Neither the House nor the Senate will be voting today with the Senate’s next vote occurring late in the afternoon on Monday on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. House Democrats continue their annual policy meetings in Leesburg, VA today. Budget topics and how to deal with the sequestration, debt ceiling and annual appropriations are key concerns for the Members attending the meetings this week.
Other Items of Interest:
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) announced that he is running for Senate after four terms in the House. He is the first top tier candidate I the race and a strong contender to keep the seat in Democratic hands. Curiosity remains over whether Rep. Steve King (R-IA) or Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) might enter the race.
Sen. William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA) was sworn in on Thursdaynto serve as the state’s interim senator until a new senator is chosen in a June 25 special election. Cowan is filling the seat of former Sen. John Kerry. Cowan was picked last month by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. He is a trusted ally of the Democratic governor and formerly served as his chief of staff and chief legal counsel.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and the Alliance to Save Energy released a plan to double energy productivity by 2030. The recommendations include ideas for sparking investment, modernizing regulations to allow more rapid adoption of energy efficient technology upgrades, and the need for greater public engagement. A copy of the report and recommendations can be viewed here:
DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 227 will offer 38.6 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama for oil and gas exploration and development. The lease sale could lead to the production of nearly one billion barrels of oil and almost 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The sale, which will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on March 20, 2013. It will be the second sale under the Administration’s new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, and the first of five Central Gulf of Mexico lease sales that will be held under the program. Additional information about this announcement can be reviewed here: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/interior-to-offer-38-million-acres-for-oil-and-gas-development-in-central-gulf-of-mexico-lease-sale.cfm
David Vitter (R-LA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Mike Crapo (R-ID)introduced S. 251, the “Phantom Fuel Reform Act.” Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) yesterday introduced an identical House measure. The legislation would ensure that the volumes of cellulosic ethanol required are based on the actual amounts reasonably available. Meanwhile, the Secretary of Agriculture reaffirmed the Administration’s support for maintaining the RFS during an interview with Las Vegas.
On Thursday, the USGS announced that nonfuel mineral production values increased in the United States for the third consecutive year, up $1.7 billion since 2011. The estimated value of mineral raw materials produced at mines in the United States in 2012 was $76.5 billion, a slight increase from $74.8 billion in 2011. Net exports of mineral raw materials and old scrap contributed an additional $21 billion to the U.S. economy. More information about this announcement can be reviewed at: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3506&from=rss_home
On Thursday, DOE and the Treasury announced the availability of $150 million in Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing projects across the US. The announcement can be viewed at: http://www.doe.gov/articles/energy-department-treasury-announce-availability-150-million-tax-credits-clean-energy
A bipartisan group of House Energy and Commerce Committee Members sent a letter to the EPA requesting additional information about fraud in the RFS program related to the issuance and tracking of RINs. A copy of the letter can be reviewed at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/letters/20130207EPA.pdf
The EPA released state by state tracking of compliance and enforcement actions. The information is on EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website, which includes data for 800,000 regulated facilities. EPA said the maps are meant to increase transparency in an easy-to-understand format for the public. The comparative maps are available at http://www.epa-echo.gov/echo/stateperformance/comparative_maps.html
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
Committee Assignments: Natural Resources and Agriculture
Chief of Staff: Mark Spannagel
Legislative Director: Kevin Eastman
Experience: Congressman LaMalfa is a fourth generation rice farmer and business owner from Northern California all his life. He earned his degree in Ag/Business from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He manages the family farming business originally founded by his great-grandfather in 1931. An active leader in Northern California agriculture, Doug was elected as a founding director of the California Rice Commission from Butte County. Doug also served on the Domestic Promotion Committee of the USA Rice Federation. He was elected to the State Assembly in 2002 and left in 2008 due to term limits. In 2010 he was elected to the 4th Senate District receiving more votes in than any other legislative candidate in the state.
Importance: Rep. LaMalfa believes in protecting water rights and developing more water storage. He has continually advocated for increasing California’s water supply. He has been a leader in opposing burdensome environmental regulations that place fairy shrimp and fish ahead of human needs. In 2004, he was the only California Legislator invited to testify at a Congressional Field hearing to restrict the overreaching federal Endangered Species Act. As a farmer and small business owner with direct experience dealing with federal regulation and the ESA, Rep. LaMalfa is expected to be a strong and consistent voice in favor of scaling back and streamlining regulations where possible. As a Member of the Natural Resources Committee, he is in a good position to push for ESA reform.
Previous updates and new Member profiles can be reviewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com.
If you have any questions, please give me a call at any time. Hope you have a great Friday and a nice weekend.
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006