OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Wildfires in focus on Capitol Hill, Quebec oil disaster update, and more

Bloomberg reports that U.S. and Canadian regulators have “warned for years that the type of rail tanker involved in a fatal explosion in Quebec is prone to rupturing during derailments.”

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Reuters has an on-the-scene report from the visit by a railway executive to the anguished town of Lac-Mégantic. From their story:

The head of the company whose oil-tanker train exploded and devastated a small Quebec town faced cries of "murderer" from furious town residents on Wednesday and said the calamity may well have resulted from crucial hand brakes on the train not being set properly.


THE REST OF THURSDAY’S AGENDA:

Energy Department labs under review

A House Science Committee subpanel will meet for a hearing about Energy Department national labs and science activities.

Witnesses include Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Click here for more information.

Chemical regs under the microscope

A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will gather for a hearing on federal chemicals policy.

The session will explore “Regulation of New Chemicals, Protection of Confidential Business Information, and Innovation.”

Click here for the witness list and their prepared testimony.

Forum to explore nuclear power

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will convene several experts to examine the huge challenges facing the U.S. nuclear power industry.

Click here for more on the forum that will examine why the industry is in “decline” and what the future holds.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

— GOP to Sen. Boxer: Make Obama administration defend climate plan
— Sponsors hint deal on energy efficiency bill close
— GOP aide writing anonymously: Party should ‘reclaim’ climate debate
— House turns away proposals to cut nuclear maintenance
— House blocks enforcement of light bulb standards
— US, China unveil joint climate initiatives
— House panel approves bill curtailing EPA power on climate regs
— Report: Latin American energy target of US spying program
— Bipartisan Senate group presses Energy Dept. to approve gas exports
— Kerry: Climate change a top priority for high-level US, China talks
— IEA official: Obama plan gives US leverage in climate talks with China


NEWS BITES:

Dems seek new Keystone XL study in wake of Obama's comments

A pair of Democrats are pressing the State Department to revise their analysis of how the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline would affect climate change.

A letter Wednesday from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s top Democrat, and Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises On The Money — It all comes down to Bernie and Joe MORE (D-R.I.) follows on President Obama’s statement last month that Keystone shouldn’t go forward if it “significantly exacerbates” carbon emissions.

“We strongly agree with the President that Keystone XL must be evaluated in terms of its effect on climate change, and we commend him for his statement. Now the Administration must develop the information necessary to make this determination, and it is essential that the analysis must be thorough, unbiased, and comprehensive,” the lawmakers wrote.

State is currently reviewing the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, for which its builder, TransCanada Corp., needs a cross-border permit to complete the northern leg.

A draft review by the department determined Keystone wouldn’t significantly boost carbon emissions. Green groups have rejected that finding, saying the consulting firm that conducted the study had oil industry ties.

Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for industry group Oil Sands Fact Check, said Waxman and Whitehouse were “recycling tired, debunked material,” in reference to their concerns about the draft review.

“Opponents are putting their desperation on display by requesting yet another review of the Keystone XL pipeline,” Dempsey said in a statement, adding, “It’s time for President Obama to side with the American people and move this shovel ready project forward.”

ExxonMobil files report on Ark. oil spill

ExxonMobil submitted a report Wednesday with federal regulators regarding a pipeline that ruptured and spewed roughly 150,000 gallons of oil in Mayflower, Ark.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration wouldn’t comment on the contents of the filing for the March 29 incident.

From The Associated Press:

The agency said it wouldn't release the report because it is part of an active investigation.

State and federal officials have filed a joint federal lawsuit seeking to fine ExxonMobil for the March 29 spill.

Click here for the rest.


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