Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Manchin Ex-Im coal provision sparks Dem infighting

SHOTS FIRED: Sen. Joe Manchin’s (W.Va.) push to roll back restrictions on financing overseas coal plants is not playing well with some of his fellow Democrats.

Manchin said his proposal to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter will include a provision that reverses guidelines issued by Ex-Im in December.

{mosads}Those guidelines prevent financing of overseas coal-fired power plants unless carbon capture technology is adopted, allowing exceptions for the world’s poorest countries.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) railed against Manchin’s provision Tuesday, and vowed to fight it.

“It really will set the world back … and will lead to much worse climate pollution,” Boxer said.

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CLIMATE ACTION: President Obama plans to meet with the White House Climate Change Task Force on Preparedness and Resilience Wednesday to talk about new actions he plans to take through executive authority on climate change.

The initiatives are expected to help state, local and tribal leaders better prepare electricity systems and infrastructure in their communities for climate change impacts.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda … 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will meet Wednesday to mark up three bills to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power under the Clean Water Act. One would block the waters of the U.S. proposal that aims to redefine the federal government’s jurisdiction, and another would prohibit the agency from vetoing permits before or after the application process. The final bill seeks to increase the role of states in water pollution permitting.

The American Council on Renewable Energy will hold a webinar Tuesday on two recent Environmental Protection Agency proposals: the carbon limits for power plants and the renewable fuel mandate for 2014.

Two House Science, Space and Technology subcommittees will hold a hearing on the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System, which it uses to assess the human health impacts of various contaminants. Witnesses will represent the EPA, the National Research Council, the Center for Progressive Reform and the American Chemistry Council.

Securing America’s Future Energy and the Foreign Policy Initiative will host a forum on the impact of increased domestic oil production on U.S. national and energy security. Reps. Gene Green (D-Texas) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will speak, along with two former national security officials.


Bay Watch… While the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nominees to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Norman Bay and Cheryl LaFleur, on Tuesday, many will continue to keep a watchful eye on the commission.

Opponents of Bay said he will have big shoes to fill after LaFleur steps down in another nine months.

“If left unchecked, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan stands to fundamentally alter our nation’s energy and economic future,” said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.  “As the leader of FERC, Mr. Bay has the power to safeguard against these overreaching regulations; let’s hope he doesn’t fail to act when the stakes are so high.”

While FERC isn’t responsible for implementing the new rules on carbon pollution, a number of Republicans and pro-fossil fuel Democrats are placing more weight on the commission’s shoulders when it comes to Obama’s climate agenda and the impact they say it could have on reliability for the electric grid.

Climate rule … EPA air and radiation chief Janet McCabe will present details on the administration’s new proposal to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants at the Natural Gas Roundtable next week.

Obama has touted natural gas as the “bridge fuel” to help the nation fight climate change.

Steyer blasts NYT … In a piece in Politico Magazine, billionaire Tom Steyer fired back at a recent New York Times story chronicling his shift from investing in fossil fuel projects to fighting climate change. Steyer claims after opening up to the Times about his new found activism, they inaccurately reported it and rejected subsequent efforts to reschedule an interview.

Times reporter, Michael Barbaro, defended the piece on Twitter, stating “This is deeply disingenuous. You offered us 1 intrvw time. I was in Paris, as I told you. I asked for more times. You gave none.”


Royal Dutch Shell said it has found about 100 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico about 75 miles from Louisiana, its third major discovery in the Gulf, the Wall Street Journal reports

NRG Energy and Japan-based JX Nippon announced a carbon capture project in Texas, in which they will take carbon dioxide emissions from a coal plant and use the gases to boost oil production nearby, Reuters reports.

Microsoft Corp. signed a 20-year deal to buy wind energy from a farm in Illinois that is under construction, the Chicago Tribune reports.


Check out Tuesday’s stories…

– Coal provision could divide Senate Dems on Export-Import Bank bill
– Upton seeks energy policy based on abundance
– Senate confirms energy nominees
– Court backs Chinese firm in dispute with Obama
– House Republicans take aim at EPA climate rules
– Obama energy nominees expected to clear Senate
– Senate advances energy nominees
– Push to ban fracking in Colorado falls short
– McConnell to oppose ‘anti-coal’ energy nominee
– Court clears seismic testing off NJ
– BMW doubles down on electric vehicles
– Report: Industry proposes to phase out older tank cars
– Cyber threats put energy sector on red alert


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 Barbara Boxer Cheryl LaFleur Climate change Coal Export-Import Bank Joe Manchin Norman Bay

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