US Senator Tim Johnson officially announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, providing another potential pickup opportunity for Senate Republicans looking to reclaim the majority or at least shrink the margins between the two parties in the upcoming elections. Sen. Johnson’s announcement follows the retirement announcements of Senators Rockefeller, Chambliss, Johanns, Harkin, Lautenberg, and Levin. The announced retirements this cycle combined with the last two elections has the Senate looking at one of the largest waves of new members in close to forty years. The last election brought over one hundred new members into office marking drastic turnover in both the composition and experience of both chambers. Such shift has many Washington interests considering the pros and cons of new vantage points and the loss of institutional knowledge at a time when Congressional paralysis threatens to permanently diminish the role of the legislative branch in the policy setting process.
While Congress is out session this week, attention turned to the Supreme Court which heard oral arguments yesterday on the Constitutionality of California’s Prop. 8, banning same-sex marriage. Supporters and opponents staged protests outside the Court, which is expected to release its opinion in late June.
Other Items of Interest:
Administration Releases National Climate Change Strategy
yesterday, the Administration released the first nationwide strategy to guide public decision makers’ actions to address the impacts that climate change is having on natural resources. The document was developed in response to a request by Congress and produced by the USFWS is the product of extensive national dialogue that spanned nearly two years and was shaped by comments from more than 55,000 Americans. Additional information and a copy of the strategy document can be reviewed here: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/national-strategy-will-help-safeguard-fish-wildlife-and-plants-in-a-changing-climate.cfm
Politico Reports New CEO of ANGA Selected
America’s Natural Gas Alliance is bringing on Marty Durbin to serve as its CEO.
Durbin comes on following the departure of Regina Hopper, who left at the end of January to return to communications litigation practice. Durbin has been serving as the American Petroleum Institute’s executive vice president of government affairs, and he previously worked at the American Chemistry Council. A link to the Politico story is here: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/new-ceo-for-natural-gas-alliance-89354.html#ixzz2OjudxaFt
CEA Participates in BOEM Public Hearings on Offshore Development in Florida
Consumer Energy Alliance participated at public hearings in Tallahassee hosted by BOEM. BOEM has completed a draft EIS for two proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. According to people at the hearings, nobody attended that was against proceeding with the leases in the Gulf Eastern Planning Area . CEA Florida Executive Director Kevin Doyle, David Mica from the Florida Petroleum Council and a couple of pro-energy citizens attended and gave public comments. Below are three media hits from yesterday:
Historic City News Consumer Energy Alliance supporting oil and gas leases
Capital Soup – Tallahassee CEA-Florida to Feds: Increased Offshore Energy Development Helps Consumers, Creates Jobs
Rigzone CEA Offers Remarks Ahead of Lease Sale Hearings
DOE Launches Clean Manufacturing Initiative
DOE’s new Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) will be focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity. The initiative includes private sector partnerships, new funding from the Department, and enhanced analysis of the clean energy manufacturing supply chain that will guide the Department’s future funding decisions. additional information about the initiative an d funding opportunities can be reviewed here: http://www.doe.gov/articles/energy-department-launches-new-clean-energy-manufacturing-initiative
EPA Study Shows Over Half of US Rivers and Waterways are in Poor Condition
The EPA released the results of the first comprehensive survey looking at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, finding that more than half – 55 percent – are in poor condition for aquatic life. The findings of the assessment included that: nitrogen and phosphorus are at excessive levels, decreased vegetation cover is putting waterways at risk, there are increased bacteria levels, and there are increased mercury levels. EPA plans to use this new data to inform decision making about addressing critical needs around the country for rivers, streams, and other waterbodies. More information can be found here: http://www.epa.gov/aquaticsurveys
New Member of the Day: Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)–Repeat
Committee Assignments: Foreign Relations and Science
Chief of Staff: Chara McMichaell
Legislative Director: Artur Suchorzewski
Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2008, Rep. Weber served on the committees of Environmental Regulation, Public Education, and as Vice Chair of Border and Intergovernmental Affairs. Before politics, Rep. Weber started an air conditioning company, Weber’s Air & Heat, in 1981. After establishing his company, he served on the Pearland City Council from 1990-1996. During that time, he was elected to serve as president of the Brazoria County Cities Association. He is a graduate of Alvin Community College and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.
As Congressman Paul’s successor, Rep. Randy Weber is expected to consistently represent conservative principles. He opposes the United Nations, wants to see President Barack Obama’s health-insurance law repealed, and pledges he’ll fight legislation curtailing gun ownership as contrary to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Weber opposes abortion and wrote legislation while in the Texas statehouse requiring doctors to perform a sonogram and inform patients of the possible health impacts that may arise. He is an advocate for states’ rights and says the federal government shouldn’t have a say in dictating local standards. His district, situated along the Gulf of Mexico, confronts challenges stemming from drugs and crime coming emerging from nearby ports and border towns. He will serve a a good barometer of where some of the most conservative Members of this this class of GOP freshman will be on issues before the chamber.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Previous updates and Member profiles can be reviewed here: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great Wednesday!
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