The week ahead: House turns to pipeline politics, Obama budget

Off Capitol Hill, the White House’s top climate aide will continue a spurt of activity as she tries to drum up support for Obama’s energy priorities.

Heather Zichal will headline a climate policy event on Monday hosted by the Brookings Institution and the Climate Policy Initiative.

Zichal is promoting several of the president’s legislative goals from the White House’s 2014 budget proposal, including a $200 million competitive state grant program for energy efficiency and a $2 billion “Energy Security Trust” for alternative fuel and vehicle research.

Also off the Hill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver remarks at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference.

The event, held at the Gaylord National Resort outside Washington, runs Monday through Wednesday and focuses on next-generation biofuels made from non-edible feedstock.

Obama’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could give some clues about where the administration is headed on emissions regulations during a speech in San Francisco.

Gina McCarthy, who heads the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, will address the Navigating the American Carbon World forum.

Elsewhere, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) lead a list of speakers at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference, which will be held Tuesday through Thursday.

The Washington Hilton plays host to the event. Other speakers included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, an environmentalist who has pledged to wade into congressional campaigns.

A panel will release its second “report card” Wednesday on the federal implementation of offshore drilling regulations following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Oil Spill Commission Action (OSCA) will evaluate federal progress on applying the recommendations from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and William Reilly, who was EPA chief under President George H.W. Bush, are co-chairmen of OSCA and will present the findings.

Federal wind incentives will be on trial during a Wednesday hearing by a House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee.

The hearing follows on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that identified duplicative federal programs for wind energy. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the committee, said the report calls federal wind subsidies into question.

Witnesses will include Frank Rusco, director of natural resources and the environment with the GAO, and Robert Gramlich, interim chief executive with the American Wind Energy Association.

Lawmakers will spend considerable time next week diving into the White House’s budget proposal.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday will examine the president’s request for the U.S. Forest Service. Thomas Tidwell, the U.S. Forest Service Chief, will testify.

On Thursday, the full House Science, Space and Technology Committee will review the proposed budget for science agencies. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will represent the White House at that hearing.

Also Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will take a look at the Energy Department’s budget as proposed by the White House.