On April 12, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Energy Budget” with testimony from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. The wide-ranging discussion covered the Administration’s request for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which would see a 70% reduction from Fiscal Year 2018; the Yucca Mountain project and legacy cleanup responsibilities; pipeline safety; encouraging innovation in the private sector; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; resiliency in the electric grid; fusion energy research; cybersecurity infrastructure; fuel security; and Small Refinery Waivers.
On July 20, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report directing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop solutions to improve the cyber and physical security and overall resilience of the US electrical grid. The report, which was first initiated by Congress following the massive outages caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2014 and is further driven by recent malware infections found on the servers at a nuclear plant, addresses threats to the grid posed by natural disasters and malicious cyberattacks.
With the election just a week away, ML Strategies, Mintz Levin’s consulting affiliate, has conducted in-depth analysis of possible House and Senate committee leadership changes, including committees that effect energy technology policies. Leadership of a number of House and Senate committees is bound to change due to term-limits, retirements, and perhaps election results, including the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources House committees, and the Energy and Natural Resources and Environment and Public Works Senate committees. ML Strategies has outlined those potential changes in either a Republican- or a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. To read more about these potential Congressional leadership changes, read on!
The House of Representatives and Senate returned September 6 from the long August recess that started in mid-July. The House is scheduled to be in session for four weeks and the Senate for five weeks before breaking again for the month of October to campaign. Energy legislation will be debated at the conference of the energy bills (S.2012 and H.R. 8) and potentially during an end of the year tax extenders debate. For further information on energy legislation updates, continue reading!
Energy and environment debates are heated in Washington this week, as the Senate continues negotiations over the Keystone XL pipeline and Congressional tax reform debates get underway. Lawmakers have already introduced more than 20 amendments to the controversial pipeline legislation, and others have already floated several avenues for reaching common ground on a tax reform agreement in the coming months. Outside of Congress, many other developments have grabbed headlines in energy circles, including the approval of the giant SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, the announcement of US-India climate cooperation, and the replacement of outgoing OMB Director John Podesta.
Get the inside scoop on these and other pressing issues in this week’s Energy and the Environment update from ML Strategies, available in its entirety here.
Energy and environment debates are alive and well in Washington this week, as the Senate begins negotiations over the Keystone XL pipeline and policy-makers react to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address from President Obama. Click here to see ML Strategies’ full update on all things energy and environment in Washington this week, including such topics as:
- Amendments to S.1, which would authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline;
- New energy legislation introduced;
- The NOAA and NASA’s announcement that 2014 was the warmest year on record; and
- The release of the Energy Information Agency (E.I.A.)’s Short Term Energy Outlook.
Energy Tech Matters and ML Strategies will continue to be your go-to for analysis on these and all other energy and environmental topics throughout the course of the new year. Stay tuned!
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
The 114th Congress and the final two years of the Obama Administration include a full energy and environment agenda.
With some new energy and environment leadership on the relevant Congressional committees, chairs and ranking members are beginning to lay out their priorities for the next two years.
While the Keystone XL pipeline is the first energy issue out of the gate this Congress, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said January 8 that the committee would hold a hearing on the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33) later this month, and that she hopes to find common ground for comprehensive energy legislation this spring. She also hopes to address offshore oil and gas development, an issue she worked on with former Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA), but on which she disagrees with new Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Senator Murkowski envisions the broad energy package centering on four main areas: strengthening supply, modernizing infrastructure, supporting efficiency, and ensuring federal accountability.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
Congress returns for the 114th session January 6, and efforts are underway to prepare for an eventful two years on Capitol Hill as well as the final two years of the Obama Administration.
Energy and environment issues, in particular, are likely to play a key role in 2015, much like they did in 2014, from the Keystone XL debate to international climate negotiations to a host of Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed late last year to make the Keystone XL pipeline the first order of business for the upper chamber, and his colleagues are already moving quickly on the issue. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing January 7 to consider legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline and will take a vote on the measure the following day, setting the stage for a floor vote as early as next week. The committee approved identical language from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in June. Senate Democrats are expected to introduce several amendments to the bill, but only a few will ultimately vote for the measure – how many that few actually is remains the key question, with many predicting that there are at least 61 votes for the bill, including seven Democrats. If the upper chamber does approve the legislation and the president vetoes it, both sides are confident that they could win the fight, as getting to the necessary 67 votes to override a presidential veto will be the truly difficult battle. The House, which has passed several pro-Keystone measures in the past couple of years, will take up similar language in the near future. President Obama last month expressed skepticism over the project’s economic benefits, but the White House has yet to outright threaten to veto Keystone legislation. The president did say December 29 that he expects to veto legislation this year that would block or impede his climate and environmental policies. In the meantime, the Nebraska Supreme Court will soon rule on the route approval process, and a federal decision is likely to follow soon thereafter.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
The House and Senate are in session for just a few more days prior to adjourning the 113th Congress. Remaining issues to address during the lame duck include the hybrid omnibus-continuing resolution, which could close out most work on fiscal 2015 spending and fund the government after December 11, a tax extenders package, completing the Defense authorization, a terrorism risk insurance extension, which expires December 31, and a handful of other last minute measures.
With Congress returning for the final days of the lame duck session before Republicans assume control of both chambers in the 114th Congress, and President Obama entering the final two years of his term, several energy and environmental issues remain unfinished. Several of these issues may play out before we ring in the new year, and others will await calendar time in 2015.