OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House targets methane in climate push

WHITE HOUSE TACKLES METHANE: President Obama has his sights set on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. 

Obama wants to slash methane emissions from industrial sources 45 percent by 2025 from 2012 levels. 

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To help reach that, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose standards this summer to cut methane emissions from new and modified gas wells.

The methane actions announced by the White House on Wednesday also include new rules from the Interior Department aimed at reducing venting, flaring and leaks from existing oil and gas wells on public lands. 

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ON TAP THURSDAY I: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will give a speech Thursday on the Energy Department’s efforts to improve its project management. His speech is part of a larger discussion on the issue being held by the National Academy of Public Administration.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The United States Energy Association will organize a briefing on advanced smart grids for distribution system operators. The event will feature Marc Boillot, senior vice president at Électricité de France, an electric utility owned mostly by France’s government.

Rest of Thursday's agenda...

The Center for American Progress will unveil a new survey on the public's opinions on national energy and environmental policy priorities.

The American Petroleum Institute will unveil a new ad campaign that will run ahead of the State of the Union. 

The Environmental Law Institute and the District of Columbia Bar will host a webinar on climate change as one of the seven priorities of the United Nations Environment Programme. Patricia Beneke, the UN program’s director, will be the featured speaker.

NEWS BITES: 

Check on EPA... Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would add new hurdles to the EPA's attempts to regulate.

Any regulation with an estimated cost above $1 billion would require the agency to file a comprehensive report on costs, benefits, job losses and energy price impacts with Congress. 

And if the Energy Secretary determines that any proposed EPA rule would threaten the economy, the EPA would not be allowed to finalize it.

"The EPA blindly issues rules that they claim will be beneficial. In reality, they spend billions of taxpayer dollars on initiatives that hurt businesses and their workers," Cassidy said in a statement.  

Boxer goes round for round... Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) isn't backing down from a fight with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over his decision to bring legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to the floor as the first item of business in the 114th Congress. 

"I again call on Republican leadership to immediately drop the Keystone tar sands pipeline bill, which would create only 35 permanent jobs, and instead turn to a long-term transportation bill that will support millions of jobs and restore certainty for state and local governments and the construction industry," Boxer said in a statement on Wednesday.

AROUND THE WEB: 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) told his state Tuesday that he plans to sue the EPA to stop its climate rules for power plants, WKOW reports

West Virginia has decided against a school curriculum update that would have mandated teaching climate change skepticism, West Virginia MetroNews reports

Despite pressure to divest from fossil fuels, Harvard University has invested tens of millions of new dollars into oil and natural gas companies, the Guardian reports

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Wednesday's stories...

- Canada still expecting Keystone approval

- USDA to provide $370M for green projects

- Greens seek to make example of Sen. Kirk

- Republicans blast Obama’s methane plan

- House GOP wants to revive Yucca nuke dump

- Canadian resources minister talks Keystone with senators

- Shell cleared to export light oil

- Obama moves on methane emissions

Grueling Keystone fight to hit new Senate

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