Today in Washington:
The Work Continues as the Challenges Mount:
In other news, political problems are mounting for the White House as investigations and oversight hearings dig deeper into both the events in Benghazi, Libya that led to the killing of a US Ambassador and three other Americans, and new information about the IRS’s targeting of specific groups for additional scrutiny based on their conservative political views. Neither of these issues are likely to go away anytime soon and could threaten both immigration reform and tax reform with the Administration and the White House having to expend more time and effort defending itself for its actions in these cases.
In Committee, Senator Wyden will hold his first of three natural gas forums today aimed at promoting greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by expanded production of domestic natural gas resources.
Other Items of Interest:
DOE Announces Support for Additional Hydrogen Infrastructure: The Energy Department announced a new public-private partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options for U.S. consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The new partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.
EIA Study Shows Net Decrease in Carbon Emissions In US States from 2000-2010: The US Energy Information Administration released a study showing state by state carbon emissions trends over the ten year period from 2000 to 2010. Emissions fell in 32 states and rose in 18 states. The greatest percentage decrease in carbon dioxide emissions occurred in Delaware at 27.9 percent, (4.5 million metric tons). The greatest absolute decline was 58.8 million metric tons in Texas (8.3 percent). New York experienced a decline of 38.6 million metric tons (18.3 percent). The greatest percentage increase was in Nebraska at 16.0 percent(6.6millionmetric tons), while Colorado experienced the greatest absolute increase (11.8million metric tons or 13.9 percent).
Legacy Well Draft Strategic Plan for NPR-A Meets Criticism: Recently, the BLM released a draft plan for the cleanup of legacy wells drilled by the federal government in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The cleanup plan targets 132 “legacy wells” drilled between 1944 and 1982 by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Geological Survey. Of those, 16 are considered high-priority cleanup projects, 34 are considered to pose moderate risks, warranting cleanup in later years, and the rest are considered safe enough to leave alone with 18 wells currently in use by the USGS for climate monitoring. The plan has been criticized by both federal and state officials from Alaska for proposing inadequate funding, long time frames, and suggesting that the state of Alaska should pay for a portion of the federal cleanup. Sen. Murkowski declared the plan “dead on arrival,” while the state legislature has rename the wells, “travesty wells.”
NOAA Announces Historic Carbon Dioxide Levels: On May 9, NOAA announced that the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958. Independent measurements made by both NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been approaching this level during the past week. It marks an important milestone because Mauna Loa, as the oldest continuous carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement station in the world, is the primary global benchmark site for monitoring the increase of this potent heat-trapping gas.
Vitter and EPW Republicans Continue Standoff with Boxer on McCarthy Nomination: In a letter to Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Assistant Secretary Gina McCarthy, Senator Vitter reiterated his request for answers to fives specific questions before agreeing to consider the nomination of McCarthy to serve as the next Administrator of the EPA. The requests deal with e-mail transparency (2 questions), clean air act data, use of cost/benefit analysis, and disclosure of sue and settle practices.
IEA Predicts Transformative Impacts on Global Oil Markets from US Oil Boom: The International Energy Agencyannounced the release of a study analyzing the impact of the US and N. American oil boom on global oil markets. According to the Medium-Term Oil Marketing Report (MTOMR), the effects of continued growth in North American supply – led by US light, tight oil (LTO) and Canadian oil sands – will cascade through the global oil market. Although shale oil development outside North America may not be a large-scale reality during the report’s five-year timeframe, the technologies responsible for the boom will increase production from mature, conventional fields – causing companies to reconsider investments in higher-risk areas.
