OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Oil tax battle flares, climate controversy at UN talks, and more

A TAXING DEBATE: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBottom line Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor MORE (D-Mont.) revived Capitol Hill battles over oil industry tax policy on Thursday.

The retiring Baucus, seeking a legacy with tax reform, proposed a broad tax code overhaul that includes paring back billions of dollars' worth of incentives for oil companies.


His plan, which would leave several incentives intact, doesn’t go as far as liberal Democrats and green activists would want.

On Thursday, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director MORE (I-Vt.) floated a much more expansive bill that would cut a wider suite of oil industry tax breaks and also remove other incentives, such as offshore royalty waivers.

But the Baucus plan was enough to spur a series of critical statements (like this one) from oil industry groups, which claim the proposal cuts deep enough to risk slowing the nation’s energy production boom.

The oil industry has for years batted 1.000 in its efforts to maintain an array of tax incentives. Stay tuned to see if their streak continues.



Capitol Hill departures

A senior staffer on Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment MORE's (R-Alaska) committee staff is leaving to pursue a new career opportunity.

Colin Hayes, who worked for Murkowski on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, covered issues on mining, energy finance, climate change and more. His last day is Dec. 6.

"Colin has served the committee for more than a decade and has been a trusted advisor throughout my time as ranking member,” Murkowski said in a statement. “He has significant knowledge of the legislative process and broad expertise on energy, environmental, and resources policy."

On the House side... The Energy and Commerce Committee is losing its deputy press secretary, Andrew Powaleny.

Powaleny is joining the national bipartisan public affairs and issues management firm The Herald Group, LLC. He will be the firms' media relations manager and provide communications advice.

Alliance to Save Energy's new hire   

Elizabeth Tate, formerly of the American Public Gas Association, where she represented natural-gas utilities as a lobbyist, is the new government relations director for the Alliance to Save Energy.



Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire on Thursday . . .

- Group spends $1M touting lawmakers' clean energy work
- Baucus launches limited attack on oil industry tax breaks
- Fuel industry head predicts biofuel rule change
- FERC chairman stepping down Sunday
- House votes 252-165 to speed up natural gas pipeline approvals
- Boxer slams nuke regulator's 'intimidation'
- EPA doesn't rule out state carbon tax option for power plants
- GOP senators push bill to protect parks in future government shutdowns
- Report tallies public cash for overseas coal plants


CLIMATE BATTLE FLARES ABROAD: There’s controversy and collisions to spare at the latest United Nations-hosted climate change talks that are entering their homestretch in Warsaw, Poland.

The Washington Post offers five charts that explain why the negotiations are always on the rocks.

The Guardian reports on outside groups’ dissatisfaction with the negotiations.

“Environment and development groups together with young people, trade unions and social movements walked out of the UN climate talks on Thursday in protest at what they say is the slow speed and lack of ambition of the negotiations in Warsaw,” the paper reports.

Reuters reports that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged nations to make “bold pledges” by next September to cut greenhouse gases.


Elsewhere around the Web ...

The Houston Chronicle reports on Interior Department enforcement of offshore drilling safety rules.

“The federal government has ordered five companies to halt offshore oil and gas operations, after they failed to give regulators an audit of safety plans newly required since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster,” the paper reports.

Bloomberg reports that opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are also battling efforts to move oil sands by rail.


Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, or Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com.