OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Is the US energy secure?

ENERGY SECURITY: The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) challenged traditional notions of energy security Monday, saying that the oil and gas boom alone does not make the United States secure.

At an event hosted by the Energy Information Administration, Maria van der Hoeven said that the U.S. will likely have to turn to the Middle East soon for oil. She cautioned against relying too much on natural gas and doing too little to fight climate change.

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“Energy security is about much more than supply, and it’s about more than the here and now,” she said.

Van der Hoeven said the U.S. is in an “enviable position” in terms of oil and gas now, but is not necessarily energy secure.

"It’s in times of abundance that we must challenge ourselves to think differently and tackle the tough questions that are on the energy horizon,” she said.

Those are some harsh words for natural gas proponents, and possibly a pill President Obama does not want to swallow. Obama has touted natural gas as the "bridge fuel" to help combat climate change and turn the U.S. toward cleaner energy sources.

Read more here.

CLIMATE RULE ON CHOPPING BLOCK: The House Appropriations Committee will mark up a 2015 spending bill for the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department Tuesday morning.

The fiscal bill takes aim at a number of EPA rules, and cuts the agency's funding by 9 percent. The legislation seeks to bring down President Obama's signature climate rules, which would cut carbon pollution from the nation's new and existing power plants. It also attacks the EPA's proposal to redefine the government's jurisdiction over bodies of water across the U.S.

The spending bill is expected to pass the committee.

ENERGY NOMINEES GET VOTE: The Senate will vote on President Obama's nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday.

It's been a bumpy road to confirmation, especially for Norman Bay, who Obama tapped to be chairman of the commission. Bay has received fierce criticism from Republicans, who say he doesn't have enough experience on energy policy.

Many favor the current acting-chairwoman of FERC, Cheryl LaFleur, who the Senate will also vote to confirm Tuesday, but to renew her seat as a commissioner at FERC.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said she is confident the White House will stick to a bargain she helped negotiate, which will keep LaFleur on as chairwoman for nine months after her confirmation. After that time, LaFleur will cede her spot to Bay.

VETO POWERS: A House Transportation subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday about the EPA's power to veto dredge or fill permits that could affect waterways.

EPA has come under fire recently for acting to block permits for mines before the applications are filed and for retroactively revoking permits that were already issued. The full committee will mark up legislation later this week to prohibit both preemptive and retroactive vetoes.

At the subpanel’s Tuesday hearing, lawmakers will hear from four representatives of industries affected by the EPA’s permitting and two law professors.

Rest of Tuesday's agenda...

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will speak Tuesday at a lunch session at the Energy Information Administration’s annual meeting. José Manuel Carrera Panizzo, the chief executive officer of P.M.I. Comercio Internacional — the international operations of Mexican state-owned petroleum company Pemex — will speak at the same session as Upton.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Forest Service's proposed 2015 budget and wildfire preparedness.

NEWS BITES:

Bay watch ... Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) still isn't happy with Obama's nominee to lead FERC, Norman Bay. The reason, Barrasso says is his lack of energy chops.

“Mr. Bay has only 5 years working in the energy sector—a total of 5 years," Barrasso said.

“This is less time than the Keystone XL pipeline has been pending with the Obama Administration."

EPA management drama ... The union representing the largest share of EPA employees sent a letter to chief Gina McCarthy Monday blaming agency management for “performance failings,” while criticizing suggestions that civil service protections should be weakened.

“Managers at EPA are not being held accountable for their actions and inactions to the same degree as staff-level employees,” Karen Kellen, president of the American Federation of Government Employees’ Council 238, wrote in the letter. “At EPA, the buck does not stop at the top; rather, it rolls down onto those least able to defend themselves and with the least say in decisions.” 

The letter is in response to McCarthy’s testimony last month before a House committee on management problems at the agency.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Argentina signed a nuclear energy cooperation deal with Russia this weekend, which includes an offer by Russia’s atomic energy agency to finance two new nuclear plants in Argentina, Reuters reports.

Australia’s carbon tax is likely to be repealed as soon as Tuesday, now that the party that previously blocked its repeal in the Senate has agreed to go along with it, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Bowdoin College has started to build 1.2 megawatts of solar panels on its buildings, the largest solar installation in Maine, the Associated Press reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Monday's stories...

- GOP senators introduce bill to boost wildfire funding
- Is fracking turning Oklahoma into California?
- Study: States can handle EPA power plant rules
- 24 arrested protesting natural gas exports in DC
- IEA's van der Hoeven applauds EPA climate rule
- Natural gas boom hasn't made US energy secure, warns IEA chief
- White House won't help Tesla sell cars online
- China mandates 30 percent of government cars be electric
- Week ahead: GOP continues assault on EPA rules
- Obama to push climate resilience at local levels

 

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