OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Green tech loans face new GOP scrutiny

And click here, here and here for recent E2-Wire coverage of Fisker.

THE REST OF WEDNESDAY’S AGENDA:

Keystone XL battle flares with officials’ visit ...  

The proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline will be high on the agenda when Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver speaks at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Wednesday.

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Officially, the discussion is on the energy relationship between the United States and Canada. The debate on the proposed Keystone pipeline has dominated that topic of late.

Oliver and other top officials from Canada's federal government and Alberta's provincial government have made repeated trips to Washington, D.C., for meetings to make the case for Keystone.

The pipeline would bring oil sands from Alberta down to refineries in the Gulf Coast. But pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. needs a permit from the Obama administration to complete Keystone’s northern leg, as it crosses national borders.

For more on the event, click here.

... and House committee action

The House Natural Resources Committee will mark up its portion of legislation to approve the Keystone pipeline.

The main part of the GOP-led bill — which has support from some conservative Democrats — has already cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

EPA plans, budget in focus

A Senate Appropriations Committee panel will hear from Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Bob Perciasepe about the EPA’s fiscal 2014 budget plan.

The White House budget request would provide $8.2 billion for the agency, which is a 3.5 percent cut.

EPA watchers will be looking for clues about how the agency plans to proceed on several hot-button topics, including power plant carbon standards.

Interior chief to tout hybrid car plans

Newly minted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will tout the agency’s efforts to go green on Wednesday. From an Interior advisory:

On Wednesday, April 24, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini will announce that Interior will be the first federal agency to update its federal fleet with hybrid vehicles as part of GSA’s new initiative to replace an aging federal fleet with hybrid vehicles.

Interior and GSA will partner to replace up to 300 gasoline and alternative fueled vehicles with hybrids. This will replace nearly a third of the vehicles owned by the Department under consideration.

Lawmakers to unveil renewable energy finance bill

A bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers will revive companion bills designed to spur renewable energy development through a change to the federal tax code.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) will formally reintroduce the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act during a Wednesday news conference.

The legislation would extend master limited partnerships to renewable energy projects. The financing mechanism is currently available only to oil-and-gas projects.

Master limited partnerships are arrangements that are taxed like a partnership, but whose interests are traded like a stock. That spreads the cost among more investors, bringing the cost of capital down.

E2-Wire has more on the bill here.

A look at energy tax policy battles

Politico is hosting a Wednesday morning briefing with experts and lawmakers titled “The Energy Sector and the Implications of Tax Policy.”

Click here for more.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

Solar trade group adds federal affairs staffer
— US walks back sanctions talk after Venezuela threatens to cut oil exports
— Court rejects challenge to EPA pollution rules
— Sen. Graham puts hold on Energy nominee
Court backs EPA veto of mountaintop mining project
— Senate Dems press court to reverse ruling on speculation caps
— Baucus retirement could shake up Senate Energy Committee
— Former IEA chief heads to think tank
Steven Chu has left the building
— Energy Dept. recoups $21M from struggling green automaker


NEWS BITES:

Hagan, Crapo float bill removing EPA regs

Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced legislation Tuesday that would eliminate some Environmental Protection Agency rules on pesticides.

Dubbed the Sensible Environmental Protection Act, the bill would remove a requirement that farmers obtain a Clean Water Act permit for pesticides used in or near water.

“This bill is not about whether pesticides should be regulated, but rather about eliminating a redundant regulation that provides little or no environmental or public health benefits, and imposes unnecessary burdens on our farmers, states and municipalities and other entities that use pesticides responsibly,” Hagan said in a statement.

Other bill co-sponsors include Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), David Vitter (R-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

GOP attorneys general sound alarm on EPA transparency

A handful of state attorneys general raised concerns Tuesday about transparency at the Environmental Protection Agency in light ongoing confirmation proceedings for Gina McCarthy, who heads the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, to lead the agency.

The attorneys general, who spoke out as members of the State Government Leadership Foundation, questioned the EPA’s use of separate, internal email accounts.

"We urge Gina McCarthy to reverse the closed-door tactics of the previous Administrator when it comes to data and science that directly affect EPA rules and regulations that in turn, our states have to implement," Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement that included attorneys general from Oklahoma, Montana and North Dakota.

The EPA has defended its use of the emails. It says the practice dates back at least a decade, and that it hands over all correspondence through those accounts in public records requests.

UN climate chief hopeful on global accord

The Associated Press reports that the United Nations’s top climate official sees the glass half-full when it comes to striking a global emissions deal. From their story:

Governments are more serious and the impact of climate change is more dramatic, improving chances of a groundbreaking global warming pact in 2015 in contrast with the failure of such an effort in 2009, the U.N. climate chief said Tuesday.

The climate change talks in Copenhagen were a resounding failure, setting back the movement to control global warming. Even so, the U.N. official, Christiana Figueres, is optimistic, though she admits the world needs to step up its efforts to meet its goals.

Click here for the whole thing.


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

Follow E2 on Twitter: @E2Wire, @Ben_Geman, @zcolman

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