By Timothy Cama - 03/14/16 06:16 PM EDT
DRILL, BABY, DRILL?: The Obama administration this week is expected to release its proposed plan to govern offshore oil and natural gas lease sales through 2022.
The plan will be an update to a January 2015 initial proposal from the Interior Department, which included a highly controversial proposal to allow drilling off the Atlantic coast.
While the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia support the idea of offshore drilling near their states, the coastal communities, many businesses and leaders in neighboring states oppose it.
The administration is also considering allowing some lease sales in the Arctic Ocean, and 10 new sales in the Gulf of Mexico.
This is the second of three steps toward developing the 2017-2022 offshore plan. It will be open for comment before being made final, likely later this year.
Read more here.
FINGER POINTING BEFORE FLINT HEARINGS: Ahead of a pair of hearings this week on the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis, key figures in the crisis and the hearing are pointing fingers over who is to blame.
Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason Chaffetz41 Secret Service employees disciplined after Chaffetz leak Overnight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Lawmakers: Social Security vulnerable to hackers MORE (R-Utah), who's leading the inquiry as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, visited Flint this weekend.
"Given the EPA's warnings on the dangers of lead, you'd think the agency would be on high-alert for any instances when lead was found in drinking water. But they weren't; not in Flint. If they had been, the EPA would have taken action in the summer of 2015 when EPA Region 5 Regulations Manager Miguel Del Toral wrote a memo to his superiors warning of the dangerously high levels of lead in the drinking water," he'll say at the Tuesday hearing, according to his prepared remarks.
"The role of our committee is to ensure federal agencies and employees do their job. According to the EPA's website, its mission is 'to protect human health and the environment.' In Flint, the EPA protected neither human health nor the environment. It completely failed at its mission," his prepared remarks say.
Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe Clean Water Rule: One year later How Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Overnight Energy: Labor rift opens over green mega-donor MORE is laying the blame heavily on Michigan, whose Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will sit next to her for a committee grilling this week.
In a Washington Post piece Monday saying the state "evaded" the EPA, McCarthy claimed her agency's relationship is usually strong with states.
"But looking back on Flint, it is clear that, from day one, Michigan did not act as a partner," she wrote. "The state's interactions with us were dismissive, misleading and unresponsive."
McCarthy also took some blame for the EPA.
"While we were repeatedly and urgently telling the state to do so, looking back, we missed opportunities late last summer to get our concerns onto the public's radar," she said.
Snyder, meanwhile, called Friday for a probe into how the state's health department handled its responsibilities related to the crisis.
REPUBLICANS RALLY AGAINST CLINTON'S COAL COMMENTS: Republicans and the coal industry are slamming Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton email headache is about to get worse Asian, Pacific Islander lawmakers to endorse Clinton Feds fight to prevent Clinton deposition in email case MORE's weekend contention that her policies would put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business."
Clinton made the comments during a town hall on CNN Sunday. She used the remark as a way to prove the need for more economic development programs in coal communities around the country.
"I'm the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity -- using clean, renewable energy as the key -- into coal country," she said.
"We're going to make it clear that we don't want to forget those people," she added.
Republicans, though, hit back at Clinton on Monday.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo McConnell-allied group: We'll back Rubio if he runs for reelection MORE (R-Ky.), while not mentioning Clinton by name, spoke on the Senate floor of leading Democrats "boasting" about putting coal miners out of business.
"What they want is to provide for their families, but here's how more Democrats seem to view these hard-working Americans and their families: just statistics, just the cost of doing business, just obstacles to their ideology," he said. "This is callous. It is wrong. And it underlines the need to stand up for hard-working, middle-class coal families."
Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Energy: Trump outlines 'America First' energy plan in North Dakota Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules Paul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) joined in, saying Clinton had joined President Obama's "war on coal and Kentucky."
Clinton's campaign defended the remark.
"Obviously she was making the exact opposite point: that we have to take proactive steps to make sure coal workers, their families and their communities get not just the benefits they've earned, but also the future they deserve," spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.
Read more here.
ON TAP TUESDAY I: In the first part of its hearings this week on Flint's drinking water crisis, the House Oversight Committee will hear from four key players in the history of the crisis: former EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman, former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and Virginia Tech engineering professor Marc Edwards.
ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will have a hearing on President Obama's November memorandum concerning environmental mitigation. Officials from the Interior Department and Forest Service will testify, along with state, industry and other stakeholders.
Rest of Tuesday's agenda...
The House Natural Resources Committee will meet to consider 14 bills in its jurisdiction.
The House Science Committee's oversight panel will hold a hearing on the effect of EPA regulations on amateur racecar drivers' ability to modify their vehicles.
A subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Energy Department's budget request for its environmental management programs.
Officials from the Army, Navy and Air Force will speak about the armed services' renewable energy projects at the Defense Renewables Summit.
AROUND THE WEB:
High-profile celebrities like Amy Poehler, David Geffen, Max Mutchnick and Brett Ratner have been some of the biggest water users in Beverly Hills, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports.
Deceased former Chesapeake Energy Corp. head Aubrey McClendon was traveling 88 mph just before he hit a wall with his car and died, the Oklahoman reports.
The interim leader of Canada's conservative party criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not using his United States official visit to advocate for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the Globe and Mail reports.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out Monday's stories ...
- Flint residents hire first K Street firm
- GOP, industry backlash after Clinton's coal comments
- Major green groups back Dem in Illinois Senate race
- Offshore drilling proposal expected soon
- Week ahead: Key Flint figures come to Congress