Today in DC

Today in Washington
Thursday, May 9th, 2013 

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And the Debates Continue:

The House and the Senate are in session today.  The Senate will continue its consideration of legislation reauthorizing the Water Resource Development Act (S. 601) while the House will consider legislation prioritizing federal payments if the government fails increase the nation’s statutory debt ceiling (H.R. 807). 
The Senate began processing amendments to the WRDA bill yesterday and included a measure authorizing the creation of a National Endowment for the Oceans sponsored by Sen. Whitehouse.  If passed into law, the provision could provide funding for the establishment of regional planning bodies, a precursor to coastal marine spatial planning/ocean zoning efforts.  Consideration of the WRDA bill in the Senate is expected to wrap up next week.
In other political news today, Senator Vitter announced that no Republican Members would attend the planned business meeting to consider the nomination of Gina McCarthy to serve as the next Administrator of the EPA.  Senate Rule require at least two members of the minority and a majority of the Members be present to conduct official business. 
Yesterday’s Quote of the Day: 
“I struggle with the very notion that we allow the imposition of the federal government’s mediocrity on our state’s excellence”—Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) at the House Natural Resources Hearing reviewing a potential BLM rule on hydraulic fracturing and the role of state regulators.
Other Items of Interest:
DOI Appoints New Climate Change Advisory Committee:  DOI Secretary Sally Jewell announced the members of a newly created federal advisory committee who will provide guidance about the Interior Department’s climate change adaptation science initiatives. The Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science will advise the Secretary of the Interior about the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers, which are managed by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Twenty-five committee members were selected from more than 100 nominations received by the In. Members represent Interior and other federal agencies; tribal, state, and local governments; nongovernmental organizations; academic institutions; and the private sector.
DOI Secretary Jewell Meets with Oil and Gas Industry Leaders in Houston:  Sec. Jewell met with leaders in the oil and gas industry during her trip to Houston, TX to attend the annual Offshore Technology Conference.  While at the event, she expressed her desire for a more collaborative relationship with industry and stressed the need for the Department to stay up to date on the latest technologies available to minimize the potential for environmental harm from resource extraction.  She also expressed support for completing seismic surveys of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic regions before consideration of additional lease sales in those areas.  The timing and order of these events presents some interesting challenges for companies interested in development in these new areas.
BLM Announces New Plan For Cleanup of NPR-A Wells:  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a draft plan for the cleanup of decades-old exploration wells drilled by the federal government in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The BLM draft plan identifies 50 sites that require remediation, and places a priority on just 16 wells for cleanup work.  From 1944 to 1981, the federal government drilled 136 exploratory wells in the NPR-A, and then abandoned them. Only 16 of the 136 wells have been properly plugged, and seven of those were taken care of by the North Slope Borough, not by BLM, which is responsible for the wells. Senator Murkowski responded to the announcement encouraging the new effort and urging the BLM to expand its efforts on the long-overdue federal cleanup.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Passes Five Bills: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources completed its review and favorably reported out of committee five energy bills that are now ready for consideration on the Senate Floor.  The bills include:  S. 306, a bill to authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydropower development under Federal Reclamation law; S. 545, a bill to improve hydropower; S. 761, a bill to promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry;H.R. 267, a bill to improve hydropower; and H.R. 678, a bill to authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydropower development under Federal Reclamation law.
Joint Committee on Taxation releases Report on Tax Reform Working Group Efforts:  The Joint Committee on Taxation released a report on the efforts of the 11 Tax Reform Working Groups and provides a detailed assessment of current law and the options presented through the public comments submitted to the committee.  The Committee intends to use the report as a way of framing the tax reform debate weighing various options over the next few months.  (Note the Correction:  The Joint Committee on Taxation was inadvertently referred to as the Joint Tax Committee in previous updates)
Hearings and Events:
Senate EPW Committee to Consider McCarthy Nomination:  Today at 9:15 AM in 406 Dirksen, the Senate Environment and Public Works will hold a full committee hearing on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Additional information on the meeting can be found here.
Hearing on Grid Reliability: Today at 9:30 AM n 2123 Rayburn, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “American Energy Security and Innovation: Grid Reliability Challenges in a Shifting Energy Resource Landscape.”  Additional information can be found here.
Member of the Day:  US Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) 

Committee Assignments: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Small Business
Chief of Staff: Nicholas Zupancic
Legislative Director: Adam Echman
Twitter: @reptipton
Experience:  Rep. Tipton attended college at Ft. Lewis College, where he studied political science.  Upon graduation, he returned to his home of Cortez and, with his brother, founded a pottery business. In 2008, after spending his entire career as a small businessman, Tipton was elected to the State House.  Two years later, he was elected to the US House of Representatives.  Rep. Tipton and his wife, Jean, have two daughters.
Importance: Rep. Tipton has used his positions on the pivotal Agriculture and Natural Resources committees to effect legislation regarding Colorado’s natural resources.  He has worked on legislation to encourage healthy forest management, including the prevention of wildfires.  He also worked to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights.  With respect to energy, Rep. Tipton has championed an all-of the-above strategy. He has authored legislation that called for the advance and development of clean, renewable energy.  As part of the American Domestic Energy Act, he put requirements in place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale, and minerals.  Tipton’s lifelong small business experience provides him a great foundation for which to understand the impacts of the cost and demand for energy on job and economic growth.  He will continue to champion the issues that impact small businesses and the vast open spaces of his state.
If you have any questions, please give me a call anytime. Previous updates and Member profiles can be reviewed at: Hope you have a great day!
Michael Zehr
HBW Resources
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006
Direct: 202-429-6081
Cell: 202-277-3927
Twitter: @mzehrhbw


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