OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA committee showdown arrives — unless it doesn't

Spokesmen for Vitter and Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) did not comment Wednesday.


THE REST OF THURSDAY'S AGENDA:

Grid reliability in focus during House hearing

A House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel will address how the changing energy landscape is affecting electric utilities’ ability to prevent power outages.

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Witnesses at the Energy and Power subcommittee hearing will discuss how the influx of electric generation powered by natural gas and renewable energy is affecting their operations.

With the help of state green energy standards and a glut of natural gas driving prices down, those power sources have come online in increasing amounts. That’s displaced coal, which has long been the dominant fuel for electricity.

Witnesses include Gary Sypolt, chief executive of Dominion Energy, who will deliver remarks on behalf of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America; Rob Gramlich, interim chief executive with the American Wind Energy Association; and John Shelk, chief executive with the Electric Power Supply Association.

Click here for more on the 9 a.m. hearing, which will be webcast.

Possible Senate vote on water-infrastructure bill

A bill that would authorize a series of water-infrastructure projects could get a Senate vote Thursday.

The Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), known as WRDA, passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unopposed in March.

It addresses a slate of efforts that includes flood restoration and storm prevention. This year’s version also has an “extreme weather” section, a nod to storms that climate scientists say are increasing intensity because of rising sea levels and warmer waters associated with climate change.

An amendment to the bill approved Wednesday also calls for creating an endowment for conservation and protection of U.S. oceans, the Great Lakes and coasts.

That amendment, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), passed 68-31 — and could foretell WRDA’s Senate chances.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Republicans to huddle Wednesday to mull options on EPA nominee vote
— Senate rejects gun amendment to water infrastructure bill
— Sen. Wyden: 'It's time to vote' on DOE nominee
— Interior’s fracking rules in cross hairs ahead of upcoming release
Energy-efficiency bill clears Senate panel
— Former Rep. Norm Dicks lands at Van Ness Feldman
Utilities push Obama to nix highway tolls for emergency response
— Sen. Baucus pushed to back carbon tax
— Gore: 'There's no such thing as ethical oil'
— Defender of EPA climate rules leaving Justice Dept. 


NEWS BITES:

Acting EPA chief gives Keystone XL review a 'C' grade

The State Department’s draft environmental review of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline left much to be desired, acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Bob Perciasepe said Wednesday.

Perciasepe gave Foggy Bottom’s assessment a “C” grade, saying there was “ample time and ability” to approve the evaluation, according to The Wall Street Journal. He made the comments during a House Appropriations Committee subpanel's hearing on the EPA's budget plan.

The agency hasn’t been generous with its marks on State’s analysis.

In public comments on the draft last month, the EPA objected to the State Department review of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. It called the department’s assessment “insufficient.”

Click here for the full story.

Interior chief prods oil industry

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the oil industry must stop “throwing the regulators under the bus” when things don’t go its way.

Jewell made the comments Wednesday at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivered a blunt message to some of the nation’s top oil industry executives during an inaugural meeting with the group on Wednesday: Don’t cast blame our way.

“I did poke them a little bit about not throwing the regulators under the bus or blaming us when there is actually shared responsibility, perhaps, when something doesn’t move forward,” Jewell said after meeting with the business leaders on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference. “We don’t want to be in the way of development, but we have a job to do protecting the assets of the American people.”

Click here for the rest.


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

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