Congress Back in Action…Sort Of

Washington Update

Welcome back to session!  Both the House and the Senate will be back in action this week.  Almost all of the focus will be on the conflict in Syria and consideration of a joint resolution authorizing the President to use force.  The debate over Syria has created a number of strange bedfellows, but the relatively unpopular options threaten to exhaust the already limited amounts of political capital House and Senate leaders have coming into an already crowded and charged fall.  Following the resolution of the Syria question, Congress must pass a bill to keep the government from shutting down at the end of September and shortly thereafter they will need to muster the votes to pass another very unpopular debt ceiling increase.  That leaves little time for resolution of the farm bill, WRDA, immigration reform, and tax reform…much less any other less pressing matters.

In Committee, the new head of the NRC will be testifying about the future of Yucca Mountain and storage options for nuclear waste.  The Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill, which was expected on the floor of the Senate when they reconvened, is expected to be taken up after the Senate resolves what to do with the Syria.

Legislation to be considered in the House from Leader Cantor:

H.R. 2052 – Global Investment in American Jobs Act of 2013, as amended
H.R. 2844 – Federal Communications Commission Consolidation Reporting Act of 2013
H.R. 1155 – National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2013
H.R. 2747 – Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act
H.R. 1891 – Science Laureates of the United States Act of 2013
S. 130 – Powell Shooting Range Land Conveyance Act
S. 157 – Denali National Park Improvement Act
S. 304 – Natchez Trace Parkway Land Conveyance Act of 2013
S. 256 – A bill to amend Public Law 93-435 with respect to the Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa
S. 459 – Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Boundary Modification Act
Wednesday-Friday (No Votes Friday)
H.R. 2775 – To condition the provision of premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upon a certification that a program to verify household income and other qualifications for such subsidies is operational
H.J.Res. __ – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014
Possible consideration of an authorization for the limited and specific use of military force against the government of Syria to respond to the use of chemical weapons

Other Items of Interest:

House Natural Resources Committee Considers Reforms to ESA:  At a pair of field hearings last week, the House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from land owners and state officials in WY and MT regarding aspects of the Endangered Species Act that are working and other aspects that are not.  Witnesses stressed the importance of species conservation efforts being a collaborative, grassroots up effort, rather than a prescriptive, top down approach.  Some of the coverage of the hearings can be viewed here.

House Science Committee Members Press EPA Use of Personal E-mail Accounts: House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Georgia), sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting information about the use of alias and private email accounts for official business by agency staff.  Since November 2012, Members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee have written former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson threetimes regarding the use of dual, secondary or non-public email accounts. The Committee has not received answers to their inquiries to date.

Chairman Wyden Tours Energy Development Sites in North Dakota: Senator Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee toured key energy development sites in North Dakota.  Senator Wyden was invited to tour these sites by Sen. John Hoeven, who serves as a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  They toured an ethanol production facility, a Bakken Shale drilling site, a housing and workforce location, and met with members of the local communities and tribes.

DOE Announces $45 Million in Funding for Advanced Transportation: The Department of Energyannounced more than $45 million in funding for thirty-eight new projects that accelerate the research and development of vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs and protect the environment in communities nationwide.

EPA Announced Settlements with Shell Over Arctic Emissions:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. and Shell Offshore, Inc. for violations of their Clean Air Act permits for arctic oil and gas exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, off the North Slope of Alaska. Based on EPA’s inspections and Shell’s excess emission reports, EPA documented numerous air permit violations for Shell’s Discoverer and Kulluk drill ship fleets, during the approximately  two months the vessels operated during the 2012 drilling season. In the settlements, Shell agreed to pay a $710,000 penalty for violations of the Discoverer air permit and a $390,000 penalty for violations of the Kulluk air permit.

EPA reaches settlement with Safeway to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting refrigerants:Safeway, the nation’s second largest grocery store chain agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and implement a corporate-wide plan to significantly reduce its emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment at 659 of its stores nationwide, estimated to cost approximately $4.1 million, in a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice. The settlement involves the largest number of facilities ever under the Clean Air Act’s regulations governing refrigeration equipment. The settlement resolves allegations that Safeway violated the Clean Air Act by failing to promptly repair leaks of HCFC-22, a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon that is a greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance used as a coolant in refrigerators, and failed to keep adequate records of the servicing of its refrigeration equipment. Safeway will now implement a corporate refrigerant compliance management system to comply with federal stratospheric ozone regulations. Safeway will also reduce its corporate-wide average leak rate from 25 percent in 2012 to 18 percent or below in 2015. The company will also reduce the aggregate refrigerant emissions at its highest-emission stores by 10 percent each year for three years.

