OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama’s energy pick to face Senate

Republicans or conservative Democrats could ask about carbon regulations they oppose and the amount of federal lands made available for drilling, even though neither topic is under Energy Department jurisdiction. (DOE, despite its name, lacks control over big swaths of U.S. energy policy.)

The Institute for Energy Research, a conservative group that receives fossil energy industry funding, has a wish-list of questions here, and some of them could show up in some form.

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Elsewhere, the struggles of the DOE-backed automaker Fisker Automotive could be a jumping-off point for questions about DOE loan programs.

From the left, Moniz’s past work with big oil companies — he has consulted for BP, and the MIT energy group is industry-backed — could draw scrutiny Tuesday.

Environmentalists have also been concerned about his support for expanded natural-gas development enabled by fracking.

Check E2-Wire Tuesday for coverage of the 10 a.m. hearing.


THE REST OF TUESDAY'S BIG EVENTS:

Alberta Premier Redford to make the case for Keystone

Alberta Premier Alison Redford will promote the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline during an appearance at the Brookings Institution.
 
She will talk about Keystone pipeline as part of a broader discussion on the U.S.-Canada energy relationship.

Officials from Alberta and the Canadian federal government are making a strong diplomatic push for Obama administration approval of the pipeline.

E2-Wire caught up with Redford during her February visit to D.C.

Group will say enviro message helps win elections

The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund will make the case that green candidates are successful at the ballot box.

The group will release a report called “Running Clean” that’s a “a roadmap for how candidates can and did win on the issues of clean energy, protecting the environment and public health, and conserving our natural resources.”

Several candidates backed by various environmental groups, such as Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), won in November.

The event will feature video testimonials from several green group-backed senators who won in swing states.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Monday and over the weekend ...  

White House engaging lawmakers on energy tax code issues
Schwarzenegger: Federal climate report a ‘wake-up call’
— Greenhouse gas rules will be enacted soon, says Obama aide
— Ethanol industry seeks toned-down renewable fuel goals
— Poll: Fear of global warming rising in US
— Foreign firms doubling down on US shale investment
India seeks access to US natural gas
— The week ahead: Energy, EPA picks face lawmakers
Keystone pipeline fight heats up as foes look to rally Democratic donors


NEWS BITES:

Energy giants partner for Arctic drilling venture

Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell are partnering for an offshore Arctic drilling operation, The Associated Press said Monday, citing reports by Russian media.

The Russian and Dutch energy giants will combine to develop oil fields in the Chukchi and Pechora seas in the Russian Arctic. Shell is likely to have a 33.3 percent stake in the fields, AP said, citing the Russian reports.

Shell recently put a “pause” to its Arctic drilling program off Alaska’s coast after a series of blunders. It said it plans to eventually drill in that region, though green groups want the firm to permanently exit the area.

From AP:

Russia is trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas. By speeding up the Arctic oil project, the Kremlin is strengthening its bid.

Lawmakers introduce bill to change corn-ethanol mandate

A bipartisan group of lawmakers will introduce legislation Wednesday to change a biofuel-blending mandate that's facing increasing Capitol Hill scrutiny.

Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) will introduce the “Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act” at the event.

The rule requires refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels into traditional transportation fuel by 2022.

Most of those gallons currently come from corn ethanol, which the lawmakers say raises corn prices by dedicating crops for fuel rather than food. Their bill would tweak that segment of the rule.

The biofuels industry, however, rejects the “food versus fuel” argument. They say a large portion of the corn gets recycled into animal feed, and that drought — not the biofuel rule — caused corn price spikes last summer.


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

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