OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House launches PR push on climate rule

FULL STEAM AHEAD: The White House is firing on all cylinders right now when it comes to climate change.

The administration released a new report on Tuesday detailing the economic costs of delaying action on climate change, and announced new executive actions aimed at building climate resilience in the agriculture sector and improving the nation's natural gas infrastructure.

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The report, and executive actions, are meant to give the administration solid footing as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) begins its second phase of outreach on the centerpiece of President Obama's second-term climate legacy: carbon pollution standards for the nation's fleet of power plants.

Take a look at what the public relations blitz means for Obama's legacy and helping Democrats in 2014 here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: Senate Democrats will hold a press conference praising the EPA's carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. The presser will be right before another one scheduled by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is a fierce opponent of the rules.

Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Ben Cardin (Md.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) will participate in the press conference and detail the benefits they say the EPA rule will have on curbing air pollution, and respiratory problems in children and adults.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: McConnell will have his dueling presser a little later, and will be joined by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) The two lawmakers will talk about the economic impact of the EPA power plant rule.
 

Rest of Wednesday's agenda ...

Wednesday will be the final day of public hearings on the EPA’s climate proposal in Atlanta, Denver and Washington, D.C. Just like Tuesday, officials will hear from the public for 11 hours about the agency’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants. Hearings will take place later in the week in Pittsburgh.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the EPA’s climate rule, a hearing the panel is calling “EPA’s Carbon Plan: Failure by Design.” The committee will hear from three energy and climate change experts along with David Cash, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality. Two of the experts are former officials in federal agencies.

The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing to examine whether the EPA has followed the Regulatory Fairness Act with recent rulemaking activities. The act requires that federal agencies consider the specific impacts to small businesses when they write rules. The sole witness will be EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, who is planning to leave the agency next month.

The House Natural Resources Committee will meet to consider 16 bills on topics ranging from migratory birds to land transfers and protecting fish hatcheries.

NEWS BITES:

Thumbs up for climate rule ... Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), called the EPA’s climate rule “moderate, flexible and necessary,” on Tuesday at the first day of public hearings on the rule at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I am particularly enthusiastic that the rule you are considering sets national standards, but leaves states the freedom to design the approach that best fits their circumstances,” Krupp said, according to prepared remarks provided by EDF.

Krupp said the rule should only be considered a first step toward cutting carbon pollution, and encouraged regulators to set tougher goals. “This rule helps put us on a path to more independence and customer choice on energy,” he said.

Thumbs down for climate rule ... President of the National Mining Association Hal Quinn painted a different picture on the agency's new carbon emissions standards during his testimony at the public hearing on Tuesday.

"By reducing the diversity of our nation’s electricity supply and raising its costs, EPA will create a structural barrier for our economic recovery and future growth," Quinn said.

“Entirely missing in action from this proposal is recognition of the value of generation diversity to the stability of power supplies and prices. Coal-based power plants were vitally important this past winter, supplying 92 percent of the incremental demand for power. When many of these plants are no longer available in harsh winters to come, the nation will literally pay the price for EPA’s flawed rule," he added.

AROUND THE WEB:

United States authorities seized a cargo tanker filled with $100 million of Kurdish oil off the coast of Texas Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The United Kingdom's Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent reports after a fight, though two members voted against it, BBC reports.

Job growth in the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry is slowing down, NPR reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

- House passes bill to amend Endangered Species Act
- Administration unveils actions to curb methane emissions
- Green groups press EPA on climate rule
- Senate Dems' bill would bring back Superfund tax
- Report: Feds failed to inspect chemical plants with high terror risk
- Iowa GOP hopeful wants higher ethanol mandate
- Some problems possible with EPA climate rule, energy regulators say
- Senate panel brings climate debate into budget talks
- GOP denies Obama's request for wildfire cash
- BP says additional sanctions could hurt profit
- WH threatens veto of endangered species bill
- Report: Feds hold off on oil export reviews
- GAO wants EPA to do more on fracking wastewater
- Executive actions on climate change include partnerships, gas fixes
- White House starts push for carbon rules

 

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

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