OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Keystone pressure mounts as Obama readies climate plan

White House climate aide Heather Zichal previewed the plan at a Wednesday event, while the president laid the groundwork for his climate roll-out during a speech in Germany.


THE REST OF THURSDAY'S AGENDA:

Upton speech, hearing to promote US energy benefit to manufacturers

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) will tout the U.S. domestic energy boom as a winner for manufacturers at a Thursday event.

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Upton will deliver his remarks at a National Association of Manufacturers summit in Washington, D.C.

Manufacturing industries have said low energy prices resulting from a spurt in U.S. natural-gas production has given them a new-found competitive edge.

Expect Upton to hammer that message home in his Thursday speech — and then again later when an pair of Energy and Commerce subpanels has a hearing on the topic.

The 10 a.m. hearing is titled: "A Competitive Edge for American Manufacturing: Abundant American Energy."

Witnesses include Paul Cicio, president of Industrial Energy Consumers of America; Phyllis Cuttino, clean energy director with Pew Charitable Trusts; and Andre de Ruyter, senior group executive with Sasol Limited.

Click here for more on the hearing, which will be webcast.

Baucus to take members’ pulse on carbon tax

Members of the Senate Finance Committee will hold their latest meeting Thursday to discuss options for a broad overhaul of the tax code.

Thursday’s meeting on potential revenue sources is expected to include discussion of taxing carbon emissions.

The concept has little political support in Congress but has nonetheless gained increased attention of late. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has neither endorsed the idea nor taken it off the table.

Click here for more.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. . .

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

— GOP senators slam 'significant change' to 'social cost' of carbon
— Sen. Boxer wants Markey on environment committee
— House GOP readies bill to affirm Yucca as sole nuclear waste site
— Environmental, health groups sue over delayed smog rule
Wesley Clark joins Blackstone as energy adviser
— Obama calls climate change the ‘global threat of our time’ in Berlin address
— Top White House climate adviser vows Obama will act soon
— Report: Building resilience to climate-fueled extreme weather is ‘woefully underfunded’ 


NEWS BITES:

Moniz taps enviro group head as chief of staff

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has tapped Kevin Knobloch, the longtime president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to be his chief of staff.

Here’s a blurb from Moniz’s email to Energy Department staff announcing the hire:

Kevin brings 35 years of experience in public policy, government, advocacy, and media to his job as Chief of Staff of the Energy Department. He joins us after serving as the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists for the past ten years, where he led the science-based organization's analytical, legislative, and policy functions. Before that, Kevin held a number of roles on Capitol Hill, as a journalist, and with an environmental organization. I am confident that Kevin's deep understanding of energy issues and experience as an outstanding manager will be of incredible value to the Department.

Coal ash bill moves toward House floor

The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced legislation Wednesday that would outline rules for disposing of and recycling a byproduct of coal-fired power.

Rep. David McKinley’s (R-W.Va.) bill (H.R. 2218), which the committee supported 31-16, would declare that coal ash is not a hazardous material and allow states to determine how to manage the material, effectively blocking planned Environmental Protection Agency rules to toughen regulation.

The legislation attempts to get in front of a pending EPA decision on whether to consider coal ash hazardous. The bill’s supporters say such a designation would cost jobs, because coal ash is a key input for the highway construction industry.

Sen. Boxer vows to boost pressure for EPA nominee approval

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she’s going to raise the intensity of efforts to win Senate approval for Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s stalled pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

McCarthy’s nomination has faced resistance from a number of Republicans, and it’s not clear when her nomination may reach the floor.

She is the EPA’s top air pollution regulator, and has worked for GOP and Democratic governors as a senior environmental official at the state level, a background her supporters cite often.

“What I have decided to do is wait until after the July break and then do everything in my power to make sure that America meets Gina McCarthy, because they meet this woman, and they see her incredible credentials, and her wonderful character and personality, and her bipartisan spirit, they will understand that the Republicans are trying to stop our president from putting together the cabinet that he wants, and they are stopping the promotion of a woman who deserves a promotion,” Boxer told reporters Wednesday.

“They keep saying there is no war on women and they love women, but here they are taking a hard stand against this woman,” she added, vowing press conferences, floor speeches and other efforts.

Republicans say they are holding up her nomination in order to extract more information from the EPA about data underlying its regulations and other topics, alleging the agency lacks transparency.


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