DOI Completes Renewable Energy Lease Sale Offshore Virginia:  The Interior Department completedthe nation’s second competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, garnering $1,600,000 in high bids for 112,799 acres on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Virginia. Virginia Electric and Power Company is the provisional winner of the sale, which auctioned a Wind Energy Area approximately 23.5 nautical miles off Virginia Beach that has the potential to support 2,000 megawatts of wind generation – enough energy to power more than 700,000 homes.  The sale follows a July 31 auction of 164,750 acres offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for wind energy development that was provisionally won by Deepwater Wind New England, LLC, generating $3.8 million in high bids.

Important Events and Hearings:

House Hearing on Yucca Mountain: On September 10th, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on “Implementing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act – Next Steps.” The hearing follows an August 13th ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must resume its consideration of the Department of Energy’s license application for Yucca Mountain. NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane will testify along with Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons. Officials from both NRC and DOE previously committed to complying with the court’s decision during testimony before the subcommittee. Committee leaders have expressed that the first order of compliance should be for NRC to complete the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) on Yucca Mountain and release it publicly.

House to Review Maritime Regulations:  On September 10th at 10:30 AM in 2167 Rayburn, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will conduct a two part hearing to review the status of regulations by the United States Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), as well as examine how such regulations impact the maritime industry.  Part I will focus on safety and commercial regulations. For Part I, the Subcommittee will hear from the Coast Guard, FMC, MARAD, and representatives from private industry. Part II of the hearing will be held in October.

Renewable Energy Technology Conference:  On September 9th-11th, starting at 8:30 AM at the Marioot Wardman Park, Access Intelligence will hold the fifth annual Renewable Energy Technology Conference and Exhibition, September 9-11. Additional information can be found here: .

CSIS Hosts International Energy Discussion: On September 9th at 12:30 PM at 1800 K Street, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will hold a discussion on “Operational Energy in the Next Decade: Policy, Strategy and Innovation.” Assistant Defense Secretary for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke; and Maren Leed, senior adviser and CSIS chair in defense policy studies, will lead the discussion.  Additional information can be found here:

WWC Host Discussion on the Southern Gas Cooridor:  On September 9th at 12:30 PM, the Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) will host a roundtable discussion on the “Southern Gas Corridor.” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy Amos Hochstein; Alexandros Petersen, adviser to the European Energy Security Initiative; Michael Ratner, specialist in energy policy at the Congressional Research Service; and Greg Saunders, senior director of international affairs at British Petroleum, will participate in the discussion.  Additional information can be found here:

Advanced Fossil Energy Technologies:  On September 9th at 2:00 PM, the Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on “Advanced Fossil Energy Technologies,” using the “Kemper County energy facility as a focal point for exploring broader energy, economic, and environmental policy issues relating to advanced fossil energy technologies and their role in ensuring access to energy, protecting energy security, and enhancing environmental performance.”

Farmers Union Host Event Supporting Passage of the Farm Bill and Preservation of the RFS:  On September 9th at 4:00 PM, the National Farmers Union (NFU) holds a news conference “to highlight the importance of passing a five-year, comprehensive farm bill this year; and how the Renewable Fuel Standard creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gasses, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; musician Neil Young, owner of LincVolt – a 1959 Lincoln Continental converted into a fuel-efficient, hybrid demonstrator vehicle; Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy; and Roger Johnson, NFU president, will participate in the press conference.

America’s Dirtiest Power Plants:  On September 10th at 9:30 AM in the Senate swamp, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; and Julian Boggs, Federal Global Warming Program director at the Environment America Research and Policy Center, hold a news conference on a report titled “America’s Dirtiest Power Plants,” which “lists America’s largest carbon polluters, and demonstrates the oversized contribution to the nation’s carbon emissions.”

