OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama nominee faces the heat

FERC: President Obama's second nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission came under fire from Republicans Tuesday during a Senate hearing.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators press administration on mental health parity Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses GOP fractures over push to protect Russia probe MORE (R-Alaska), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, questioned Obama's pick, Norman Bay, on his energy policy experience.

"When it comes to specifics on policy there are still areas where you have yet to gain that level of experience on that policy side," Murkowksi said to Bay.

She told reporters after the hearing that she can't understand why the administration didn't nominate acting chairwoman, Cheryl LaFleur, to stay on as head of FERC instead of appointing Bay, who has no experience as a commissioner.

Still, Bay may fare better than Obama's first pick. He has gained some bipartisan support.

"It isn't always that we get a candidate of this stature," former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) said during the hearing, urging the committee to approve Bay's nomination. Read more here.

DEAD FISH: Green groups aren’t pleased with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule finalized Monday to protect fish from industrial water intakes.

Reed Super, an attorney for the Riverkeeper alliance of environmental groups, said Tuesday there is a “very strong likelihood” the group will sue EPA, saying the water intake standards do not comply with the Clean Water Act.

These same groups sued in 1992 to force EPA to issue the rule, but held back when the agency agreed to work in the standards. Read more here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizOvernight Energy: Pruitt defends first-class travel | Watchdog says contractor charged Energy Department for spas, lobbying | Experts see eased EPA enforcement under Trump Obama energy secretary named to utility giant’s board Give Trump new nukes and we are that much closer to war MORE will speak at the Alliance to Save Energy’s Energy Efficiency Global Forum. The topic of the session where he’ll speak is what the United States can do to double energy productivity by 2030.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Billionaire Tom Steyer's climate action group will host a meeting with Washington reporters on new details about its plans for the midterms. Check The Hill for more on this Thursday.


Rest of Wednesday's agenda...

Keystone XL: Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) will host a Google hangout to talk about the oil-sands pipeline. The two congressmen will again urge the administration and Senate to act on Keystone XL. They will be joined by David Mallino of the Laborers International Union of North America and Nebraska landowner Bob Hilger.

Climate rally: Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes EPA inspector general to probe Pruitt's use of taxpayer-funded security detail on trips to Disneyland, Rose Bowl game MORE (D-R.I.) will lead a rally Wednesday on Capitol Hill to “wake up” Congress on climate change and the actions that should be taken. The event is organized by a variety of congressional energy and environment caucuses, and lawmakers are billing it as a follow-up to March’s all-nighter, in which senators spoke on the floor throughout the night to bring attention to climate change.

Wildlife trafficking: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subpanels for Africa, East Asia and the Pacific will host a hearing on wildlife trafficking. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will speak, as well as top officials from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Post-Sandy recovery: Brig. Gen. Kent Savre, who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, will speak Wednesday at the National Press Club about the Corps’ recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Savre will also cover his division’s efforts to restore beaches impacted by Sandy.


Texas banks are offering extremely cheap loans to oil and gas companies along with very favorable payout terms, which concerns regulators, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times’ Upshot blog predicts that if El Niño hits this fall, it could validate scientists’ predictions that the climate is changing and alter the climate change debate.

Dan Sullivan, candidate for lieutenant governor of Alaska, said that if he were governor, he’d “probably invade” the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Gawker reports.


Read Wednesday's energy and environment stories.

- Green groups to urge Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer presidents, first ladies come together to honor Barbara Bush Romney: Parts of Comey book read 'too much like a novel’ Collins: Comey should have waited to release his memoir MORE to take a side on Keystone

- Mining group runs ads attacking Obama's climate regs

- Experts debate government role in alternative fuels

- Coal rules may derail second Obama nominee

- Why climate change may ruin breakfast

- Green groups ready to sue EPA over dead fish

- Court refuses to reconsider BP oil spill settlement case

- Scientists: Climate change puts historic sites at risk

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