Overnight Energy: House approves bill delaying mining rule

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN(TOP): The House on Tuesday passed a bill to delay an Obama administration coal rule designed to protect streams around mining operations.

Lawmakers approved Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyHouse GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm Vought Overnight Defense: House passes bills to rein in Trump on Iran | Pentagon seeks Iraq's permission to deploy missile defenses | Roberts refuses to read Paul question on whistleblower during impeachment trial Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation MORE's (R-W.Va.) bill on a 235 to 188 vote.

The bill would block an Office of Surface Mining coal rule that enhances buffer zones around streams where coal mining and waste is prohibited.


Republicans say the rule will hamstring the coal industry and lead to further job losses among miners. Democrats say those concerns are exaggerated and that the rule would protect public health and water quality against the controversial mountaintop removal mining process. The White House has threatened to veto the bill.

"This [rule] would be devastating to states like my home state of West Virginia, which have already been hit hard by President Obama's war on coal," Mooney said during floor debate on his bill.

The OSM rule has been a source of political angst for years. Republicans say the Interior Department has done a poor job of working with states on formalizing the rule, and House lawmakers have cleared legislation blocking the bill in past sessions, most recently in 2014.

Greens, the White House and Democrats have defended the rule, and they criticized Republicans on Tuesday for attempting again to block it.

"The majority is falling back on the same political playbook they've used time and time again: attack, obstruct and delay," Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) said. "It's really all about delay, it's not about the policy."

Read more here.

OIL KEEPS DROPPING: The price of crude oil dipped Tuesday to levels not seen in 12 years.

Crude in the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, the key United States domestic price, briefly dipped as low as $29.97 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday afternoon. It settled at $30.22 for the end of the trading day.

That's the lowest oil price since December 2003.

Oil markets are seeing a historic supply glut as production has increased in the United States. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, meanwhile, has continued to either refuse to pull back production or been unable to agree on production levels. OPEC leaders rejected a request from some member countries Tuesday to hold a meeting to consider supply cuts, sending prices tumbling further.

Read more here.

GET USED TO $2 GAS: Low energy prices are here to stay for the time being, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday.

The EIA predicted that gasoline prices will average $2.03 this year and only increase to $2.21 next year.

The main driver behind it is that crude oil prices will stay low as world markets continue to cope with a supply glut, EIA said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook

West Texas Intermediate crude oil, EIA said, will average $38.54 a barrel this year, only a few dollars above recent prices.

Diesel, heating oil and electricity prices are also expected to remain near their current lows, EIA said.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House is likely to vote on a resolution to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's waters of the United States rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule. The resolution works under the Congressional Review Act. The Senate passed the resolution in November, but President Obama has pledged to veto it.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, a Treasury Department official and United States chairman for the Green Climate Fund, will be a featured panelist at a Center for American Progress event on climate finance.


Alberta's new government could look to cut spending if oil prices remain low, the province's environment minister said Tuesday, per CBC News. (Related: Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary says he will invest $1 million in Canadian oil if Alberta Premier Rachel Notley resigns).

After a contentious four-hour meeting, the board of Jackson Township, N.J., failed again to vote on a proposed solar panel project at Six Flags Great Adventure, the Asbury Park Press reports.

A Pennsylvania environmental court sided with the state's environmental regulator over how it counts pollution from oil and natural gas wells, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.


Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-House votes to delay coal mining rule
-US assisting Ukraine in cyberattack investigation
-Oil dips below $30 per barrel
-Panel approves nuclear energy research bill
-Watchdog documents sexual harassment at Grand Canyon park
-Fossil fuel lobbies knock Obama ahead of State of the Union
-Greens ask the EPA to take over pollution enforcement in Texas
-Volkswagen CEO: 'We didn't lie' to US about auto emissions
-Report: John Edwards vying to represent drivers in VW lawsuit
-Critics of Obama trade pact seize on Keystone dispute 

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