and expensive. But if Japan figures out how to unlock these hydrates, it could have huge implications for both energy and climate change,” the Post notes in its primer on the topic.

Click here for the whole thing.

Dunkin’ Donuts looks for sustainable oil

National Public Radio reports on the coffee and doughnut chain’s efforts to move to sustainably source palm oil after pressure from a New York State official.

Palm oil production has helped drive deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia.

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