OVERNIGHT ENERGY: GOP chairman warms to oil exports

OIL EXPORTS? House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOnly two Republicans expected to back censuring Gosar Jarring GOP divisions come back into spotlight Trump allies target Katko over infrastructure vote MORE (R-Mich.) seemed to warm to oil exports Tuesday when he said lifting the current ban "can be a win."

Upton's comments at a subcommittee hearing are the most positive assessment he's given on the subject of ending the four-decade-old ban on shipping crude oil, but he stopped short of endorsing the proposal put forth by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) among others.

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"Oil exports can be a win for the American people and a win for our allies," Upton said.

"Economic and foreign policy experts across the political spectrum believe that expanding the markets for American oil would be a net jobs creator at home while enhancing our geopolitical influence abroad," he continued, explaining what he saw as potential economic and employment benefits.

As the tide has been turning toward exports in recent months among Republicans and some Democrats, Upton's been a key holdout. Opponents and oil refiners say exporting crude would increase oil and fuel prices domestically.

Upton's comments nonetheless made the oil industry happy and gave them hope that he'll fully endorse lifting the ban soon.

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ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The Senate Environment and Public Works committee will hold a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed ozone rules. Local officials from Washington, D.C., Kentucky, Utah and California are scheduled to testify.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the efficiency component of an energy reform bill. Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the Department of Energy, will testify.

Rest of Wednesday's agenda: 

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will consider a resolution saying the EPA's Clean Water Rule will "have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities."

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a bill addressing overgrown national forests.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) will host a screening of the TV show Fortitude and a discussion on climate issues. 

NEWS BITE:

A coalition of environmental groups asked a federal court Tuesday for permission to intervene to defend the federal government's new regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal land against state and industry challenges.

Earthjustice, which is representing the green groups, called the challenges by three states and two oil and gas industry groups "extreme" and "meritless" in a statement.

"Our public lands belong to all Americans," said Michael Freeman, the attorney representing the greens. "They should be managed under strong national standards that protect our water, land and wildlife -- not just to benefit oil and gas companies."

The decision to defend the Interior Department Bureau of Land Management's stance came despite environmentalists' strong disappointment with the rules that were finalized in March.

AROUND THE WEB:

Californians' water use fell 13.5 percent in April from a year earlier, an improvement over the previous three months but still short of the 25 percent goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the Los Angeles Times reports.

Prominent scientists, economists and business leaders in the United Kingdom have launched a global effort to fight climate change by emulating the race to the Moon, the Guardian reports.

The new premier of Alberta, Canada, said her government will release a new climate change plan for the province by the end of the month, the Calgary Herald reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

Check out Tuesday's stories...

-Obama budget chief criticizes Senate energy spending bill
-GOP, Obama see common ground on energy infrastructure
-Senators push bill updating brownfields program
-GOP chairman: Oil exports 'can be a win'
-Court rejects challenge to EPA's ozone powers
-GOP Rep expects Ex-Im Bank to pass the House this month
-$51B spending bill attracts veto threat
-Obama climate rule nearly complete
-Greens to challenge Arctic Ocean drilling in court

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