Wednesday in Washington:
Farm Bill Underway:
Both the House and the Senate are in session today with the Senate continuing its consideration of immigration reform legislation, while the House looks to begin consideration of the Farm Bill. The House Rules Committee approved 103 amendments for consideration during the House Floor debate over the Farm Bill. A full list of the amendments ruled in order can be viewed here. Of particular interest is an amendment sponsored by Rep. Flores requiring a study of the funds expended by the USDA in furtherance of ocean zoning and ecosystem based management plans as part of the National Ocean Policy.
Other Items of Interest:
House Science Committee Hears from Sec. Moniz: The Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz,testified before the House Science Committee covering topics ranging from climate change to exoscale computing and STEM education. He noted the tremendous progress made in the area of energy over the last few years with increased production of oil and natural gas, a near doubling of renewable energy generation, and reductions of green house gas emissions to the lowest level seen in twenty years. On climate change, he reiterated his belief that it is one of the greatest challenge we are facing and the need to move to a low carbon economy. However, he stated that the key to progress in this area is the development of technologies that provide cost advantages over existing energy sources, ensuring low-cost energy for U.S. consumers and businesses.
Energy and Power Subcommittee Considers Energy Exports: The Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to considering the challenges and opportunities for exports of coal and LNG. Witnesses testified that exports would boost economic growth and strengthen ties with many emerging nations. US LNG exports have a limited window of opportunity to gain access to many of these markets as other nations aggressively seek out these opportunities. Coal exports face challenges from slow and complicated federal and state permitting issues involving mult-modal facilities, while the main challenge facing LNG exports is the pace of DOE’s approval process of export licenses to non-FTA countries. On note during the hearing was the Corps of Engineers assertion that evaluations of climate change caused by coal burned abroad was outside their scope of review for projects.
House Natural Resources Committee Highlight Foreign Competition for Offshore Investment: The House Natural Resources Committee highlighted a report in the WSJ regarding a $174 million lease sale for offshore oil and gas development in Australia. The government said the investments could ultimately top over half a billion dollars. Meanwhile, offshore development in the US remains severely restricted. The House intends to take up legislation (H.R. 2231) soon opening new areas for energy exploration and development and providing revenue sharing to coastal states.
Senator Murkowski Addresses EIA Annual Meeting: Senator Murkowski (R-AK), the Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, gave the keynote address at the US Energy Information Administration’s annual meeting. She discussed the opportunities that expanded energy production are having for both the economy and global geopolitics. She also spoke about the opportunities and challenges of developing the arctic and the prospect of crude oil exports to expand US global influence.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Approves Legislation: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met and approved the following bills: S. 28, a bill to provide for the conveyance of a small parcel of National Forest System land in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah to Brigham Young University; S. 155, a bill to designate a mountain in the State of Alaska as Denali; S. 159, a bill to designate the Wovoka Wilderness and provide for certain land conveyances in Lyon County, Nevada; S. 255, a bill to withdraw certain Federal land and interests in that land from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws and disposition under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws; S. 285, a bill to designate the Valles Caldera National Preserve as a unit of the National Park System; S. 327, a bill to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to enter into cooperative agreements with State foresters authorizing State foresters to provide certain forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and protection services; S. 340, a bill to provide for the settlement of certain claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; S. 341, a bill to designate certain lands in San Miguel, Ouray, and San Juan Counties, Colorado, as wilderness; S. 353, a bill to designate certain land in the State of Oregon as wilderness, to make additional wild and scenic river designations in the State of Oregon; S. 360, a bill to amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to expand the authorization of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior to provide service opportunities for young Americans; help restore the nation’s natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources; train a new generation of public land managers and enthusiasts; and promote the value of public service; S. 486, a bill to authorize pedestrian and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area; and
S. 783, a bill to amend the Helium Act to improve helium stewardship.
Important Events and Hearings:
National Journal Hosts Business Forum: On June 19th at 8 AM at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC, the National Journal will hold a “Back in Business Forum,” focusing on American growth in health care, energy, infrastructure, workforce, global exports, innovation and urban economics. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats; Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers; Gene Bowman, executive director of Alamo Academies; David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell; Dick Gephardt, president of Gephardt Governmental Affairs; Lisa Gordon, COO of the Atlanta BeltLine; Chris Harder, Business and Industry Division manager of the Portland Development Commission’s We Build Green Cities; Chris Jennings, president of Jennings Policy Strategies Inc.; Bruce Katz, co-author of “The Metropolitan Revolution”; Jonathan Lever, vice president for health strategy and innovation at YMCA; David McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association; Tom Rudin, senior vice president of career readiness for the College Board; Brad Whitehead, president of the Fund For Our Economic Future; Margot Sanger-Katz, health care correspondent for National Journal; Kristin Roberts, managing editor for budget and economy for National Journal; Amy Harder and Coral Davenport, energy and environment correspondents for National Journal; Fawn Johnson, correspondent for National Journal; and Ronald Brownstein, editorial director for National Journal, will participate in the event. Additional information and registration for the event can be found here.
The Promise of Smart Grid: On June 19th at 1 PM, Energy Central will hold a webcast on “The Promise of Smart Grid – Improving Operations Today for a More Profitable Future.” Karen Blackmore, founder of Secure Tech IS; Gary Rackliffe, vice president of Smart Grids North America, ABB Inc; Clinton Davis, vice president of Utility Distribution Solutions, Ventyx, will participate in the discussion. Information on the webcast is available here.
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Committee Assignments: Homeland Security and Science
Chief of Staff: Ricky Xuan Le
Legislative Director: Andrew S. Ginsburg
Rep. Swalwell was raised in Dublin, CA and graduated from Dublin High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. While at Maryland, he served on the City of College Park City Council as its student representative. From 2001-2002, he worked in Washington, D.C. for Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher. Since 2006, has served as a prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted over 1,000 cases and 32 jury trials. In 2006, Eric was appointed to the City of Dublin’s Heritage & Cultural Arts Commission where he later served as chairperson. From 2008 to 2010, Eric served on the City of Dublin Planning Commission. In November 2010, Eric was elected to the Dublin City Council. He founded and still serves as President of the Dublin High School Alumni Association. He serves in an advisory capacity on the Alameda County Fire Commission, the Alameda County Library Advisory Board and the Tri-Valley Conservancy. Eric is also a member of the Dublin Sister-City Association and the Dublin Lions Club. A former NCAA Division One soccer scholarship athlete, He enjoys coaching local youth soccer players. From 2006-2009, Eric coached youth soccer and was a director for the San Ramon Soccer Club.
Rep. Swalwell holds a seat formerly held by Rep. Stark, one of the most liberal Members in the House. Rep. Swalwell is going to be a reliable vote for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. His relative youth and willingness to engage on numerous issues make him an interesting Member to watch as issues of shortened long-term investments of federal resources are discussed. With seats on both the House Science Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Swalwell will be an advocate for policies and investments benefiting his district including alternative energy R&D.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Previous updates and Member profiles can be reviewed here: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great day!
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