The Senate is not in session this week, but the House convenes briefly to consider legislation providing disaster assistance to those states and individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy. The House Rules Committee is expected to take up the legislation on Monday with consideration on the House floor the following day.
On the energy front, A $33 billion amendment offered by Rep. Frelinghuysen includes $150 million for the creation of state and regional planning bodies– a precursor for implementation of the National Ocean Policy and the establishment of an ocean zoning regime that threatens to vastly complicate ocean resource development. Rep. Flores has offered an amendment to strip this funding. House republicans will spend the remainder of the week in Williamsburg, VA for their annual retreat.
Other Items of Interest:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet on Wednesday to resolve differences over safety rules adopted after the meltdown in Japan. The meeting will focus on the industry’s progress in complying with the standards by the end of 2016. Nuclear-plant operators must install back-up equipment to ensure that reactors and spent-fuel pools can be kept cool after the facility loses electric power, add instruments to monitor spent-fuel cooling pools, and construct sturdier venting systems to prevent damage to reactor cores in older reactors.
DOE Issues Plan for Interim Storage: DOE released the strategy Jan. 11. It calls for a consent-based, phased, and adaptive approach including a pilot interim storage facility, a larger, full-scale interim storage facility, and a geologic repository.Under the Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste, a pilot interim storage facility with an initial focus on accepting used fuel from shut-down reactor sites would be operating by 2021.The larger, permanent facility would be determined by 2048. Sen. Murkowski intends to introduce legislation supporting the implementation of the plan. A copy of the plan is available at: http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=fwhe-93utpj
Interesting interview on Platts about LNG exports. It is short and goes into the market demand, the size of the market, the challenges faced by industry, and the prospects for US leadership. You can watch the interview at: http://www.plattsenergyweektv.com/news/article/237990/293/011313-How-Strong-are-the-Prospects-for-LNG-Exports-
New member of the day: US Senator Heidi Heitkamp
Elected: 2012, defeated Rep Berg
Experience: ND AG, ND State Tax Collector, EPA Attorney, and external board director of the Dakota Gasification Co. a closely held company operating a commercial-scale coal-fired natural gas manufacturing plant
Committee Assignments: Agriculture, Banking, Homeland Security, Indian Affairs, and Small Business
Importance: As a Democrat representing one of the largest oil producing states in the US, Senator Heitkamp has the opportunity to cross party lines and build consensus on energy and environmental issues that have become politically contentious in recent years. This role has been played by a small but influential cohort of members, including Sen. Landrieu, Sen. Begich, Sen. Pryor, and Sen. Manchin. As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Heitkamp is in a unique position to assist the energy sector dealing with new regulatory requirements stemming from the passage of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform law.
Chief of Staff: Tessa Gould
Deputy COS: Rory Steele
Legislative Director: Tracee Sutton
Communications Director: Whitney Phillips
Summary current as of 11/25/2012 from FEC Quarterly Filings
Contributions by Type Percentage Total
Individual Contributions 74% $3,962,470
PAC Contributions 15% $778,328
Candidate self-financing 0% $9,417
Other 11% $589,547