OVERNIGHT ENERGY: President Obama shows his cards

COMING WEDNESDAY: The delayed White House fiscal 2014 budget plan.

The budget will likely revive President Obama's fight with Republicans and oil-patch Democrats over petroleum industry tax breaks.

Past budget plans have consistently called for stripping billions of dollars in tax incentives from oil and gas, but Congress hasn’t gone along.

The budget could also put meat on the bones of other White House energy-related plans that Obama has touted in recent months, including his call to steer $2 billion over a decade from offshore oil-and-gas royalties into the development of technologies that wean the transportation sector off oil.

In the afternoon, top officials with the Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will brief reporters.

Watch E2-Wire tomorrow for coverage of the plan's energy and climate change provisions.


Big companies to press Obama on climate

More than 30 companies, including IKEA, Starbucks, Timberland and Ben & Jerry’s, will announce a “100-day campaign urging federal policymakers to take action on climate change,” an advisory states.

“The companies, in coordination with BICEP [Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy], will sign a 'Climate Declaration,' asserting that tackling climate change is one of the greatest American economic opportunities of the 21st century. Throughout the 100-day campaign, other leading businesses will be encouraged to sign the Declaration and join the call to action,” the advisory states.

“BICEP” is a project of Ceres, a group that advocates sustainable business and investment practices.

Canadian official to make climate announcement

Canada’s environment minister Peter Kent will have something to say at a Canadian Embassy press conference Wednesday.

He will “make an announcement regarding international financing for short-lived climate pollutants and Canada’s domestic and international efforts to address climate change,” an advisory states.

... as Alberta's premier presses Keystone case

Alberta Premier Alison Redford will hold meetings in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

She's on a trip to tout her province's environmental policies and seek support for the proposed Keystone pipeline, a big diplomatic priority for Canada's federal government and Alberta officials.

The project is under Obama administration review.

Redford touted TransCanada Corp.'s proposed pipeline during an appearance at the Brookings Institution Tuesday at a time when climate change activists are strongly opposing the project and carbon-intensive oil sands development.

 “The stark choice that Keystone’s opponents have put at the heart of the debate is an illusion,” she said in remarks that noted provincial climate policies.

“They proclaim that either you stand against the oil sands or you write-off the environment along with any hope for sustainable existence. And that is completely wrong,” Redford said.

Protestors interrupted her remarks several times and were taken out by security. One protestor said “climate change means mass casualties” due to floods, famine and drought before he was led away.

It's not yet clear who Redford will meet with on Wednesday.

House panel to promote Keystone pipeline, too

A bill to bypass White House authority to decide the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline’s fate is in focus during a Wednesday House hearing.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy and Power will dive into the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which would remove the need for a State Department permit to construct the project’s northern leg.

The Canada-to-Texas pipeline requires a U.S. permit to cross the border, a decision on which Republicans and centrist Democrats have accused Obama of slow-walking. They want the project to go forward, saying it would provide jobs and expand oil imports from a trusted ally.

The bill is likely to pass the House — but it might not be able to surmount a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Many Democrats oppose the pipeline due to concerns it would increase the carbon-intensive development of Canada's oil sands.

Witnesses include Alex Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines with Keystone builder TransCanada Corp., Anthony Swift, attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and David Mallino Jr., legislative director with the Laborers International Union of North America.

For more on the 10 a.m. hearing, which will be webcast, click here.

Biofuel rule under fire in new House bill

A bipartisan group of lawmakers will detail legislation Wednesday that would change federal requirements for blending corn ethanol into transportation fuel.

Reps. Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteCongressional investigations — not just special counsels — strengthen our democracy How Trump's legal immigration cuts could be a blessing to Dreamers Judiciary Committee Republicans want a second special counsel: report MORE (R-Va.), Steve WomackSteve WomackJockeying begins in race for House Budget gavel Trump reopens fight on internet sales tax Labor chief says he can't snap his fingers and undo Obama rule MORE (R-Ark.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Peter WelchPeter WelchDemocrats see ObamaCare leverage in spending fights Group pushes FDA to act on soy milk labeling petition Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements MORE (D-Vt.) will unveil the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act at a 2:30 p.m. Capitol Hill news conference.

The legislation is one of many bills aimed at changing the biofuel mandate, which requires refiners to mix 36 billion gallons of biofuel into transportation fuel by 2022. 

The biofuel industry is vigorously defending the rule, as it says any tweaks would spook investment in next-generation fuels made from non-edible feedstock.

The lawmakers’ bill is expected to focus on the mandate’s corn-ethanol requirement. Currently, corn ethanol comprises an overwhelming majority of the domestic biofuel market.

An advisory states the bill would “ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, retailers, and the U.S. economy.”


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

— Sen. Cardin: EU oil, mining disclosure rules create unity with US
White House to talk energy with group of House Dems
— DOE nominee mum on carbon tax
— Keystone XL pipeline developer fears White House decision is ‘many months’ away
Summer gas price bite smaller in ’13, feds say
— DOE nominee open to reviewing natural-gas export study
— Green group ads urge vulnerable lawmakers to back EPA pick 


Solar trade group names new communications director

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) tapped Ken Johnson as its new director of communications and marketing on Tuesday.

SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch said in a statement he has “no doubt that (Johnson) will provide much-valued strategic guidance to our growing industry as we undergo a period of exciting and rapid change.”

Johnson most recently served as senior adviser to House subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Chairman Lee Terry (R-Neb.). He was also a long-time aide for former House Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.).

Johnson also was senior vice president of communications and public affairs with PhRMA, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology trade group, between 2005 and 2010.

Earthquake strikes near Iranian nuclear plant

A Tuesday earthquake in Iran killed 37 people and injured more than 850 others, but a larger catastrophe was avoided as a nearby nuclear plant was left unscathed.

The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant escaped damage from the 6.3-magnitude quake, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.

From Reuters:

Tehran has repeatedly rejected safety concerns about Bushehr - built in a highly seismic area - that began operations in September 2011 after decades of delays.

Iran sits on major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which flattened the southeastern city of Bam and killed more than 25,000 people. In August more than 300 people were killed when two quakes struck the northwest.

Read the full story here.

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