Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senators play FERC musical chairs

TO BAY OR NOT TO BAY? That seems to be the question on the minds of lawmakers on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Chairwoman of the committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and her ranking member, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), are discussing ways they might be able to swap President Obama’s nominees to the nation’s top energy regulatory commission.

{mosads}Murkowski is hopeful the administration would possibly say yes to keep acting-chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Cheryl LaFleur, on in her current capacity instead of Norman Bay, who President Obama nominated to lead the commission.

It’s tricky, but if the White House signals it is interested in such a deal the committee will likely jump to confirm Bay, and LaFleur, who Obama nominated to sit as a commissioner for FERC.

“If we can get a commitment that LaFleur stays as the chair then I am more amenable to other situations,” Murkowski said Tuesday. “Sen. Landrieu and I are trying to figure out if there is a way that the most qualified individual on the commission will be chair,” Murkwoski said. “We are in the mist of those discussions now.”

Read more about the discussions here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on water resources and development will hold a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to redefine which waters it can regulate under the Clean Water Act.

The panel will hear from EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for public works. It will also hear from representatives of western states, local stormwater management agencies, agriculture, homebuilders and the American Sustainable Business Council.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Vice President Joe Biden will be keynoting the North American Energy Summit in New York City.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda …

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on energy will mark up the “Department of Energy Research and Development Act of 2014,” which would reauthorize DOE’s research and development programs, including the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

A House Foreign Affairs subpanel will examine energy priorities in the Middle East and North Africa. Deputy assistant secretary of energy diplomacy for the State Department, Amos Hochstein, is the only set witness.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold an event about the past and future of energy policy. It will feature a wide range of former government officials in energy, including former chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Bennett Johnston (D-La.) and former President Obama climate czar Heather Zichal.


Colorado lawmakers, environmentalists and business interests all hate Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) compromise bill to give local communities more control over oil and gas drilling activities, the Denver Post reports.

Union Theological Seminar in New York City has become the first seminar in the world to divest from fossil fuels, Time reports.

The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin argues that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision has fueled climate change skepticism in Congress.


Check out Tuesday’s stories…

– Booker wants Superfund tax reinstated
– Could Obama nominees be swapped?
– Clinton: Canada trip showed dangers of climate change
– Transition to electric cars meets roadblocks
– Sen. Landrieu: Our goal isn’t clean energy, it’s energy security
– Buffett to double renewable energy spending
– West Virginia Dems unveil bill blocking climate regs
– Report: US companies preparing for climate change
– Feds approve first commercial drone flight
– Coal industry gets boost in $34B spending bill
– China’s gas demand to almost double by 2019, IEA says
– Whitehouse: GOP is ‘shrinking’ from climate change challenge
– Inhofe: EPA rule is ‘wrong direction‘ for country
– Markey kicks off Senate climate speeches


Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com, and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill @lbarronlopez @Timothy_Cama

Tags Environment Jim Inhofe Joe Biden Lisa Murkowski Mary Landrieu Mary Landrieu United States Environmental Protection Agency United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
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