OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOE, EPA nominees in focus

Graham said he’s had “good collaborations” with the White House on the fate of nuclear fuel program. “I’ve got their attention and we will see where this goes,” he said.


THE REST OF WEDNESDAY'S AGENDA:

As fracking rule looms, Jewell to face Senate

New Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will appear before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

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She could face questions on upcoming Interior draft rules to govern hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil-and-gas development method, when it occurs on federal and Indian lands.

This rules are expected to surface soon, perhaps this week.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said his staff met with Interior staff Tuesday to discuss the rules.

Wyden called the discussions “very preliminary,” touching on “what’s ahead, potential timetable” and other topics.

Governance in resource-rich countries in focus

Corruption and governance in states flush with oil, gas and mineral resources will be explored at a Wednesday event hosted by the Brookings Institution.

The discussion revolves around the release of the Revenue Watch Institute’s Resource Governance Index, which covers 58 countries.

From an advisory:

Trillions of dollars in resources lie buried in the backyards of many of the world’s poorest citizens. Oil, gas and minerals can, if managed effectively and accountably, stimulate economic development. Too often, however, secrecy, corruption and weak institutions obstruct this path.

Panelists include Carlos Pascual, special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, and Daniel Kaufmann, president of the Revenue Watch Institute and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings.

Click here for more info on the 10 a.m. event.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— Senate advances amendments to water infrastructure bill
— Reports: Turkey, ExxonMobil strike Iraqi oil deal
— Senate energy chief seeks May floor action for efficiency bill
— Court: 'No merit' to environmental challenge of nuclear plant
— Bill calls for increased US oil production to displace Iranian oil
— Acting DOE chief: US not backing down on Indian solar practices
— Visiting Sweden, Kerry offers ‘regret’ that US hasn’t done more on climate
— Report: Obama officials giving wind farms a pass on eagle deaths 


QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“I'm sure we're going to break every Broadway record.”

— Todd Stern, lead climate negotiator for the State Department, on “long-running” international climate talks during U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit in Washington, D.C.


NEWS BITES:

Senate Dem: Avoiding party-line vote on EPA pick is key

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said Thursday’s looming Environment and Public Works Committee vote on the White House nominee for Environmental Protection Agency chief will be a barometer of her fate on the Senate floor.

“I think if we can move [Gina McCarthy] through committee without doing just a straight party-line vote, then we have a much better chance on the floor,” Carper, a member of the panel, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday.

He said getting one or two GOP members to back McCarthy for EPA administrator would make full Senate confirmation “a whole lot easier.”

Republicans refused to show up for last week’s committee vote, which was scuttled because Democrats couldn’t get a quorum. Democrats hope to have all their members Thursday, ensuring a vote.

As for the Republicans, committee ranking member David Vitter (R-La.) met Tuesday with Acting EPA Administrator Robert Perciasepe to discuss the GOP’s push for more “transparency” from the agency.

"My meeting with EPA this afternoon was productive. We discussed Republicans' 5 key transparency requests [again]. They'll be getting back to us on those late tomorrow, and that will determine Republican EPW members' approach to Thursday's scheduled mark-up,” Vitter said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Energy agency bullish on North American oil

North American shale oil production will be the strongest source of global supply growth over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Tuesday.

“The supply shock created by a surge in North American oil production will be as transformative to the market over the next five years as was the rise of Chinese demand over the last 15,” the IEA said in a statement about its Medium-Term Oil Market Report.

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven credited technological advances in drilling, such as hydraulic fracturing, for the boom. She said that technology will soon be applied elsewhere, “potentially leading to a broad reassessment of reserves.”

Read an overview of the report here.

Oil firms’ offices raided by European authorities

European investigators searched offices for oil giants Shell, BP and Statoil in a probe involving potential oil price manipulation.

From Reuters:

On Tuesday, the European Commission said it was investigating major oil companies over suspected anti-competitive agreements related to submission of prices to leading oil pricing agency Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Group.

"Officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in and providing services to the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors," the Commission said. The inspections took place in two EU member states and one non-EU country, it said.

Read it all here.

GOP senators slam White House on alleged wind farm eagle deaths

Republican Sens. David Vitter (La.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) said Tuesday that the Obama administration is selectively targeting oil-and-gas producers for Endangered Species Act violations.

The senators’ accusations come on the heels of an Associated Press report that said the White House exempted wind farms from penalties for killing golden eagles and other birds.

“The Administration is clearly hand-picking which migratory bird mortality cases to pursue with an obvious preference to go after oil and gas producers," Vitter said in a statement.


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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