OVERNIGHT ENERGY: The biofuel debate goes to Washington

Among the rule’s detractors are the oil-and-gas industry, livestock and poultry groups and some environmental organizations that oppose corn ethanol.

Opponents argue the rule’s blending targets are accelerating too quickly. They say refiners must then either churn out gasoline with higher ethanol concentrations or purchase renewable fuel credits.

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But the biofuel industry contends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which manages the rule, has plenty of flexibility to adjust its targets.

Witnesses include Jack Gerard, president and chief executive with the American Petroleum Institute; Jeremy Martin, senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ clean vehicles program; and Lucian Pugliaresi, president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

Click here for more on the 10 a.m. hearing.


ALSO WEDNESDAY:

Coal ash bill gets a look

A House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel will mark up legislation that would hand most of the responsibility for regulating coal ash, a byproduct from coal-fired power plants, to states.

Rep. David McKinley’s (R-W.Va.) bill would attempt to get out in front of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) impending decision on whether to regulate coal ash as a hazardous material. McKinley says that would cost thousands of jobs, as the material is widely used in the construction industry.

The bill would create minimum federal standards for coal ash while letting states handle regulations and permitting.

Click here for more on the 4 p.m. markup, which will be webcast.

Vilsack talks climate change

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will discuss how the agency is tackling environmental issues and climate change at a Wednesday event.

The Agriculture Department has doubled its climate research funding in recent years. It also has removed barriers for multi-cropping and cover-cropping, which help prevent soil erosion and conserve water.

Click here for more on the 1 p.m. National Press Club event, which will also be webcast.

Energy development on tribal lands in focus

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will host a Wednesday roundtable to consider legislative proposals for allowing energy production on tribal lands.

Click here for more on the 1 p.m. event.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— House panel erupts over Endangered Species Act debate

— House GOP bill would cut EPA out of coal ash regulation

— Oil and gas lobby says State Department considering Keystone hearing

— Oil and gas industry steps up ethanol fuel fight at Supreme Court

— Interior Dept. plans for offshore wind leases draw GOP fire

— Report: Obama appointees using secret email accounts

Fueling the future


NEWS BITES:

Sen. Wyden prods feds on wildfire management

Federal agencies need to focus more on the preventive front of wildfire management in a time of restricted budgets, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said at a Tuesday Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Federal agencies said budget cuts from sequestration have left wildfire responders shorthanded.

Wyden said that means those departments should shift their priorities.

“The message has not gotten through with respect to the choice: You can spend more modest amounts on the front end, with preventive kinds of efforts, or you can spend your time investing substantially more money trying to play catch-up as these infernos rip their way through the West,” said Wyden, who chairs the committee.

Study calls natural gas a climate win

The U.S. should substitute more natural gas for oil and coal in the transportation, manufacturing and building sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, a study released Tuesday said.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions publication credited a recent uptick in natural-gas use for bringing domestic greenhouse gas emissions down to mid-1990s levels.

Still, the study said natural-gas use must be accompanied by an increase in clean energy and carbon capture and storage technology to prevent global temperatures from rising to an unsustainable level.

Click here for the whole report.


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