OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House sounds alarm on climate change

DROUGHTS, AND FLOODS, AND HEAT WAVES, OH MY: The White House released a new report on Tuesday, detailing the drastic impacts of climate change across the U.S.

The comprehensive report took a much deeper dive into data, and climate changes into every region of the U.S. 

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“Americans are noticing changes all around them,” the report states. “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer.”

Obama’s science adviser John Holdren called the report, which took over 300 experts, and 13 federal science agencies to compile, the “loudest and clearest alarm bell to date.”

But the report is only the beginning, or centerpiece, of a renewed climate agenda by the administration in an election year.

Check The Hill Wednesday for more on what the report means for Democrats going into midterms.

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: The Senate found itself in an impasse on Tuesday on how to proceed with the first energy bill to come to the chamber’s floor since 2007.

The bipartisan energy efficiency bill co-authored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) may be dragged down yet again by a measure on Keystone XL.

Republicans want at least four energy-related amendments attached the energy efficiency bill, but on Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he is tired of the games.

Reid said Republicans either take a stand-alone vote on Keystone or nothing at all.

And if advocates of the oil-sands pipeline do get a vote then Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is optimistic she can rally the 60 votes needed to greenlight the project. 

Debate is not over yet however. After filing cloture on a motion to proceed on the bill, the Senate is now open for 30 hours of debate.

Check back for more Wednesday. 

 

EPA INSPECTOR INTERFERENCE: The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to investigate allegations that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leaders tried to interfere with attempts by its Office of Inspector General (OIG) to probe the homeland security office within EPA. The hearing will include leaders from EPA and OIG, as well as the OIG agent Elisabeth Heller Drake, who said EPA personnel assaulted her. 

The Associated Press got hold of witnesses’ testimony Tuesday, and reported that OIG officials will say EPA’s homeland security office operates illegally as a “rogue law enforcement agency” that tries to block OIG’s investigations. EPA officials will respond that the agency cooperates fully with OIG. 

 

PIPELINE APPROVALS: The House Energy and Commerce Committee is targeting the policy that currently gives the president authority over energy infrastructure that crosses borders, such as the Keystone XL pipeline.

The panel Wednesday will begin to mark up the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, which would limit the review period to 120 days unless the project is not in the country’s national security interest and take review authority away from the State Department, giving it instead to the Energy or Commerce Department, depending on the kind of infrastructure at issue. 

 

Rest of Wednesday’s schedule:


House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on energy and power will hold a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 2015 budget request. NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane will testify, and the other four commissioners will also appear at the hearing.  

The House Natural Resources Committee will host a hearing on the role of managing electricty rights-of-way on federal land to prevent wildfires. Top officials from the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management will testify, as well as leaders from power transmission companies.

 

NEWS BITES: 

Heritage “fact check”: The conservative Heritage Foundation ran a “fact check” of the Obama administration’s climate report and found many points of disagreement. Heritage calls a number of claims in the report false, including that precipitation patterns are changing, Arctic ice is receding and earlier climate predictions have been confirmed. 

“Though many of the crises created or compounded by the administration are real enough, the release of the National Climate Assessment has been hyped (abetted by much of the media) with bogus claims of past, current and predicted climate impacts,” Heritage writes. 

Climate politics: Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) may be facing a tough reelection race, with Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) rising up to challenge him, but that doesn’t mean he is stayng away from the divisive issue of climate change.

The race may hinge on where each candidate stands on energy issues like Keystone XL, and natural gas, but Udall is also playing his part in the Democrats’ push on climate change. 

"Climate change threatens our special way of life in Colorado, our water and entire communities across the Centennial State. Colorado's persistent drought, successive mega-fires and destructive floods show why Congress needs to act ASAP to address this monumental challenge," Udall said in a statement Tuesday on the White House report.

"Today I'm renewing my call for Congress to come together and develop a bipartisan road map to adapt to our changing climate. When our very quality of life in Colorado is at stake, inaction simply isn't an option."

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Stanford University’s board of trustees has voted to divest the school from coal mining companies in response to student protests, Bloomberg News reports

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is close to proposing new rules for decomissioning offshore oil rigs, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is financially backing an effort to limit fracking in Colorado, putting Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) in a tough spot as he balances environmental concerns and the energy industry in his reelection bid, the Wall Street Journal reports

The United States is skipping a Moscow meeting of the International Energy Forum this month, one of the largest international meetings on energy policy, Reuters reports

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

Check out Tuesday’s energy and environment stories.

- Obama: Lives ‘at risk’ from climate change

- Court upholds EPA’s 2013 renewable fuel mandate

- Reid gives GOP ultimatum on Keystone

- McCarthy: White House report a ‘clear indication’ of current climate impacts

- Canadian natural resources chief pushes Moniz on Keystone

- Landrieu: Senate is two votes shy of passing Keystone

- Murkowski calls for action to conserve energy, water

- Senate votes to begin work on energy efficiency bill

- McConnell chides Obama for talking about climate change

- Reid compares GOP to ‘greased pig’

- EPA inspector to scrutinize Pebble Mine assessment

- Climate change affecting every region of US, new WH report says

- Rockefeller introduces bills for clean coal incentives, research

- A ‘magic number’ to advance Keystone bill?

 

 

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.