OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Keystone pipeline showdown reaches House floor

The State Department added a new wrinkle Monday afternoon, warning that an “arbitrary” deadline could prevent the pipeline from being permitted. E2 covered State’s warning here.

Republicans are pushing back against State’s comment as they seek to corral support for the provision.

{mosads}“It is blatantly misleading,” said an aide to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Lugar authored Keystone legislation that’s mirrored in the House package.

Republicans noted Monday that the bill is crafted to allow analysis of new routes in Nebraska — the issue that ostensibly prompted the Obama administration to delay a decision until 2013 — even after granting of the permit to allow construction to begin.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a co-sponsor of Lugar’s bill, said the State Department argument “doesn’t make any sense.”

Republicans argue the pipeline project has been well-vetted already during the multi-year State Department analysis.

“They have gone through the [Environmental Impact Statement] process for three years. The only portion of the route that was in question is the Nebraska portion, and that isn’t subject to the 60-day limit,” Hoeven said in the Capitol Monday evening.

But State’s claim that the GOP language could actually thwart the project could weigh on the minds of lawmakers.

{mossecondads}Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) supports the pipeline but noted State’s comments when asked if he supports including the provision in the payroll tax bill. “I don’t want to squash it, I don’t want to stop it,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has warned that inclusion of the Keystone provision is a non-starter in the Senate, but Senate GOP leaders are continuing to push for it.


Murkowski writing bill to ensure grid reliability in wake of EPA rules

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Monday that she’s crafting legislation aimed at ensuring that pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations don’t threaten the reliability of the country’s power grid.

“Given the reckless pace at which the EPA is advancing new rules, it is clear Congress must step in,” Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement.

“I’ve instructed my staff to draft legislation that would put in place a safety valve worthy of the name so that the nation can continue to have reliable and affordable power. It helps no one to pay more for less reliable power, especially in today’s tough economic times,” she said.

The planned legislation comes as Republicans and industry groups are increasingly raising concerns about the impact of the pending clean-air regulations on the electric grid, arguing that the rules will lead to so many power-plant shutdowns that some areas could suffer power outages.

But the Obama administration has pushed back on the concerns, arguing that the rules won’t threaten grid reliability.

Read more here and here.

Inhofe accepts Nader’s debate invitation

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) accepted Ralph Nader’s call Monday to debate each other over climate science.

“I would welcome the opportunity to debate the issue of global warming with Congressman Markey,” Inhofe, one of Congress’s most outspoken climate skeptics, said in a statement. “In fact, I would enjoy the company: since the failure of global warming alarmism and the complete collapse of the Kyoto process, the only one talking about global warming in Washington these days has been me.”

A Markey spokesman said: “Congressman Markey would gladly discuss with Senator Inhofe the over 100 years of science that proves carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants are raising the temperature of the Earth and changing the chemistry of the oceans.”

Nader called on Inhofe and Markey, a vocal defender of climate science, to debate Monday in a letter.

Wind industry: Expiration of production tax credit equals job losses

The American Wind Energy Association, the wind industry’s trade group, warned Monday that thousands of jobs are at stake if Congress fails to extend the production tax credit.

The group released a study, authored by Navigant, on the effects of allowing the tax credit to expire. Read the study here.


Here’s a quick roundup of Monday’s E2 stories:

— House approves oil, gas pipeline safety bill
— State Department warns that GOP plan could scuttle Keystone pipeline
— Rep. Issa says nuclear agency in ‘crisis’ amid internal battle
— Nuke industry calls on Congress, WH to address concerns about NRC chief
— Climate change pact has fighting chance at passage, according to US envoy
— Rick Perry calls ‘Solynda’ a country

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Andrew Restuccia, arestuccia@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @E2Wire, @AndrewRestuccia, @Ben_Geman

This story was updated at 8:23 p.m.

Tags Edward Markey Harry Reid Jim Inhofe John Hoeven Jon Tester Lisa Murkowski

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