Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House issues more veto threats

MORE INK FOR THE VETO PEN, PLEASE: The White House put out veto threats Tuesday against a pair of Republican House bills on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of scientific research.

One bill aims to stop the EPA from using “secret science” to back up its regulations, while the other would put new requirements on the EPA’s scientific advisory panel of experts.

{mosads}But the White House complained that the legislation would handicap the agency’s attempts to write necessary regulations.

“Provisions of the bill could be interpreted to prevent EPA from taking important, and possibly legally required, actions, where supporting data is not publicly available, and legal challenges could delay important environmental and health protections,” the White House said of the “secret science” bill.

The advisory committee bill could invite new challenges to rules when the EPA hides information about test subjects or proprietary data, the administration said.

Read more here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding an oversight hearing on the EPA’s 2016 budget request. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will testify.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Interior Department’s budget will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine the department’s budget request for fiscal 2016. The panel is chaired by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She had her first crack at the agency’s budget last week at an Energy Committee hearing with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who will return to the Senate Wednesday to face Murkowski once again. House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is also on the subcommittee.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda …

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the Chemical Safety Board. The panel will hear from all five members of the board. In a preview Tuesday, the committee said it will examine allegations that Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso and two employees violated the Federal Records Act by using private email accounts, took unprecedented steps to consolidate the board’s power and that leaders at the agency are hostile toward employees.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development will hold a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s budget request for 2016. All four of the commission’s current members will come to speak on the request.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on energy and power will hear from representatives of various private sector interests Wednesday for its hearing on ensuring a “secure, reliable and modern” electricity system.


Climate investigation … Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) partially walked back on his investigation of fossil fuel funding of skeptical climate research.

Specifically, Grijalva told National Journal that asking universities for details on researchers’ communications and drafts of testimony went too far.

“The communications back-and-forth is honestly secondary, and I would even on my own say that that was an overreach in that letter,” he said.

“I want the disclosure [of funding sources]. Then people can draw their own conclusions.”

Grijalva’s been under fire from many sources since launching his investigation last week that has been called a “witch hunt” by critics.

New chairwoman for CSB … President Obama said Tuesday that he would nominate Vanessa Allen Sutherland to be the new chairwoman of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).

Sutherland is current chief counsel at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

She would replace Rafael Moure-Eraso, whose term at the troubled agency is due to expire in June.

Moure-Eraso has been accused by colleagues and lawmakers of being a polarizing leader, intimidating whistleblowers, interfering with Inspector General investigations and violating the Federal Records Act, among other problems that the House Oversight Committee plans to discuss Wednesday.

Sutherland has worked at PHMSA since 2011. Prior to that, she worked for seven years at tobacco company Philip Morris USA and its parent company Altria Group Inc.


Ohio is suing oil giant BP, saying it illegally took money both from insurers and from the state to clean up leaks from underground gasoline storage tanks, the Associated Press reports.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) budget includes a proposed 4.7-cent fee on the natural gas industry per thousand cubic feet, NPR reports.

Environmental protesters disrupted a Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, meeting on planning the 2016 Olympics, ESPN reports.


Check out Tuesday’s stories…

– House tweaks weekly schedule
– White House threatens veto of EPA ‘secret science’ bill
– Oil chief: Crude export debate about education
– White House reviews EPA airplane emissions plan
– Watch: ‘Under the Dome,’ the documentary about pollution that went viral in China
– Judge blasts EPA on public records compliance
– Ethanol industry lobbies up


Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com, and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.comFollow us on Twitter: @thehill, @lbarronlopez, @Timothy_Cama 


Tags Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy Interior Department Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Sally Jewell

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