OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Crunch time on energy efficiency bill

TICK, TOCK: Senators are running out of time to find a way forward for an energy efficiency bill scheduled for a vote on Monday.

For the past two weeks both parties have fought over whether to allow energy-related amendments or negotiate a stand-alone vote on the Keystone XL pipeline shortly after wrapping up the energy efficiency legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) chided Republican leadership Thursday for refusing to agree to the stand-alone Keystone XL vote, and holding up the process, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attacked Reid for not allowing Republicans to put forward a single energy amendment. 

ADVERTISEMENT
All hope seemed lost based on the back and forth between the two leaders on the Senate floor Thursday, but Republican and Democratic negotiators say otherwise. 

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a strong backer of the bill, seemed hopeful that lawmakers would be able to find a way forward for the bill.

"I'm not waving the white flag yet," Wyden said.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said he is working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to come to an agreement on a few amendments.

Still, as lawmakers are heading into the weekend, a deal has yet to be made. The Senate is scheduled to vote to end debate on the measure Monday.

 

ON TAP FRIDAY: President Obama is scheduled to speak Friday morning at a Wal-Mart in Mountain View, Calif., about energy efficiency. Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Obama will talk about private-sector efforts to improve efficiency in buildings.

Check out The Hill tomorrow for coverage of Obama’s visit and speech.

 

NEWS BITES:

NOAA nomination: President Obama said Thursday that he would appoint Rick Spinrad to be chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since 2010, Spinrad has been the vice president for research at Oregon State University. He's previously held multiple scientific positions in government and academia.

The chief scientist job is not subject to Senate approval. Spinrad will replace Kathryn Sullivan, who was confirmed in March to lead NOAA as the Commerce Department’s under secretary for oceans and atmosphere.

Mining industry weighs in on power plant rule: The National Mining Association (NMA) asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday to withdraw its proposed rule regarding carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

“EPA’s approach risks overreliance on one power source and jeopardizes the reliability that is inherent in having a diverse energy portfolio,” NMA said in its 316-page comment on EPA’s January proposal. “NMA cautions EPA to proceed with great care in this rulemaking as it is merely step one of the agency’s plans for regulating the power sector under the [Clean Air Act] to reduce CO2 emissions.” 

Comments on the proposal are due at the end of the day Friday.

National Parks partnerships: Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill Thursday that they said would make it easier for private organizations to partner with the National Park Service to support parks.

The sponsors said their legislation would clarify Park Service rules for working with educational, philanthropic and volunteer organizations that want to help with parks. Such groups currently face “bureaucratic barriers” to partnerships, they said.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

The Wyoming Board of Education voted to reject the multi-state Next Generation Science Standards for schools because they teach that man-made carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, the Associated Press reports.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed a bill to require labels on genetically modified food, prompting the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association to threaten a lawsuit, the Burlington Free Press reports.

Vox explores how the United States significantly restored its fisheries in recent decades, due mainly to fishing regulations.

President Obama could choose to deny the Keystone XL permit and allow Canada to challenge the rejection under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which would be politically attractive, Kurt Cobb writes in the Christian Science Monitor

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday’s energy and environment stories.

- Report: Oil industry may waste $1.1 trillion on expensive exploration
- Boehner: Dems’ climate proposals would kill jobs
- House panel votes to speed cross-border pipeline permits
- Keystone XL in crosshairs in new Mich. Senate ads
- McConnell blames Dems for stalled energy bill

 

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