OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate tees up climate science votes

COMING TO A SENATE FLOOR NEAR YOU: Votes on whether climate change is real. 

Senate Democrats offered their next round of amendments to legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday. Two of the three proposed are on climate change.

ADVERTISEMENT

One from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) states that climate change is real and caused by humans. The second, proposed by Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSize of 2020 field too big even for Democratic enthusiasts, poll finds Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Trump's UN pick faces Senate grilling MORE (D-R.I.), states that "climate change is real and not a hoax."

While the amendments are divisive among Republicans and Democrats, even the staunchest climate skeptic in the Senate, Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeTrump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions Trump says he intends to nominate Esper to lead Pentagon The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's reelection message: Promises kept MORE (R-Okla.) said he doesn't mind the amendment getting a vote.

No Dice... Senate Republicans voted down the first two amendments offered by Democrats on Tuesday, which would have banned the export of oil shipped through the pipeline, and require the project to made out of U.S. steel.  

Bingo... One Republican amendment was passed in a 94-5 vote to be attached to the underlying bill. It is a slimmed down version of Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump MORE's larger energy efficiency bill with Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDemocrats want White House hopefuls to cool it on Biden attacks Key endorsements: A who's who in early states Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill after Mnuchin announces delay MORE (D-N.H.).

Read more on what's next for the Keystone bill here.  

STATE OF THE UNION... Stay tuned and track The Hill's reporters here for coverage of tonight's address. Also, check back to find out what climate change and energy policies President Obama talked about in his speech and what he left out. 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellOvernight Energy: Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone | UN report offers dire climate warning | Trump expected to lift ethanol restrictions Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone Blind focus on ‘energy dominance’ may cripple Endangered Species Act MORE, Acting Council for Environmental Quality Chairman Mike Boots and the mayors of Denver, Fort Worth, Salt Lake City and Hartford will give a press conference to launch a report pushing for renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The report will outline the economic benefits of the program, which is due to expire this year and which has almost never been funded to its full level. 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The House is expected to vote on the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which would set deadlines for federal agencies for considering natural gas pipeline permits. President Obama threatened to veto the bill Tuesday.  

Rest of Wednesday's agenda...

Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizBiden under pressure from environmentalists on climate plan Pelosi, Clinton among attendees at memorial reception for Ellen Tauscher 2020 is the Democrats' to lose — and they very well may MORE and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) will both speak at the winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. Moniz’s remarks will be part of a session on energy, and Whitehouse’s will be on energy independence and climate protection.  

The Nuclear Energy Institute is hosting its Nuclear Fuel Supply Forum. Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.) was invited to give a morning speech. 

The United States Energy Association will host its State of the Energy Industry Forum. It will feature 20-minute speeches by the leaders of major energy lobbying groups, such as the National Mining Association, the American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance.  

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold its organizational meeting Wednesday. Senators plan to consider a budget resolution for the committee and finalize the committee rules.

The Environmental Law Institute will hold a briefing on the state of federalism in environmental law. The event will feature two law professors and two officials from environmental groups.   

NEWS BITE:

The national average prices of gasoline and diesel each hit a major milestone in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly reports Tuesday.

Gasoline’s price fell for the 16th week in a row, a new record for any price that EIA tracks weekly, going back to when records began in 1990. Its average is now $2.07 a gallon.

Diesel hit $2.93, dropping below $3 a gallon for the first time since September 2010, EIA said.

AROUND THE WEB: 

Low oil prices are causing oilfield services giant Baker Hughes Inc. to lay off 7,000 employees, about 11 percent of its workforce, USA Today reports

Eight anti-fracking protesters were arrested Tuesday at the inauguration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), StateImpact Pennsylvania reports.  

Officials have found elevated levels of cancer-causing benzene in Montana’s Yellowstone River after an oil pipeline breach over the weekend, the Billings Gazette reports. 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories...

- Keystone marathon begins in Senate

- White House threatens to veto gas pipeline bill

- Shell Oil Co. affiliates to pay $900,000 to settle EPA charges

- Senators ask feds to walk back oil export guidance

- Keystone support dips ahead of Senate battle

- Obama likely to steer clear of gas tax hike in SOTU

- US won’t intervene in global oil market

- EPA chief to attend Winter X Games

- Senate Dems push Keystone amendments

- Keystone builder files for eminent domain for pipeline route

- NextGen to run climate ad ahead of SOTU

- Montana town brings in drinking water after oil spill

 

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