OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Keystone pipeline takes center stage at House hearing

“This agreement has significant mutual opportunities for both the United States and Mexican economies through the development of oil and gas reservoirs that cross the international maritime boundary between the U.S. and Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.


THE REST OF THURSDAY'S AGENDA

Environmental, energy IGs face Congress

A House subpanel will hear Thursday from the internal watchdogs at the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department.

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They will appear before the Oversight subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Click here for more information.

House panel to hear from top Energy Department officials

A subpanel of the House Appropriations Committee will hear from a trio of senior Energy Department officials during a budget hearing on Thursday.

The witnesses are Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Pete Lyons and Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Christopher Smith.

House hearing to delve into energy production's effect

The potential economic and jobs impact opening more federal lands to oil-and-gas development will get a look during a Thursday House Natural Resources subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing.

Opening more public lands to drilling is a key component of the House GOP budget plan unveiled Tuesday.

Republicans say opening more federal lands to drilling will increase federal revenues and create jobs, while advocates of existing restrictions say that oil-and-gas companies have access to ample acreage.

Witnesses include Don Shilling, president of General Equipment & Supplies Inc., and Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and director of climate strategy with the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

For more on the hearing, click here.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Obama: Pipeline decision coming soon

— Chairman of DOE-backed electric car firm resigns

— Oil-and-gas lobby starts ad campaign defending tax breaks 


NEWS BITES:

Interior greenlights large-scale green power projects

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced Wednesday that three utility-scale renewable-energy projects on federal lands cleared their last regulatory hurdles.

Two solar projects in California and a wind farm in Nevada got the formal OK from Interior. Together, they could generate enough energy to power 340,000 homes, Interior said in a statement.

Click here, here and here for more information from the Interior Department.

Wind energy increases share of state electricity portfolios

A wind energy trade group said Wednesday wind power supplied more that 10 percent of the electricity in nine states last year.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said that marked a major increase from 2011, when five states got at least 10 percent of their power from wind.

AWEA said it expected to continue those gains in future years. The group said the U.S. added a record 13,124 megawatts of wind power capacity last year, accounting for 42 percent of all new electric capacity.

Rail transport sees gains from oil boom

The increase in North American energy production has buoyed rail companies that are now valuable sources for transporting oil.

Bottlenecks in existing pipeline infrastructure have forced oil producers to look elsewhere to get crude to market. The rail industry has proven a willing partner, experiencing a 9.1-percent jobs boost since the end of 2009 as a result, according to Bloomberg.

From Bloomberg:

Crude oil shipments by rail jumped 256% in 2012 to a record 233,811 carloads, or 167 million barrels, the Association of American Railroads said Feb. 21. That’s equivalent to more than 7% of U.S. production, up from 2.3% in 2011, according to AAR and Energy Department data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read the full story here.

Illinois House Speaker supports fracking moratorium

As the Illinois state legislature considers a widely supported bill to allow hydraulic fracturing, its powerful House Speaker said he supports a moratorium on the controversial drilling method.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said the method dubbed "fracking" is unsafe and needs more study, according to The Associated Press. His comments earned the praise of some environmental groups.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is touting the state's proposed fracking bill — which many say would establish the nation's strictest regulations — as a jobs bill.

Read the full story here.


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