Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: House GOP moves on energy reform

MARKUP STARTS WEDNESDAY: The House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled the first part of its energy reform package.

Lawmakers in the energy and power subcommittee will meet Wednesday morning to formally consider legislation on infrastructure, workforce, energy security and energy efficiency, after releasing the bills late Monday.

{mosads}The Republican package avoids some of the most controversial, hot-button issues, like oil exports, instead focusing on provisions likely to earn some bipartisan support.

“Wednesday’s markup is the next step in ensuring we not only get this legislation done but get it done right,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

The provisions in the package include permit streamlining for natural gas pipelines, increased flexibility for utilities on environmental laws and electric grid modernization.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is working on her own energy reform package.

She said Tuesday that she hopes to release her legislation “very soon.”

Read more here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power subcommittee will mark up the committee’s energy reform bill. 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The House will begin considering a bill to reform an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coal ash bill. The Obama administration announced Tuesday it opposes the bill. 

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda …

The Senate Commerce Committee will hear testimony from Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration nominee Marie Therese Dominguez.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on threats to the electric grid from solar storms and electromagnetic pulses. Joseph McClelland, the director of the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will testify.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on recent changes to the “social cost” of carbon, a metric used by officials to determine which carbon regulations to pursue.

The House Transportation Committee will hear testimony from Mathy Stanislaus, the assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, on the federal Brownfields program.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) speaks at a U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council summit.

NEWS BITE: The Obama administration has threatened to veto the coal ash bill Republicans will bring to the House floor on Wednesday. 

In a statement of administration policy, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the bill would “undermine the protection of public health and the environment provided” by the rule, which outlines how power plants should dispose of the ash left over from burning coal. 

Republicans say the bill would give states flexibility by requiring them to set up their own systems for permitting coal ash sites, and it would block several aspects of the EPA’s rule. OMB said that would damage the rule.

“EPA’s rule articulates clear and consistent national standards to protect public health and the environment, prevent contamination of drinking water, and minimize the risk of catastrophic failure at coal ash surface impoundments,” OMB said. The Republican bill “would, however, substantially weaken these protections.” 


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has accused Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper of blocking efforts to combat climate change, the Guardian reports.

State officials have approved a provisional charter for a museum on climate change in New York City, the Associated Press reports.

Like their counterparts in Congress, Michigan lawmakers are looking to overhaul the state’s energy laws, MLive reports.


-Highway bill assumes huge jump in oil prices
Study attributes carbon drop to recession
-Senators huddle with Energy secretary on Iran
-Groups sue EPA to regulate hazardous spills
-Federal court upholds EPA pollutant rule
-Senate panel advances $95B tax break package
-O’Malley links ISIS to climate change
-Advocates worry Senate highway bill will flush water concerns
-World mayors talk climate change with Pope Francis
-House GOP unveils energy reform package

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill  


Tags electric grid Fred Upton House Energy and Commerce Committee pipelines
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