Overnight Energy: Regulators say Perry plan didn’t pass legal muster | Chamber to push for 25-cent gas tax hike | Energy expert sees US becoming 'undisputed leader' in oil, gas

Overnight Energy: Regulators say Perry plan didn’t pass legal muster | Chamber to push for 25-cent gas tax hike | Energy expert sees US becoming 'undisputed leader' in oil, gas
© Getty Images

FERC COMMISSIONERS TALK PERRY COAL PLAN: Two Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners (FERC) said Tuesday that Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryTop National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative Rick Perry to rejoin dental insurance company as chief strategy officer MORE's plan to prop up coal and nuclear plants wouldn't have passed legal muster.

Republican Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeHillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE and Democrat Cheryl LaFleur said at a Bipartisan Policy Center event that Perry and other supporters of the plan never showed that it would withstand court challenges or otherwise fit into the laws that govern FERC.

"I came to the conclusion that my colleagues did, that while I feel Secretary Perry asked the right question, he proposed the wrong remedy," Chatterjee said.


"The remedy that was proposed in the [plan] did not meet the legal test that the commission needed."

LaFleur agreed, saying that Perry's proposal "was not just and reasonable" -- the standard FERC must use under the Federal Power Act.

"A resilience issue had not been demonstrated," she said.

Perry asked FERC, an independent commission, in September to require that electric grid operators pay more for electricity from power plants with at least 90 days of fuel on-site, a standard that only coal and nuclear could meet.

It was made in the name of resilience, under the argument that if coal and nuclear plants keep closing, the grid is at risk of extended blackouts.

Read more here.


US OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION TO BE GREAT AGAIN: A global energy chief said he foresees the United States becoming the "undisputed leader" in oil and gas production for "years to come."

Speaking at an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Fatih Birol, executive director for the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that the U.S. is primed to lead the world in oil and gas production.

"With all the implications, this is the most important transformation we're seeing within the oil and gas industry," Fatah said while rolling out the IEA's World Energy Outlook for 2017.

Birol, a noted expert in the energy sector, echoed similar comments earlier Tuesday at a Senate Energy and Resources Committee hearing. Speaking on Capitol Hill, Birol told senators that the country's anticipated energy production dominance will be a result of a "shale revolution."

"The U.S. is becoming the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide," Birol said.

Read more here.


CHAMBER TO SEEK 25-CENT GAS TAX HIKE: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will advocate for a hike to the gas tax to fund plans for a massive infrastructure package, the organization's president said in a recently published interview.

"I've been pushing this for a long, long time, but now gangs of people are pushing it," Tom Donohue told The Washington Post.

The Chamber, which has for years backed an increase to the federal gas tax, will reportedly press for a 25-cent-per-gallon hike, an effort that comes ahead of the Trump administration's long-awaited infrastructure plan. The business group will unveil its strategy for the effort this week, the Post said.

"We just got a new tax bill for the first time in 31 years," Donohue told the newspaper.

"We're making some significant changes in regulatory reform. We've got a president -- everybody's got all their own views about him and what he stands for and all that -- but the guy's getting stuff done ... and he's a builder. I think we can get some help here."

The Chamber previously campaigned for an increase to the gas tax to fund projects aimed at rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, even partnering with the AFL-CIO in 2011 to press Congress on the subject. In 2015, the Chamber, along with the American Trucking Association and AAA auto club, pushed Congress to up the gas tax in order to finance the Highway Trust Fund.

Read more here.


COURT TO HEAR LAWSUIT AGAINST COAL LEASING: A federal appeals court will hear a case brought by environmentalists suing the federal government over the environmental impacts of its coal-leasing program.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Tuesday that it will hear an oral argument in March over the lawsuit, brought by the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Friends of the Earth against Interior Department Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeInternational hunting council disbands amid litigation Europe deepens energy dependence on Russia Overnight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks MORE.

The suit claims that the federal government is underplaying the impact of mining coal on the land it leases.

"[The Interior Department] has never seriously accounted to itself or the public regarding the climate-change contributions of a program that singlehandedly accounts for eleven percent of total U.S. carbon emissions," the brief reads.

In a response to the request for appeal, the defendant said, "Although the Plaintiffs' brief, in this case, goes into great detail about the science of global climate change, plaintiffs do not challenge any substantive agency action or allege a failure to carry out."

Read more here.


NEW ADDITION: Today is Miranda Green's first day joining The Hill's energy team. She comes from CNN, where she covered breaking political news as well as the DOE, EPA and the Interior Department.

From Miranda: Hi all! Looking forward to keeping you up to date and contributing to the energy and environment team. The beat has been a passion of mine for some time now, and can't wait to dive in and provide perspective on the politics and policies of the day. Feel free to send tips (mgreen@thehill), or twitter follows (@mirandacgreen), my way. And brownie points for energy related Gifs!


ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Natural Resources Committee will debate and vote on nine federal land, national park and tribal bills within its jurisdiction.



General Electric CEO John Flannery said the company may break itself up, CNN reports.

A judge in Quebec, Canada, urged the jury in the trial of three railway workers involved in the Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster to keep deliberating Tuesday after they declared they were at an impasse, CBC News reports.

California is working toward proposing a new, scaled-back version of its massive Delta tunnels project, the Sacramento Bee reports.



Check out Tuesday's stories ...

- Appeals court to hear suit against Interior challenging effects of coal mine leasing

- Chief energy expert: US set to become 'undisputed leader' in oil and gas

- Chamber of Commerce to call for gas tax hike to pay for infrastructure

- Energy regulators: Perry's coal plan wasn't legally defensible

- BP's costs from 2010 oil spill grow $1.7 billion

- Week ahead: GOP looks to overhaul natural gas, utilities laws