Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Keystone bill headed to swift demise

SIGNED, SEALED, TO BE DELIVERED: The House voted mostly along party lines Wednesday to build the Keystone XL pipeline, sending the bill to President Obama for a certain veto.

Twenty-nine Democrats joined all but one Republican in passing the Senate’s Keystone bill for a 270-152 tally, challenging Obama to make the most high-profile veto of his time in office.

{mosads}The House had passed the bill last month, but Wednesday’s vote approved the Senate’s version, which added some minor amendments.

After the Senate signs the bill passed on Wednesday, Keystone will be shipped off to 1600 Penn. Ave. to meet its demise. 

The White House has repeatedly threatened the veto the bill, and the GOP does not believe it has the votes necessary to override a veto.

Instead, lawmakers might try to attach the approval to a bill Obama wants to sign. Either way, Republicans will seize on the veto to accuse Obama of obstructing bipartisan legislation that would create jobs.

Read more here

Republicans take victory lap… “I call on the president today to work with us on this important legislation. Let’s build the right kind of future for this country, a secure energy future,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), author of the Senate bill.

“We know that we have to make changes and compromise, but the fact is, this bill is an illustration of that very compromise,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a House sponsor.

Greens fire back… “We’re looking forward to the President vetoing this love letter to Big Oil. This whole legislative charade has served as a reminder of how dangerous Keystone XL is for our country, communities, and climate,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org.

Labor union gets in the mix… “To back up his expected veto, the president has correctly stated that there is ‘a well-established process in place’ to consider approval of major infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. What he didn’t say is that he and too many job-killing Democrats have perverted that process,” said Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

The final word… “As we have made clear, the president will veto this bill,” a White House official said in an email Wednesday.

ON TAP THURSDAY I: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the department’s 2016 budget request. 

ON TAP THURSDAY II: Estevan Lopez, commissioner of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation, will testify Thursday on his agency’s budget at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on energy and water. 

Rest of Thursday’s agenda…

The Woodrow Wilson Center will host a discussion on climate negotiations leading into the Paris talks later this year. 

Two subpanels of the House Science Committee will hold a hearing on problems with the federal government’s weather satellites and weather forecasting efforts. Lawmakers will hear from leaders in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as a Government Accountability Office official who has evaluated the programs. 


Butting heads… During the first Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the administration’s carbon pollution rules, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) got feisty over Inhofe’s decision to do away with opening remarks for members of the panel. 

“For the first time in more than a decade @EPWRepublicans will not allow members to give remarks,” Boxer tweeted.

Republican musings… Christine Todd Whitman, former Environmental Protection Agency chief under the Bush administration didn’t have nice things to say about her fellow Republicans after the EPW hearing.

“For the sake of our national security, public health and environment, the stakes are too high for Washington’s partisanship to stand in the way of tackling climate change. This is why I was troubled that some members of the Senate Committee used today’s hearing to push a blatantly political agenda by attacking the EPA’s climate action plan,” she said.


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) unveiled a proposal Wednesday for a 5 percent tax on natural gas extraction, a key campaign promise, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports

A gray wolf that a Utah hunter accidentally killed was the same one that was the first wolf spotted in northern Arizona in more than 70 years, the Associated Press reports

SpaceX successfully launched a climate observatory rocket Wednesday, but scrapped rocket recovery efforts, Bloomberg Business reports.


Check out Wednesday’s stories…

– House sends Keystone to Obama

– Labor union: Democrats have ‘perverted‘ Keystone process

– Alaska senators introduce bill to curb land protections

– New GOP Senate begins assault on Obama’s climate rules

– White House aims to cut wildlife trafficking

– Scientists, economists press Obama to reject Keystone

– Keystone developer rebuts EPA

– Boehner: Obama rising with ‘extremists and anarchists‘ on Keystone

– McConnell urges Obama to reconsider on Keystone

– Halliburton to cut over 5,000 jobs amid falling oil prices

– DOE proposes stricter efficiency standards for gas furnaces


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 Boehner Ernest Moniz John Hoeven

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