By Ben Geman and Zack Colman - 07/31/13 11:13 PM EDT
ON TAP THURSDAY: The House will debate legislation that would effectively allow the Energy Department to block energy-related Environmental Protection Agency rules.
The bill, which allows the department to thwart rules it believes would adversely affect the economy, became a magnet for controversial amendments.
Among them: GOP measures that would thwart the EPA’s power to weigh the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide emissions when crafting regulations.
Click here for more on the “social cost of carbon” amendments.
But that’s not all: The House could begin debate on GOP legislation that would require congressional approval of many federal regulations. The Hill’s Ben Goad has more here on that bill and why the White House has threatened a veto.
OTHER THURSDAY AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS:
House Science Committee takes aim at EPA ‘fracking’ study
Click here for more about that, and find a copy of the bill itself here.
The bill would require a deeper evaluation of the likelihood of contamination.
“Requiring the EPA to provide context to any identified risks will maximize the study’s utility to both scientists and decision-makers. And it will limit the possibility that findings will be misinterpreted or misused,” said Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in a statement.
He said the bill would “enhance not only the credibility of the EPA’s work on hydraulic fracturing but also our ability to ensure continued safe and responsible production of America’s vast oil and gas resources.”
Separately, the committee will also vote on whether to subpoena EPA for data and records related to certain studies that help inform EPA regulations.
House panel to probe shake-up at Energy power agency
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will probe allegations of improper hiring practices and retaliation at the Energy Department’s Bonneville Power Administration.
Energy Department Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman and others will testify at the hearing.
It follows an inspector general report that alleged the BPA, which supplies power in the Pacific Northwest, engaged in hiring practices that disadvantaged military veterans. Click here and here for more on the findings and the shake-up that followed.
Energy chief Moniz to talk biofuels
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak Thursday at a major two-day bioenergy conference in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by the Energy Department and the group Advanced Biofuels USA.
“Secretary Moniz's remarks will focus on America's growing biofuels industry and how partnerships between government and industry are helping to diversify U.S. transportation fuels, curb carbon pollution and bring innovative clean energy technologies to the market,” an advisory states.
House panel begins Pebble Mine oversight
A subpanel of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will discuss a proposed Alaskan mine that’s invited concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s permitting process.
Republicans are worried the EPA is moving to “preemptively” veto a key permit for the Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay, Alaska. They say the agency is conducting environmental analyses without a formal blueprint from the mine’s developers.
A preemptive veto could cool development near waterways, industry and Republicans warn.
Democrats, however, allege the EPA has plenty of information to conduct the reviews. They say the copper-and-gold mine would destroy a habitat home to nearly half the world’s sockeye salmon, devastate the region’s commercial fishing industry and disrupt some native tribes.
Witnesses include Daniel McGroarty, president of the American Resources Policy Network; and Wayne Nastri, a former regional EPA administrator who is now co-president of E4 Strategic Solutions. Click here for more on the 1 p.m. hearing.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Wednesday ...
— House Republicans seek to force changes in EPA ‘fracking’ study
— Bill giving Congress power over regulations draws veto threat
— Senate panel plans fall hearing on biofuel rule
— House panel votes to block Interior’s ‘fracking’ rule
— Obama emphasizes Keystone XL emissions potential with Senate Dems
— Lawmakers gird for overhaul of out-of-date toxic chemical safety rules
— Senators grill Obama on Keystone, NSA surveillance programs
— Lawmakers debate whether to name ocean waters after Reagan
— Late senator takes center stage at toxic chemicals hearing
— Sens. Landrieu, Hoeven to float Keystone XL resolution
— Kochs hire ex-Cantor aide to lobby against carbon tax
EPA nominees advance to Senate
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sent three EPA nominees to the full Senate for consideration, the panel announced Wednesday.
The nominees are Kenneth Kopocis, for assistant administrator for the Office of Water; James Jones, for assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention; and Avi Garbow, for general counsel.
Several Republicans asked to be recorded as a “no” vote for Kopocis. They were Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Deb Fischer (Neb.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and ranking member David Vitter (La.).
Dem governors pledge climate work with Obama
Democratic governors from 14 states say in a new letter that they are ready and willing to work with President Obama on his climate change agenda.
States will have a key role to play, especially in carrying out planned EPA carbon standards for power plants.
"We welcome your directive to federal agencies to work with states in developing their climate policies, and we applaud your creation of a Task Force on Climate Preparedness that will include members of state, local and tribal governments. We request that you work with the states, and build upon our progress, to develop and implement the elements of your Climate Action Plan," the letter states.
Click here for the governors' letter to Obama.
Interior auctions offshore wind leases
The Associated Press reports:
A Rhode Island firm is the high bidder in an auction to build a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It’s the first time the federal government has sold competitive leases for wind energy on the outer continental shelf.
Click here for the whole story.
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