Tuesday in Washington:
Prayers to the Families and the City of Boston:
While Members of Congress and the public await additional briefings and information on the bombings, both the House and the Senate will be in session today. Following the tragedy in Boston, the legislative agenda for the week will be in flux. However, Committees are still set to conduct a series of oversight hearings on the FY 2014 budget proposal
The House will be considering trio of cyber security bills under suspension and the last votes are expected to wrap up by 2:30 PM. The Senate will continue consideration of gun control legislation.
There will be two hearings today on H.R. 3, legislation expediting the approval and construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a markup of the bill while the House Natural Resources Committee holds alegislative hearing to review elements necessary to expedite construction.
Other Items of Interest:
Senate Energy Committee to Vote on Moniz Nomination This Week: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee announced that they will be considering the nomination of Dr. Ernest Moniz to serve as the next Secretary of Energy at a business meeting this Thursday.
National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan Close To Release: It is expected that the final version of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan could be released as early as today. The policy and implementation have been the source of continued Congressional inquiry for the last few years with over 60 different departments and agencies involved despite virtually no mention of the policy in budget documents or appropriations bills. Additional information about the National Ocean Policy and some of the issues associated with it can be found here.
New Frontier for Sub-Salt: An interesting article appeared yesterday highlighting the potential for additional vast natural resource plays in the shallow waters off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. While technical challenges for the deep wells are significant, tests wells are expected in the next year. If the estimates hold up, these new fields could add additional momentum to the movement towards North American energy self-sufficiency.
USDA and DOT Renew Agreement to Pursue Renewable Aviation Fuel: USDA announced that it is extending for five years its agreement to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other partners to help develop a viable biofuel for the aviation industry. The Secretary signed the agreement with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the Advanced Biofuels Summit in Maryland yesterday. The new agreement, which includes partners from the commercial aviation sector, follows the initial success of the 2010-2012 “Farm to Fly” initiative.
USDA Proposes Simplified Application Process for Renewable Energy Funding: The USDA hasproposed a series of changes to make it easier for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to apply for renewable energy and energy efficiency funding. The proposed changes would affect applications for loans and grants through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). They would: reduce paperwork, especially for projects under $80,000; implement a more objective and uniform system to score applications; authorize funding for refurbished and retrofitted renewable energy systems; reduce certain reporting requirements; and establish a quarterly application period for applicants seeking only guaranteed loans. This change is intended to make the program more appealing to lenders and to ensure that funds are available year-round. A copy of the announcement can be found here.
Chemical Safety Board Releases Report on California Refinery Accident: The report suggests the need for greater oversight and preparedness at the local, county and state levels to prevent refinery accidents in the future. The Chemical Safety Board is soliciting email comment on its report through the address firstname.lastname@example.org. The board will vote to officially approve the report and its recommendations after an April 19 public meeting in Richmond, CA. A copy of the report can be viewed here.
EPA Releases EPA Publishes 18th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory: EPA released its 18th annual report of overall U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions showing a 1.6 percent decrease in 2011 from the previous year. Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors including reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather. Additional information on the report can be viewed here.
Energy Related Committee Hearings Today:
Forest Service Hearing: Today at 10 AM, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the president’s FY2014 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service. Thomas Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service will be testifying. Link
Antiquities Act Hearing: Today at 10 AM, the House Natural Resources Committee, Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on a number of bills restricting the use of the Antiquities Act to set aside lands from potential development. Link
Bureau of Reclamation Budget Hearing: Today at 2 PM, the Natural Resources Committee Water and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Examining the Proposed FY2014 Spending, Priorities and the Missions of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Four Power Marketing Administrations and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Program.” Link
Wind Energy Incentives: Today at 2 PM, the House Science Committee Energy Subcommittee and Oversight Subcommittee joint hearing on “Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Wind Energy Incentives.” Link
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)
Committee Assignments: Oversight and Government Reform and Small Business
Chief of Staff: Rob Wasinger
Legislative Director: Tim Witt
Experience: Rep. Bentivolio’s background includes military service, business, automotive design, real estate, political activism, education, and community involvement. After high school, Kerry enlisted into the U. S. Army, serving as an infantry rifleman in Vietnam. After his military service, he earned a degree in Liberal Arts from Oakland Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College and a Master of Education from Marygrove College. He has taught English, history, social studies and computer-aided design. He continued his military service in the Army National Guard until he suffered a neck injury while deployed in Iraq in 2007 at the age of 56. He and his wife run a small farm where they raise chickens, honeybees, reindeer, and have a small vineyard.
Importance: Rep. Bentivolio now represents the seat once held by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter. He was supported by both national and local Tea Party leaders for his belief in a smaller federal government, lower taxes and fewer regulations. He believes that any right that the federal government has not explicitly been granted by the Constitution is reserved for the states or the people. As a former educator, Rep. Bentivolio has urged less federal involvement in education, preferring to give states and local communities greater control. His election involved a number of very interesting events, from McCotter’s retirement to losing in a special election and winning in a general election on the same day. He is a very interesting Member whose broad experiences will serve him well in his role on the House Oversight Committee.
If you have any questions, please give me a call anytime. Previous updates and Member profiles can be reviewed at:http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you have a great Tuesday!
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