The House will be in session today considering amendments to H.R. 444, the Require a Plan Act of 2013, which requires the president to submit a budget to congress that balances within the next ten years or submit a detailed accounting of when the government could achieve a balanced budget. The Senate will not be in session today with Senate Democrats meeting in Annapolis, MD to discuss plans for the 113th Congress. House Democrats will go to their retreat in Leesburg, VA on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Thus far, the discussions have focused on the best way to approach the sequestration cuts and possible revenue sources to pay for the additional spending. With GOP Members unwilling to address additional revenues unless significant budget cuts are made, the chances of the sequestration cuts occurring appear to be increasing.
Other Items of Interest:
Yesterday at the National press Club, Secretary Babbitt (Sec. of DOI under Clinton) proposed plan that for every acre of public lands leased to the oil and gas industry during President Obama’s term, one acre should be permanently protected – as a national park, wilderness area or national monument. The comment underscore a key conservation push that many expect to take place over the next four years. A copy of Sec. Babbitt’s remarks can be viewed at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4ijjhingidhk0eh/Babbitt%20announcement.pdf
The CBO announced that the US is expected to run a $845 billion deficit this year, the first time in five years that it has fallen below $1 trillion. However, the government is still projected to rack up at least $7 trillion in deficits over the next decade, which will push up the publicly held debt to $20 trillion by 2023. The CBO study can be reviewed at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/b6eoqtr6e88grx8/CBO%20Budget%20Outlook.pdf
Yesterday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued three Incidents of Non-Compliance (INC) based on the findings of a BSEE accident investigation panel concerning a fatal crane accident that occurred on August 16, 2011, on the offshore production platform, High Island A557 “A”. The INCs were issued to Energy Resource Technology GOM, Inc. (ERT GOM Inc.), the operator of the platform. More information on the INCs can be reviewed at: http://www.bsee.gov/BSEE-Newsroom/BSEE-News-Briefs/2013/Crane-Accident-INC.aspx
On Feb. 4th, BSEE Director Jim Watson and NEB Chair and CEO Gaétan Caron signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) encouraging information sharing and cooperation between the two regulators on government energy policy, regulatory development, specific energy projects and best practices for offshore energy decisions in the Arctic. The MOU can be viewed at: http://www.bsee.gov/uploadedFiles/BSEE/BSEE_Newsroom/BSEE_News_Briefs/2013/CanadienMOU.pdf.pdf
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the second year of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions data on its website yesterday including emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems. Overall, emissions were down 4.6 percent in 2011 from 2010 and the largest emitter remained the electric utilities, accounting for about a third of all carbon emissions tracked. Additional information can be found at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/715f5837da2615ef85257b09005ea7af!OpenDocument
At the Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing assessing North America’s energy resources, experts informed the Committee that unconventional oil and gas development has revolutionized the sector leading to levels of domestic production not seen since the 1980’s. Copies of testimony and the video of the hearing can be viewed here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/AESI-assessment-north-americas-energy-resources
New Member of the Day: US Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Committee Assignments: Agriculture, Armed Services, and Aging
Chief of Staff: Joel Elliot
Legislative Director: Andrew Lattanner
Experience: Senator Donnelly is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A. 1977, J.D. 1981). Prior to running for public office, He owned a small business and practiced law. He served on the Indiana State Election Board (1988-1989) and on the school board, serving one term as president, for Mishawaka Marian High School (1997-2001). Sen. Donnelly was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006 and was reelected twice, representing Indiana’s Second Congressional District for three terms.
Importance: Senator Donnelly’s moderate views make him an important swing vote in the Senate. While in the House, Donnelly affiliated with the Blue Dog Coalition, and was rarely a sure vote for party leadership. He claims to have voted with Republican Speaker John Boehner nearly 60 percent of the time; voting for a balanced budget constitutional amendment and against cap-and-trade. He is a strong supporter of domestic manufacturing and had the backing of the AFL-CIO in his election. As a representative of manufacturing with seats on the Agriculture and Armed Service Committees, he will be an interesting Member to watch on energy development and environmental issues as he could help broker compromise proposals with like-minded colleagues.
Older updates and new Member profiles can be viewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me anytime. Hope this is useful. Have a great Wednesday!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006