By Zack Colman and Ben Geman - 06/17/13 09:18 PM EDT
Tuesday brings fresh chances for lawmakers of both parties to press Moniz, who began the job May 22, on his agenda.
Since being sworn in last month, Moniz has said the Obama administration intends to forge ahead on energy efficiency, alternative fuels, solar and wind power efforts.
A nuclear physicist, Moniz also has expressed backing for nuclear power — a GOP-friendly stance — especially when it comes to research and development for a new suite of small reactors.
Export battle flares in House: A separate Tuesday House hearing will hit the issue of natural-gas exports when the Energy Department’s acting fossil fuel chief will testify before an Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel.
Chris Smith, the department’s acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, will speak at the 10:15 a.m. Energy and Power subcommittee hearing on regulatory, market and legal barriers for energy exports.
The administration has yet to move on 20 applications to send natural gas to nations that lack a free-trade agreement with the United States. Those proposals are subject to wide-ranging federal reviews to determine if they're in the public interest.
Export boosters want the White House to move quickly, arguing exports would generate more revenues and jobs. But some Democrats and energy-intensive manufacturers are concerned sending too much natural gas abroad would raise domestic prices.
The House subpanel shouldn’t expect too much detail from Smith on the status of export applications, as E2-Wire explained here.
The hearing will also delve into proposals to build coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.
Other witnesses at the 10:15 a.m. hearing include Jeff Wright, director of energy projects with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Jennifer Moyer, acting regulatory chief with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Click here for more on the hearing, which will be webcast.
THE REST OF TUESDAY’S AGENDA:
Senators push energy storage bill
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) will promote legislation that offers tax incentives for energy storage technology during a Tuesday reception.
The senators are sponsoring a bill, S. 1030, that would provide investment tax credits for energy storage applications, such as batteries. Reps. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) sponsor a companion version (H.R. 1465) in the House.
Proponents of renewable energy view energy storage as a complement to putting more wind and solar on the electric grid. Those technologies would enable utilities to collect power to use during periods of intermittency, as well as send bulk power to different poles on the grid.
The Electricity Storage Association is hosting the 5 p.m. event at the Hart Senate Office Building.
House panel to tackle Energy spending plan
A House Appropriations Committee subpanel will mark up proposed fiscal 2014 Energy Department spending legislation.
The GOP-crafted plan would sharply cut funding for the department’s renewable energy programs. Click here for more on the proposed bill.
Sen. Murkowski to speak at conference
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will speak Tuesday at the Energy Information Administration’s Washington, D.C., conference.
Click here for more information about the conference.
Lawmakers, lobbyists to talk alt fuels
The future of alternative transportation fuels will be the focus of a morning forum hosted by the National Journal titled “Fueling The Nation: The Transportation Transformation.”
Speakers include Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.).
The event will also feature Eileen Claussen, the president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, as well as officials representing Honda Motors and the refining, natural gas and trucking industries.
Click here for more information.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Monday and over the weekend ...
— Energy Department warns House of limits on natural gas testimony
— McCain: Secret email accounts fuel distrust
— Energy secretary pledges to keep momentum behind solar power
— GOP bill would cut renewable energy spending in half
— The week ahead: Gas exports in focus, Keystone battle heats up, and a big dose of Moniz
— Al Gore presses Obama on carbon rules, calls Keystone an ‘atrocity’
— White House, EPA at odds over savings produced by emissions regulations
US ambassador to Canada talks Keystone pipeline
David Jacobson, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Canada, tells The Associated Press that the Obama administration knows full well what’s at stake as it weighs the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
“The people in the administration who are charged with deciding this issue are aware of the full range of facts and consequences, whether it to be the bilateral relationship, to climate, to the environment, to the economies, to energy independence, to our geopolitics, there are a range of issues that all have to be taken into account,” Jacobson said in the interview.
Click here for the whole story.
Outside groups gird for battle over Pebble mine
Nearly all the comments urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to permit a proposed Alaska mine come from a group backed by mining companies and the billionaire Koch brothers.
The Washington Post reports that a mass email campaign spearheaded by the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute accounts for 99.25 percent of the public comments on the draft environmental assessment for the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
On the other hand, environmental groups have logged nearly three times as many comments — 306,198 — pushing the EPA to block the mine.
The proposed mine is attracting more Capitol Hill attention of late.
Its backers, largely Republicans and industry groups, say the agency is moving to “preemptively” veto a major permit needed to build the mine on a watershed. They contend the EPA is unfairly using hypothetical mine scenarios for evaluations because the project’s developers haven’t yet submitted a formal blueprint.
But commercial fishermen and native tribes say the EPA has enough authority to deny the permit. They agreed with the agency’s draft assessment that a mine would destroy salmon runs, potentially devastating a habitat that’s home to nearly half the world’s sockeye salmon.
Sequester takes toll in Interior lease sale review
The Interior Department’s oil-and-gas programs are feeling their share of pain from the sequester.
Here’s a new example: Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) says it needs another month – until July 18 – to complete evaluation of industry bids from March’s auction of drilling blocs in the central Gulf of Mexico.
“This action is necessary due to resource limitations resulting from sequestration. BOEM is unable to pay overtime to expedite the bid review process, including the incorporation of increased volumes of reprocessed proprietary datasets used by bidders to formulate their bid submittals,” states a notice to be published in Tuesday’s Federal Register.
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