Friday in Washington

Friday in Washington:
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Neither the House nor the Senate will have votes today. After the Rand Paul filibuster on Wednesday, the Senate took up and confirmed John Brennan to serve as the Director of the CIA. Next week, the Senate will be taking up legislation to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. While the House incorporated changes to defense related accounts, the Senate is expected to considering broadening the package to included other departments to mitigate the impacts sequester and provide addict all flexibility to the affected departments and agencies. The House and Senate have until March 27th to resolve the differences between the proposals to avert a government shutdown.

Other Items of Interest:

Interior Nomination Hearing Leads to More Questions
The nomination hearing for Sally Jewell to serve as the next Secretary of Interior did little to allay concerns her critics have expressed about her nomination. Additional information is expected to be provided when she responds to the Committee’s written questions she was unable to answer during the three hour hearing. The submitted testimony and a webcast of the hearing can be viewed here: http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=75010617-43f1-462e-8858-3a4ee100315e

House Committee Floats Keystone XL Legislation
House Energy and Commerce Committee Members released a discussion draft of legislation that will remove the decision on KXL from the president. The legislation, authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), will eliminate the need for a Presidential Permit and find that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, would satisfy all NEPA requirements. The legislation also limits the legal challenges that can be brought against the project to prevent further unnecessary delays. A copy of the draft legislation can be viewed here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/BILLS-113hr-PIH-NORA.pdf

Senator Levin Announces Plan to Retire
US Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he will be retiring at the end of his term in 2014. This adds to the growing list of Senators retiring in this cycle which includes Chambliss, Harkin, Rockefeller, Lautenberg, and Johanns. A copy of his announcement can be viewed here: http://www.levin.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/sen-carl-levin-announces-he-will-not-seek-re-election-in-2014.

OCS Governors Coalition Urges Jewell to Support Expanded Energy Development
The OCS Governors Coalition sent a letter to Sally Jewell prior to her confirmation hearing yesterday laying out their priorities and desire to work with the Department of Interior to allow expanded access and development of offshore resources, revenue sharing, and greater collaboration with coastal states. A copy of the letter can be viewed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yr3adpwvzrl7w14/OCS%20Gov%20Coalition%20Letter.pdf.

OMB to Review Mercury Rule
The OMB has begun the interagency review of a final rule for mercury and air toxics emissions from new power plants. The rule was sent to OMB on March 5th, and EPA intends to finalize the rule this month. The original version of the rule is being challenged in court while the revised rule awaits final publication. The proposed rule would set the mercury standard for new units at 0.003 pound per gigawatt-hour.

USFWS Grants Extension on Gunnison Sage-Grouse Comment Period
The USFWS notified lawmakers that it will grant a three-week extension of the comment period on its Gunnison sage-grouse proposal. The extension comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Colorado and Utah requested a 60-day extension of the comment period and formal hearings on the matter. FWS has proposed two rules that would list the Gunnison sage-grouse as an endangered species and would designate over 1.7 million acres of critical habitat in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. The initial public comment period, originally scheduled for March 12, 2013 will now close on April 2, 2013. There will be a second opportunity to comment for the economic analysis for the proposed critical habitat, which is expected to occur in May. A copy of the letter can be viewed here: http://www.bennet.senate.gov/download/?id=d51ed126-25d8-4b97-8e18-3fc027b01963.

House Resources Committee Questions Science Behind Sage-Grouse Activities
Chairman Hastings sent a letter to DOI and USFWS raising concerns of scientific integrity and the imposition of arbitrary deadlines surrounding the decision to potentially list the sage-grouse under the ESA. The letter requests detailed documents and information concerning the science supporting sage-grouse listing, the planning strategies for sage-grouse conservation, and The 2011multi-species ESA settlement with litigious anti-development groups. A copy of Chairman Hastings’ letter can be viewed here: http://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/03-07-13hastingsltrtosecsalazardirashe.pdf.

New Member of the Day: US Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA)
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Committee Assignments: Armed Services, Science

Contacts:
Chief of Staff: Michelle Dorothy
Legislative Director: Morgan Jones
Twitter: @ScottPetersSD

Experience: Rep. Peters earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and worked as an economist for the EPA before attending New York University School of Law. He served as a supervisor in the Office of San Diego County Counsel before starting his own firm. He was San Diego’s first City Council President where he pursued greater accountability and efficiency and led the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government. While in that position, he completed a $2 billion downtown redevelopment initiative including a new baseball stadium, water infrastructure upgrades resulting in a 80% reduction in sewer spills and beach closure days; reconstruction of the Torrey Pines South municipal golf course to host the 2008 US Open, and implementation of new energy and water conservation standards. He also oversaw the completion of major district infrastructure, including Highway 56, the North Torrey Pines Bridge, utility line undergrounding, two new fire stations, a new police substation and branch library, and 24 new parks. He then become Chair of the San Diego Unified Port District. He was also a member of the boards of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, CleanTECH San Diego and the UCSD Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board and as Chair of the Climate Initiative at The San Diego Foundation.

Importance: Rep. Peters is a self-described moderate, pro-business Democrat, a label that helped him secure the Democratic nomination before defeating incumbent Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA). He is an experienced opponent of government waste and inefficiency, but believes that government investments in infrastructure, education, and R&D are critical to supporting job growth and economic opportunity. His race against Rep. Bilbray was very close, not actually being called until Nov. 16. His district is heavily reliant upon Federal R&D funding and the Navy. He is expected to draw a legitimate challenge in the moderate district, and he is expected to demonstrate an independent streak with regards to voting as a result. With positions on both the Armed Services and Science Committees, he is well positioned to speak for the interests of his district; however, as a Member in the minority in the House from a targeted district, he will have to work very hard to advance his interests or find willing bipartisan collaborators to advance compromise legislation.

If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. If you would like to review previous updates of New Member profiles, please go to https://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great Friday!

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