OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate panel gases up

Green groups are guarded. Some environmentalists told The Hill that each revision — there’s been one iteration of draft rules, which were pulled in January, and some leaks, most recently in February — has contained weaker safeguards than the last.

Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellEx-Interior chief ribs Zinke over ‘secretarial flag’ Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Overnight Energy: Dems take on Trump's chemical safety pick MORE recently pushed back against criticism that the new draft rules would bow to industry pressure.

But Jenny Chang, a spokeswoman with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas campaign, said a meeting last Friday between green groups and Jewell left environmentalists discouraged.

Chang, who wasn’t at the meeting, said those present noted Jewell “strongly advocated for natural gas development” and that environmental groups “would basically need to work with it.”

Environmentalists say strong protections are needed to prevent pollution linked to fracking, a process in which drillers inject a high-pressure mixture of sand, water and chemicals into tight-rock formations to tap hydrocarbons.

The oil-and-gas industry contends the practice is safe. They want the states to continue regulating the drilling method, arguing federal rules would be duplicative.


State Dept. official, senator lead Africa energy forum

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Capitol Hill forum on “Africa’s Emerging Energy Landscape.”

Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsAfter Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Sunday shows preview: Russian charges, Florida shooting dominate coverage MORE (D-Del.), chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, will speak at the event, along with Carlos Pascual, the State Department’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, among others.

An advisory states:

Africa’s energy landscape will change dramatically in the coming decade, as massive new gas finds off the coast of East Africa and a surge of oil exploration across the continent expand the ranks of potential energy producers. The impending energy boom offers major opportunities for investment, growth, and development on the continent. But there are uncertainties around the speed with which new resources can be brought to market and whether African government will avoid the “resource curse” and manage these resources to ensure broad-based, inclusive growth.

Click here for more.

Sen. Murphy on climate change

Freshman Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers feel pressure on guns Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting MORE (D-Conn.) will be a featured speaker at a Tuesday forum on tackling so-called short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons.

“Together, these SLCPs account for one-third of current global warming. Reducing these pollutants can prevent more than 2 million premature deaths a year, avoid the annual loss of over 30 million tons of crops, increase energy security, and address climate change,” states an advisory for the Center for National Policy’s morning event.

Click here for more.

Energy relations between India, US explored

Government officials from both the U.S. and India will discuss ways the two nations can forge stronger energy relationships Tuesday during the U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit.

Speakers include: Daniel Poneman, acting DOE secretary; John Holdren, President Obama’s chief science and technology adviser; and Todd Stern, the State Department’s lead climate change negotiator.

Click here for more on the event, which will be held at the Washington Marriott.

House panel to consider electric grid bill

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider legislation Tuesday that would exempt electric grid operators from environmental laws in certain circumstances.

Supporters say the bill, H.R. 271, would clear up the few instances when utilities are forced to choose between directives to keep power running during emergencies or adhere to environmental laws that would prohibit such action.

For more information on the 4 p.m. mark up, which will be webcast, click here.


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

– Feds warn sequester cuts weakened readiness for wildfire season
– Liberal group calls for Yahoo, LinkedIn executives to quit Zuckerberg’s FWD.us
– Biofuel group taps new communications director
– Hurricane Sandy forced third-most people from homes worldwide in 2012
– UK’s Cameron wants ‘global standard’ on energy payments disclosure
– Electric car chief bails on Zuckerberg group after Keystone, drilling ads
– Panel to try again on EPA nominee


Obama: US can be energy independent in 10 years

President Obama grazed energy and climate policy during remarks Monday at a Democratic fundraiser in New York City.

Per White House transcript, here’s what he said on energy:

"When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years.  And so the idea of the United States being energy independent — which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago — now is actually a possibility."

And climate change:

"We’ve got to deal with climate change in an honest, realistic way. We’re not going to reverse the trends overnight, but we have to start now for the sake of our kids and, in fact, the tools are available to us to make huge strides in the coming years if we make the smart investments. We’ve got to keep on investing in research and development."

Lawmakers seek tougher Iran stance

The Washington Post
reports on calls to get even tougher on Iran’s oil sector.

From the story:

After failing to halt Iran’s nuclear advances with harsh economic sanctions, a group of U.S. lawmakers and analysts is proposing a more drastic remedy: cutting off Iran entirely from world oil markets.

Advocates of the measure say increases in oil and gas production in the Middle East and North America have made it economically feasible to organize the first truly global boycott of Iranian crude.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Transocean intrigue at the very top

The Houston Chronicle
looks at a shakeup at offshore oil rig giant Transocean Ltd.

“The sudden announcement Monday that Transocean’s board chairman plans to retire could be viewed as an acknowledgement that billionaire investor Carl Icahn has the votes to get the incumbent ousted at this week’s contentious annual meeting,” the paper reports.

Or it could mean something else. Check out the story here.

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