Thursday in Washington:
Yesterday, the House passed legislation expediting the approval and construction of the Keystone XL (H.R.3) by a vote of 241-175 with 19 Democrats joining 222 Republicans in support of the measure. No Republicans voted against the bill. The following amendments were considered:
Rep. Randy Weber Amendment—State Dept Findings (approved 246-168);
Rep. Henry Waxman Amendment –State Dept Finding GHGs from oil sands (failed 146-269);
Rep. Hank Johnson Amendment – health impacts from KXL (failed 177-239);
Rep. Gerry Connolly Amendment—terrorist attack on the pipeline (failed 176-239);
Reps. Rahall / DeFazio Amendment –removes presidential bypass (failed 177-238)
Rep. Elizabeth Esty Amendment – operation and maintenance waivers (failed 182-234);
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Amendment –lengthens claim filing time (failed 182-234);
Reps. Chu / Polis / Connolly Amendment – study of costs of spill (failed 185-231);
Rep. Steven Cohen Amendment –oil spill response plans (approved by voice vote); and
Rep. Rush Holt Amendment –export prohibition (failed 162-255).
The House also passed Rep. Pete Olson’s bill (H.R. 271) allowing temporary waivers of certain environmental laws to ensure grid reliability.
Other Items of Interest:
VA U.S. Senators Introduce Offshore Drilling Bill: U.S. Senator Mark Warner and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine introduced legislation that would allow offshore oil and gas exploration and development off Virginia’s coast. Leasing had been planned for the area under a previous five year plan, but was excluded in the most recent plan released by the Administration. The legislation would provide revenue sharing (37.5 percent) to Virginia, using a similar formula to what Gulf Coast states currently collect. The revenue sharing language is technology neutral, covering all forms of energy production, including offshore wind energy.
House Natural Resources Committee Considers Four Bills Expediting Onshore Energy Production:
H.R. 1964, the “National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act” would remove certain government regulations and allow access to the National Petroleum Reserve ‐ Alaska (NPR-A). The bill would also nullify the DOI’s plan to close over half of the NPR-A to energy production. H.R. 1965, the “Federal Lands and Energy Security Act” and H.R. 1394, the “Planning for American Energy Act of 2013” would expand onshore energy production by streamlining the permitting process, providing leasing certainty, and facilitating oil shale development. H.R. 555, the “BLM Live Internet Auctions Act” would update the federal oil and natural gas leasing process by authorizing live internet auctions.
CBO Releases Report on Revenue Potential of a Carbon Tax: The Congressional Budget Office released a reportshowing the revenue impacts of imposes a carbon tax. According to the report, the effects of a carbon tax on the U.S. economy would depend on how the revenues from the tax were used. Options include using the revenues to reduce budget deficits, to decrease existing marginal tax rates, or to offset the costs that a carbon tax would impose on certain groups of people. This study examines how a carbon tax, combined with those alternative uses of the revenues, might affect the economy and the environment.
Better Buildings Challenge Showing Progress on Energy Efficiency: The Department of Energy released data showing progress in meeting the Department’s goal of reducing energy consumption and achieving energy savings from energy efficiency and conservation from commercial buildings and industrial facilities.
Senators Vitter and Lautenberg Announce Agreement on Chemical Safety Legislation: The Senators announced the bipartisan agreement to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and ensure the safety of everyday consumer products to better protect consumers. Their legislation would significantly update and improve TSCA. The Lautenberg-Vitter legislation would, for the first time, ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment while providing certainty to manufacturers. Under current law, the EPA can call for safety testing only after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical may be dangerous. As a result, EPA has only been able to require testing for roughly 200 of the more than 84,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States, and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances since TSCA was first enacted in 1976. These shortfalls led the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify TSCA as a “high risk” area of the law in 2009.
Important Events and Hearings:
Senate EPW Committee To Consider Re-Nomination of Macfarlane: Today at 9 AM in 406 Dirksen, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to consider the re-nomination of Allison Macfarlane to serve as commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
House Committee to Consider Hydropower and Other Energy Bills: Today at 10 AM in 1324 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee Water and Power Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on H.R.255, to amend certain definitions contained in the Provo River Project Transfer Act for purposes of clarifying certain property descriptions; H.R.745, to reauthorize the Water Desalination Act of 1996; and H.R.1963, the “Bureau of Reclamation Conduit Hydropower Development Equity and Jobs Act.”
Senate Forum on Shale Development Best Practices: Today at 10 AM in Hart 216, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee meeting on “Committee Forum: Shale Development: Best Practices and Environmental Concerns.” Clay Bretches, vice president of marketing and minerals for Anadarko; Alan Crain, senior vice president/chief legal and governance officer for Baker Hughes; Mark Brownstein, associate vice president and chief counsel, US Climate and Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund; David Porges, chairman/president/CEO of the EQT Corporation; Marc Edwards, senior vice president of completion and production for Halliburton; Amy Mall, senior policy analyst for the Land and Wildlife Program, Natural Resources Defense Council; Charles Davidson, Chairman/CEO of Noble Energy, Inc.; Deb Nardone, director, Beyond Natural Gas Campaign, Sierra Club; Don Garvin, legislative coordinator, and member, Board of Directors for STRONGER (State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations) Inc., West Virginia Environmental Council; Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission; and Jack Williams, president of XTO Energy Inc., will participate.
API Holding Conference Call on Summer Gasoline Costs: The American Petroleum Institute (API) holds a conference call briefing, beginning at 11 AM, on gasoline prices ahead of the Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer driving season, including the state of energy markets, a gasoline price analysis and tips to help consumers save at the pump. API also will release a new white paper on “government regulations and policies that could put upward pressure on gasoline prices.” Credentialed media only may call-in at 800-374-2418; password: 759 92 917.
New Member of the Day: US Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Committee Assignments: Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations
Chief of Staff: Mike Henry
Legislative Director: Mary Naylor
Experience: Senator Kaine was born in St. Paul, MN, and he grew up in greater Kansas City, MO, where his father was the owner of an iron-work shop. Before being elected to the Senate, Sen. Kaine was the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association from 2008-2009, and he served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009-2011. He grew up in Kansas City and graduated from the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School. He began his public service career when he took a year off from law school to work with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. After finishing law school, he practiced law for 18 years. He served on the Richmond City Council until 2001 when he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and worked for four years with then-Governor Mark Warner. In 2005, Tim was elected Virginia’s 70th Governor.
Importance: During his tenure as Governor, Sen.Kaine showed true fiscal stewardship by cutting the Virginia state budget by more than $5 billion, including a reduction in his own salary. He also expanded early childhood and technical education, passed the largest bond package for higher education construction in Virginia history, reformed the state’s social programs and secured major rail and public transit improvements throughout the state. In his 2012 campaign, he was endorsed by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation voters, and he supports energy efficiency efforts and moves to develop alternative energy sources. He has, however, backed exploratory drilling off the coast of Virginia, and the development of cleaner-burning coal to fuel power plants. With positions on the Armed Services, Budget, and Foreign Relations Committees, he is in a unique spot to help shape offshore energy production both domestically and internationally.
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 day!
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