The week ahead: Senate nears first big energy bill since 2007

But Republicans want to push a provision to green light the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

It remains to be seen whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has signaled to Shaheen that the bill will get to the floor next week, will call it without a deal on amendments.

Controversial amendments, such as one on Keystone, sunk a similar version of Shaheen-Portman last year. But Reid has recently said that he expects another vote on Keystone at some point.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the House will vote on — and likely pass — a measure that would allow the Energy Department to block Environmental Protection Agency energy-related rules that “have significant adverse effects.”

The bill also includes an amendment on the “social cost of carbon,” a calculation that helps regulators determine the benefits of issuing rules that curtail emissions.

The Obama administration recently raised that figure, which it said reflects new data. But the move has invited attacks from industry and Republicans, who say the White House will use it to strengthen regulations.

The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change will host a discussion on climate change and wildfires Tuesday in the Capitol.

The task force, which counts Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Ben Cardin (Md.) and Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman (Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) and Bobby Rush (Ill.) as its co-chairs, will hear from firefighters, and state and federal officials.

Participants include: Dave Cleaves, adviser to the chief of climate for the U.S. Forest Service; and Erik Litzenberg of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and chief of the Santa Fe (N.M.) Fire Department.

The House and the Senate will hold dueling hearings on how to store the nation’s nuclear waste, with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz testifying at each.

The Tuesday Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing is on a bipartisan bill to overhaul the nuclear waste storage system.

That legislation doesn’t call for the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada to be the nation’s permanent waste repository. Instead, it sets conditions for moving waste to intermediate sites, and also allows local and state governments to apply to permanently store nuclear waste.

That approach differs from that of House Republicans, who will hold a Wednesday hearing on nuclear waste storage in the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

House Republicans say Yucca Mountain is the nation’s sole repository for nuclear waste, as outlined in a 1982 federal law.

House Republicans have authorized more money for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to finish reviews of the Energy Department’s application for using Yucca. President Obama pulled the plug on that process in 2010, and the regulatory commission contends it doesn’t have enough money to restart reviews.

Also Wednesday, a subpanel of the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the “principles for energy tax reform.”

Witnesses include: Phyllis Cuttino, director of clean energy with Pew Charitable Trusts; and Margo Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist with the American Council for Capital Formation.

The Environment and Public Works Committee will meet for a Wednesday hearing to discuss legislation to update a federal toxic chemicals law.

On Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will put the DOE under the microscope to discuss allegations of retaliating against whistle-blowers.

A subpanel of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold the first congressional hearing Thursday on a proposed Alaskan mine that’s creating ripples on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers have grown louder in recent weeks about the proposed Pebble mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, as it brings into question how early the Environmental Protection Agency can kill a project.

The mine’s developers haven’t yet submitted a formal blueprint, but the EPA is conducting analyses on how the potential mine would impact Bristol Bay’s vibrant sockeye salmon. The developers worry the EPA could “preemptively” veto a key permit for the mine.

The mine’s opponents, however, contend the EPA has plenty of information about the mine to carry out a sound environmental review and rule on the permit.

Witnesses include: William Riley, former regional mining coordinator with the EPA Region 10; and Lowell Rothschild, senior counsel with Bracewell and Giuliani.

Also Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?: The Impacts of the Obama Administration's Closed-Door Settlements on Endangered Species and People.”

Off the Hill, Moniz will address the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, W. Va., on Monday.

On Tuesday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will deliver her first remarks since being confirmed to lead the agency at Harvard Law School.

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