Thursday in Washington:
Busy Day in Committees:
Both the House and the Senate will be in session today. The Senate is expected take up cloture motions on both the Farm Bill and legislation addressing student loan rates. Whether the cloture motion on the Farm Bill passes with the 60 votes required is dependent on how leaders deal with the more than 200 amendments were offered to the bill. If an agreement to address a large package of these can be reached, the cloture vote on the Farm Bill is likely to pass. The House will be completing work on the FY2014 Homeland Security Appropriations bill after dispensing with three remaining amendments.
Most interesting will be the trio of hearings today exploring issues related to expanded access and energy development. The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on legislation expanding offshore oil and gas development and expanding revenue sharing provisions currently only available to gulf states. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on gulf restoration a few years removed from the Macondo spill. Finally, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing with Secretary Jewell exploring the policies and priorities of the Department of Interior.
Other Items of Interest:
USDA Announces Plan to Address Environmental Challenges Facing Producers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plans to continue coordination with other federal agencies to address the challenges posed by climate change and other environmental variables to agriculture producers. Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted plans to create seven regional climate hubs to address the challenges of climate change and adaptation. The Secretary also highlighted efforts of the department to help farmers assess and quantify the reduction in carbon emissions from specific conservation efforts.
NOAA Seeks Extension of Rules to Protect Right Whales: NOAA is seeking comments on a proposal to extend its 2008 rule limiting ship speeds along portions of the Atlantic coast to 10 knots during specific times of the year to limit ship strikes. Since the rules were put in place five years ago, the incidence of ship strike has declined precipitously. The rule is part of a larger effort to preserve the North Atlantic Right Whale and support recovery of the population.
EPW Members Receive Answers From DOI Regarding Offshore Wind Leasing Program: Last year, Senator Vitter and Senator Alexander requested information from the Department of Interior regarding economic data used to justify plans of offshore wind leasing in areas that are not approved for oil and gas leasing. Following the announcement this week that a lease sale for areas off of Massachusetts and Rhode Island would take place at the end of July, the Department responded to the questions. The Senatorsnoted that a minimum bid for offshore oil and gas leasing was $100/acre for deepwater tracts, while DOI expects $1 to $2 per acre bids for the competitive lease sales planned offshore wind.
EIA Releases Information on Ethanol Production and the RFS: The Energy Information Administration released a paper detailing ethanol production and challenges facing both producers and consumers as production requirements from the Renewable Fuel Standard approach the 10% blendwall. The House Oversight Committee held a hearing on this issue yesterday as well, questioning the EPA on plans to address both volatile RINs speculation and expected waiver requests. A video of the hearing and copies of the testimony can be viewed here.
Members Urge Administration to Act on Long-Stalled Rules: A bicameral group of congressmenhighlighted their concerns that the budget office is delaying the implementation of a host of rules and regulations on everything from clean water to worker safety. The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA). In it, the Members urge the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Sylvia Burwell, to take “prompt action” to expedite the rulemaking process and improve transparency. Of particular interest are rules identifying waters protected by the Clean Water Act and occupational safety standards related to silica dust.
Important Events and Hearings:
Climate Change and Transatlantic Security: Today at 9AM at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) will hold a discussion on “The Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities for Transatlantic Security.” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy Daniel Chiu; Christian Burgsmuller, counselor and head of the transport, energy, environment and nuclear affairs section of the European Union Delegation to the United States; Ralph Espach, director of Latin American Affairs in the Center for Strategic Studies at the Center for Naval Analyses; Rear Adm. Neil Morisetti, special representative for climate change in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Sherri Goodman, senior vice president, general counsel and board secretary at the Center for Naval Analyses; and Kaleb Redden, director of North and West Europe International Security Affairs European and NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, will participate. You can register here.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hold Oversight Hearing with DOI: Today at 9:30 AM in 366 Dirksen, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on programs and activities of the Interior Department.
House Natural Resources Subcommittee Holds Legislative Hearing: Today at 10AM in Longworth 1334, the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation will hold a legislative hearing to consider H.R.412, the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act; H.R.585, the “Anchorage Land Conveyance Act of 2013”; H.R.664, the “Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks Act”; H.R.1495, the “Arizona Land Sovereignty Act”; H.R.1497, the “War Memorial Protection Act”; H.R.1513, to “revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station and certain land along Plum Run in Cumberland Township, to limit the means by which property within such revised boundaries may be acquired”; H.R.2166, to direct the Interior secretary and Agriculture secretary to “expedite access to certain Federal lands under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary for good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions”; and H.R.2192, to “amend the Act popularly known as the Antiquities Act of 1906 to require certain procedures for designating national monuments, and for other purposes.” Additional information about the bills and the hearing can be found here.
House Natural Resources Subcommittee Holds Legislative Hearing on Offshore Drilling Bill: Today at 10AM in 1324 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee Energy and Minerals Subcommittee will hold a hearing on legislation sponsored by Chairman Doc Hastings expanding the areas approved for offshore energy development and revenue sharing.
Senate Commerce Committee Evaluates Gulf Restoration: Today at 10:30AM in 253 Russell, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Gulf Restoration: A Progress Report Three Years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.”
Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: Today at 12PM at the Heritage Foundation, the Heritage Foundation will hold a discussion on “The Lack of Science in the Scientific Consensus: The Case of the National Climate Assessment.” Patrick Michaels, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science and author of “Climate Coup, Climate of Extremes, and Meltdown”; Harold Doiron, retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration physicist and engineer, and member of the Right Climate Stuff Team; Harlan Watson, former ambassador and special envoy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and David Kreutzer, research fellow in energy economics and climate change at Heritage, will participate. You can RSVP by e-mailing: email@example.com.
Experts Debate Energy Subsidies at National Review High Noon Debate: On June 7th at 12 PM at 101 Constitution Ave. NW, the National Review will host a debate on energy subsidies. Thomas Pyle, American Energy Alliance; Steve Moore, Wall Street Journal; Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association;and moderator Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review, will participate in the discussion. According to the Brookings Institution, the green energy sector is projected to receive $150 billion of taxpayer money through 2014. Despite annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion, the administration’s budget proposes to make many of these subsidies permanent, believing they are necessary to keep renewables competitive in the energy market and to spur job creation. Opponents contend these subsidies distort energy markets and merely shift the costs for renewables on to taxpayers. The High Noon Debate on Energy will examine the success of energy-related subsidies and the impact of government policy on long term job creation, energy security, and freely-functioning energy markets. You can register here.
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV)
Committee Assignments: Natural Resources and Homeland Security
Chief of Staff: Rodney Emery
Legislative Director: John Brotke
Twitter: @stevenhorsford and @RepHorsford
Experience: Rep. Horsford is Nevada’s first African American Congressman. He was chief executive officer of the Culinary Training Institute, a joint management-labor initiative to provide trained workers for Las Vegas’s casinos and hotels, and served as state Senate majority leader. His district includes the northern part of Clark County, where most of its population resides, and all or part of several rural counties around Las Vegas.
Importance: Rep. Horsford had unique challenges growing up with a mother who struggled with addiction and a father who was killed when Steven was just 19 years old. To support his siblings, he had to leave college early but he helped make sure his other siblings had the opportunity to succeed. He has Rosen quickly and been extraordinarily successful in all of his political endeavors. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee from a state that could soon become a significant oil and gas producer, he is in a position to advocate for policies that allow greater access while ensuring sufficient environmental stewardship.
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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