7 Public Meetings Planned for Seismic PEIS for Gulf of Mexico: BOEM and NOAA/NMFS are proposing the preparation of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of geological and geophysical (G&G) activities in Federal and State waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). A draft PEIS is expected to be published in mid 2014. The EIS will assess the potential environmental impacts associated with G&G activities that include deep-penetration and high-resolution seismic surveys, electromagnetic surveys, magnetic surveys, gravity surveys, remote-sensing surveys and geological and geochemical sampling. These activities provide information about the location and extent of oil and gas resources, bottom conditions for oil and gas or renewable energy installations, and suitable locations of sand and gravel used for coastal protection and restoration. The 7 meetings will occur in the following places:
Tampa, Florida: Monday, June 10, 2013, Embassy Suites Westshore Tampa Airport Hotel, 555 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33609; at 6:30 p.m. EDT;
Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, 1500 Miracle Strip Parkway, SE, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
Mobile, Alabama: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, Government Plaza, 205 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama 36644; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
Gulfport, Mississippi: Thursday, June 13, 2013, Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport Beachfront MS Hotel, 1600 East Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Mississippi 39501; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
Galveston, Texas: Monday, June 17, 2013, Galveston Hilton, 5400 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77551; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
New Orleans, Louisiana: Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123; at 1 p.m. CDT; and
Silver Spring, Maryland: Thursday, June 20, 2013, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
Important Events and Hearings:
CSIS Hosts Discussion on African Energy Development: Today at 9 AM in Russell 325, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will hold a discussion on “Africa’s Emerging Energy Landscape.” Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE); State Department Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Carlos Pascual; Ali Moshiri, president of Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production; and Phillip Van Niekerk, managing partner of Calabar Consulting will participate. Additional information can be found here: http://www.csis.org.
Wyden Convenes First Natural Gas Forum: Today at 10 AM in 216 Hart, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet for a “Committee Forum: Infrastructure, Transportation, Research and Innovation,” focusing on what the next applications are for natural gas and how this new demand will be met. Scott Prochazka, executive vice president/COO of CenterPoint Energy; Jim Arthurs, president of Cummins Westport Inc.; Kathryn Clay, executive director of Drive Natural Gas Initiative; Robert Carrick, sales manager for natural Gas at Freightliner Trucks; Richard Cargile, president of Midstream Energy Transfer Partners and vice president of Gas Processors Association; Steve Bolze, president/CEO of GE Power & Water, General Electric Company; Gordon van Welie, president/CEO of ISO New England; Donald Santa Jr., president of Interstate Natural Gas Association of America; John Eichberger, vice president of government relations of National Association of Convenience Stores; Gregg Kantor, president/CEO of Northwest Natural; Jesus Soto Jr., senior vice president of gas transmission operations’ for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company; and Jim Bruce, vice president of corporate public affairs at UPS will participate.
House Energy and Commerce Committee to Markup Grid Reliability Bill: Today at 4 PM in 2123 Rayburn, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will markup of H.R.271, the “Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2013”; H.R.1407, the “Animal Drug User Fee Amendments of 2013,” as amended by the Subcommittee on Health; and H.R.1919, the “Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013.”
New(ish) Member of the Day: US Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Committee Assignments: Energy and Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, and Aging
Chief of Staff: Steve Voeller
Legislative Director: Chandler Morse
Energy LA: Kris Kiefer
Experience: Before coming to the Senate, then-Representative Flake served six terms in the US House of Representatives taking a hard-line and often lonely stand against Congressional earmarks. He is a fiscal hawk, but also holds very progressive views on immigration stemming from his youth growing up on a cattle ranch that employed immigrant labor. He also refused to sign the ATR no-tax pledge and actually advocated for a carbon tax as an alternative to the cap and trade bill advanced by House Democrats when they were in the majority. Sen. Flake is Mormon and spent a number of years in Africa in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa where he learned to speak Afrikaans. From 1992-2000, Senator Flake served as Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute.
Importance: Senator Flake is a fiscal conservative, but has shown a willingness to step out on issues far outside Republican orthodoxy. He is pro-development, pro-business, and supports greater access to federal lands for energy development. With positions on E&R, Foreign Relations, and Judiciary he is in a unique position to assess resource extraction activities particularly those in developing nations of Africa.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Hope you have a great day!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006