Tuesday in Washington:
Slow Week: The House and the Senate continue their two week recess. The Hill is preparing for the President to release his budget blueprint with hearings on the details expected to dominate Congressional Committee activity over the next few weeks.
Offices were also considering the impact that the pipeline rupture and oil spill in Arkansas could have on the decision making process for the Keystone XL pipeline, with opponents pointing to the accident as proof that pipelines present threats to the environment. Congressman Ed Markey, Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, even used the accident to drum up support for legislation he introduced earlier this year to require Canadian oil sands producers to pay into an oil spill cleanup fund. The White House has said the incident would not factor into their decisions on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Other Items of Interest:
Studies Continue to Tie Storage of Waste Water from Fracking to Increased Seismicity
A recent study in the scientific journal Geology, has renewed interest in the ties between wastewater injection and earthquakes. Opponents of hydraulic fracturing hope to use the connection to slow the use of the technique for oil and gas development. Proponents point to other factors that can increase seismicity and note that the incidents are not the result of directional drilling or hydraulic fracturing per se, but rather the EPA approved method for storage of waste water. A review of the various studies can be viewed here: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/wastewater-injection-spurred-biggest-earthquake-yet-says-study. An abstract of the study published in Geology can be viewed here: http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2013/03/26/G34045.1.abstract.
Nomination Hearing for Gina McCarthy to Head the EPA Planned for April 11th
Bloomberg reported that the nomination hearing for McCarthy to head the EPA has be scheduled for April 11th. The hearing is expected to provide many members of the Senate an opportunity to express concerns about the regulatory agenda of the agency and her plans moving forward. A number of Senators have indicated that they may hold her nomination, but the hearing could provide opportunities for her to assuage those Members’ concerns.
API Publishes New Drilling Standards for Deepwater Well Design and High-Pressure Equipment
The deepwater well design standards will provide engineers with a system-wide reference for offshore well design, drilling and completion operations in deep water. The standards for High-Pressure High-Temperature Equipment establishes a process for evaluating equipment used in high-pressure and/or high-temperature (HPHT) environments both on and offshore. Additional information about API’s standards can be found here: http://www.api.org/news-and-media/news/newsitems/2013/april-2013/api-publishes-new-industry-standards-for-drilling-operations.
Farm Foundation Forum Hosts Natural Gas Discussion
On April 3rd at 9:00 AM, the Farm Foundation Forum will hold a forum on “Natural Gas Extraction: Impacts on Rural America.” The panelist will include: Brian Rahm, research associate at the New York State Water Resources Institute; Lee Fuller, vice president of government relations at the Independent Petroleum Association of America; Shannon Ferrell, assistant professor at Oklahoma State University; Larry Sanders, professor at Oklahoma State University; and former Rep. Charlie Stenholm, D-Texas. The event will be held at the National Press Club. Additional information and registration can be found here: http://www.farmfoundation.org/registrations/event.aspx?eid=342.
CNP Hosts DOD Energy Innovations Discussion
On April 3rd at 3:00 PM, the Center for National Policy (CNP) will hold a discussion on “#CleanAndMean: DoD’s Tactical and Operational Energy Innovations.” The panelists will include: Assistant Defense Secretary for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke; and Mike Breen, executive director of CNP. The event will be held at the CNP at 1 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 333, Washington, DC.
Additional information and registration can be found here: http://cnponline.org/ht/display/EventDetails/i/42086.
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC)
Committee Assignments: Financial Services
Chief of Staff: Brad Jones
Legislative Director: Austen Jensen
Rep. Pittenger was born and raised in Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas, he worked with Campus Crusade for Christ for 10 years. In 1985, he and his family moved to Charlotte where he built a real estate investment company from scratch. As a three-term Republican state Senator, he focused on strengthening the state’s financial foundations and proposed over $1.5 billion in spending cuts to balance the state’s budget. He led the fight for lower taxes for families and to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid. For his efforts, he received awards from conservative organizations such as Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform and the Tax Foundation. He also earned an A rating from the NRA for his strong support of North Carolina’s sportsmen. He has served as President of the Foundation for North Carolina’s Future and the Outreach Carolina ‘Power to Change’ campaign. He has also served on the board of groups as diverse as the Presbyterian Hospital Foundation, the Crossnore School, the Jesse Helms Educational Foundation and the CPCC Foundation.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee in the 113th Congress, Rep. Pittenger holds a position that could give him influence over an issue on which he campaigned for election in 2012: overturning the Dodd-Frank law, which tightened regulation of financial services. The issues involving the financial sector are very important to his district which included parts of Charlotte and its suburbs, the home of Bank of America and a number of other large banking firms. He is a successful businessman and was able to provide significant financial support to his own campaign, outspending his opponent by 6 to 1 to win.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Previous updates and new Member profiles can be viewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great day!
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006