E2 Morning Round-up: Green groups highlight oil accidents, spill response debate heats up, Nadler floats ‘clean ports’ bill and oil spill threatens Lake Michigan

While it will recommend lifting liability caps for oil-and-gas companies and other ideas to address oil spills, it is not timed to coincide with House and Senate consideration of oil spill response legislation in the coming days, NWF spokesman Tony Iallonardo said. It includes broader recommendations for reducing oil dependence that Congress could consider for years to come, he said.

Meanwhile, independent oil-and-gas producers argue that pending House and Senate Democratic oil spill plans would drive their companies out of the business of drilling offshore due to language that lifts the liability cap completely for producers for past and future spills. Joseph Bryant, CEO of Cobalt International Energy, makes the argument in a Thursday op-ed in the Houston Chronicle.

Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill…

The House Rules Committee meets at 4 p.m. to determine the scope of amendments and debate for a Democratic oil-spill plan that is tentatively slated for the floor Friday. Nearly 90 amendments were filed to the panel before Wednesday night’s deadline.

ADVERTISEMENT
The rhetorical fireworks will continue to fly when Senate Democrats hold a 12:15 press conference in the Capitol Building to trash a Senate GOP alternative strategy. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Doctors are dying by suicide every day and we are not talking about it Impeachment trial throws curveball into 2020 race MORE (D-Nev.), and Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Senate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters MORE (D-N.J.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBoth sides have reason to want speedy Trump impeachment trial Lawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank Hillicon Valley: Senate Dems unveil privacy bill | Trump campaign, RNC rip Google political ad policy | Activists form national coalition to take on Amazon | Commerce issues rule to secure communications supply chain MORE (D-Ohio), and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East | Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Biden reveals four women he could pick as his running mate MORE (D-N.H.) will argue the plan does not protect taxpayers and hold BP accountable for the Gulf spill. Senate Republicans counter the Democratic plan is a hastily crafted messaging bill that would harm jobs and the economy. Reid on Thursday may file an initial procedural move to try to start debate on the Senate oil-spill and energy package that would result in an initial vote on the measure by early next week.

Nadler to float "clean ports" bill with union, enviro backing
 
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce a bill Thursday that allows shipping ports to implement tougher air pollution requirements due to concern over emissions from diesel trucks. Nadler is circulating a letter seeking supporters that says 87 million people live in areas adjacent to ports that fail to meet air quality standards. The bill amends federal law that currently limits the ability of state and local governments to regulate trucking companies for anything other than safety. Those limits are creating problems for a landmark “Clean Truck Program” in the Port of Los Angeles that’s deploying “clean” diesel and alternative energy vehicles, his letter states.
 
“Ports around the country — like the port terminals in New York and New Jersey, Oakland, Seattle and Miami — are grappling with similar obstacles presented by port trucking, but are unable to implement a comprehensive program given the legal uncertainty and injunction against the program in Los Angeles,” Nadler writes.

“I have drafted legislation to update federal law to ensure that ports can enact and enforce Clean Truck programs. This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of civic, environment, labor, and civil rights groups such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Change to Win, Blue Green Alliance, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Sierra Club, Apollo Alliance and NRDC,” he adds. Nadler has gotten some lawmakers on board already — including Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and several members of the California delegation.

Oil spill threatens Lake Michigan

“Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm expressed growing worry on Wednesday that an oil spill, believed to be among the largest ever in the Midwest, might reach Lake Michigan if efforts to contain the oil were not strengthened,” the New York Times reports. “More than 800,000 gallons of oil spilled Monday into the Kalamazoo River, a major waterway that flows into Lake Michigan, about 60 miles away. The leak came from a 30-inch pipeline that carries millions of gallons of oil each day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.”

“The length of the oil spill along the Kalamazoo River has more than doubled from previous estimates, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said late Wednesday,” according to the Detroit News. “Oil sheen has been detected on the surface of the river roughly 35 miles downstream from the site south of Marshall where the underground oil pipe is thought to have ruptured.”

—Ben Geman contributed