The week ahead: GOP to attack White House energy policies in hearings, bill markup

On Wednesday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on Abound Solar, the panel manufacturing company that drew $70 million in Energy Department-backed loans but collapsed a few weeks ago.
Abound’s failure follows last year’s collapse of Solyndra, a California solar panel company that had won a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee.
Also Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will likely approve GOP legislation that would mandate far more expansive offshore oil-and-gas leasing than the Obama administration envisions in coming years.
The GOP plan, unlike the Obama administration’s program, would require Interior Department lease sales for waters off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It also features a more aggressive schedule for lease sales in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast than the Interior Department’s 2012-2017 plan envisions, among other differences.
Look for the White House to counterpunch, at least from afar. President Obama will hold campaign events in several states this week, including the swing states of Florida and Ohio.
If the recent past is any prediction, look for Obama to defend administration investments in renewable energy technologies and tout White House support for oil-and-gas drilling. But if recent form holds, Obama won’t mention the controversial greenhouse gas regulations.
In the Senate this week, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a Tuesday hearing “to examine the status of action taken to ensure that the electric grid is protected from cyber attacks,” an advisory states.
The quartet of witnesses will include a senior official from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as Government Accountability Office analyst.
On Thursday the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing about the “Impacts of Environmental Changes on Treaty Rights, Traditional Lifestyles, and Tribal Homelands.”
And as always, the week will bring a handful of energy-related events off Capitol Hill. On Tuesday the American Council on Renewable Energy will hold a “Transportation and Renewable Energy Forum,” with speakers including Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. More info here.

Thursday will bring a conference on “sports and sustainability” hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. More on that here.