Week ahead: House set to approve construction of Keystone XL pipeline

Republicans, centrist Democrats, business groups and some unions that back the project have accused Obama of dragging his feet on Keystone.

They say the pipeline would create construction jobs and strengthen United States energy security.

Democrats and green groups, meanwhile, contend a sizable amount of the crude transported through Keystone is destined for export. They also have questioned supporters’ jobs claims, and say the pipeline would accelerate climate change by encouraging oil sands production.

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Elsewhere on the Hill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold its second natural gas “roundtable” on Tuesday — this time on exports.

The discussion comes after the Energy Department approved a second project to export natural gas to nations that lack a free-trade agreement with the U.S. That subject has been a flashpoint in the natural gas debate.

Witnesses include: Adam Sieminski, administrator with the U.S. Energy Information Administration; Cal Dooley, president of the American Chemistry Council; and a yet-to-be-named DOE official.

But that’s not all for the committee’s roundtables this week.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will dominate the committee’s Thursday session on natural gas.

Expect draft federal fracking rules released last week by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to surface.

Witnesses include: Marc Edwards, senior vice president of completion and production with Halliburton; Mark Brownstein, associate vice president and chief counsel of the U.S. climate and energy program with the Environmental Defense Fund; and a currently unannounced BLM official.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will unveil its first-ever global water-management strategy on Tuesday.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) and USAID administrator Rajiv Shah will be on hand for the announcement.

An advisory states that the “strategy will address global water-related development needs by providing a clear understanding of USAID's approach to water programming, emphasizing how sustainable use of water is critical to saving lives.”

Also Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will discuss cybersecurity at a 10 a.m. hearing.

And Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) will offer his advice on how to best manage state and federal land in the context of energy development on Tuesday.

Herbert, who chairs the Western Governors’ Association, will deliver his remarks before the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations.

And on Thursday, the House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on Environment will explore how to restore “U.S. Leadership in Weather Forecasting.”

Off the Hill, the Energy Efficiency Global Forum commences Monday at the Washington Convention Center.

The two-day conference convenes federal officials, advocacy groups and the private sector to hash out the direction of energy efficiency policy and technology.

Speakers include: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.); Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.); Navy Secretary Ray Mabus; Carlos Pascual, special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs with the State Department; and Holmes Hummel, senior adviser with the office of the undersecretary for energy at the DOE.

A Tuesday discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation addresses the nexus of property rights and distribution of oil revenues.

Todd Moss, vice president for programs and a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development, and Francisco Ferreira, lead economist of the development research group at the World Bank, will speak.

—  This story was updated at 10:20 a.m.