DOI hosts meeting to discuss USEITI:  On September 10th at 2:00 PM,  the DOI; Office of the Secretary of the Interior; Policy, Management and Budget will hold a meeting by teleconference of the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) Advisory Committee to review the U.S. draft candidacy application for EITI and any pending matters prior to posting for public comment, and the plan for public and tribal outreach during the public comment period. Dial-in at 888-843-9213; passcode, EITI.

Natural Gas and the U.S.-Japan Relationship: On September 11th at 10:00 AM, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) will hold a discussion on “Natural Gas, Natural Allies: Energizing the U.S.-Japan Relationship.” Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio; Dan Blumenthal, resident scholar at AEI; Mike Mazza, research fellow at AEI; Gary Schmitt, co-director of the Center for Security Studies at AEI; and Ely Ratner, deputy director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, will participate in the discussion.  More information can be found here:  The event will be streamed live at:

Energy Infrastructure and Power Pathways:  On September 12th at 9:00 AM in 562 Dirksen, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing on “Energy Infrastructure and Power Pathways: Shared Experiences in the United States and Europe.” John Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Daniel Dobbeni, president of Eurogrid International; Neil Brown, nonresident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States; and Carol Werner, executive director of EESI, will participate in the discussion.  The event will be webcast at:

Energy Storage Technologies:  On September 13th at 11:00 AM, the United States Energy Association (USEA) holds a discussion on “The Current and Future Status of Energy Storage Technologies.” Haresh Kamath, strategic program manager in the Technology Innovation Program at the Electric Power Research Institute; and Imre Gyuk, energy storage program manager at the Energy Department
Register at

U.S. Representative Gene Green (D-TX)

Committee Assignments:
House Energy and Commerce Committee
·         Energy and Power Subcommittee
·         Health Subcommittee
·         Environment and the Economy Subcommittee
·         Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee

Contact Information:
Chief of Staff: Rhonda Jackson
Legislative Director: Lindsay Westfield
Twitter: @RepGeneGreen

Caucus Affiliations:
Democratic Israel Working Group–Rep. Green is Co-Chair
Congressional Natural Gas Caucus–Rep. Green is Co-Chair
Congressional Vision Caucus–Rep. Green is Co-Chair

Biographical Information:
Rep. Gene Green was born October 17, 1947. He received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston in 1971. He attended Bates College of Law at the University of Houston and was admitted as a member of the State Bar of Texas in 1977. In 1970 he married Helen Albers Green. They have two children; Dr. Angela Green Hewlett, a doctor at the University of Nebraska Health Center at Omaha, and Christopher Green, a graduate of Texas A&M‑Galveston. They have four grandchildren, Lauren Elissa Hewlett, Braden Alexander Hewlett, Dylan Eugene Green, and Tristan Michael Green. The Green family attends Spring Woods United Methodist Church in Houston.

Congressional Career:
Congressman Gene Green was first elected to Congress from the 29th Congressional District of Texas in 1992 after twenty years in the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. In 1996, Green was appointed to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and currently serves on three of its subcommittees.  Since being elected to the House of Representatives, Rep. Green has been a champion of education, labor, energy and health issues. He has worked hard to increase the minimum wage, job training services, access to technology, and to improve access to quality health care. He was instrumental in the revitalization of the Houston Head Start program and has worked to secure federal funds for the expansion of the Port of Houston and Intercontinental Airport.  He serves on numerous Chambers of Commerce, Aldine Optimist Club, Communication Workers of America, the Texas Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

Energy Focus:
To bring more jobs to his district, Rep. Green, who serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has been a consistent supporter of measures and provisions of importance to the oil and gas industry.   He also led the effort to repeal a moratorium on offshore drilling following the Macondo spill in April 2010. He believes measures supporting the oil and gas industry are important for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and will providing jobs throughout the US economy.  He has been a consistent opponent of raising taxes on oil and gas production.


Regarding Taxes on Oil and Gas:
“The U.S. oil and natural gas industry does not receive tax subsidies. In fact, there is not a single targeted tax credit in the Internal Revenue Code available to the oil and natural gas industry. Instead, the industry is allowed to take deductions to recover the costs of doing business, which has been afforded to all businesses since the beginning of our country’s income tax system.”

“The natural gas and oil industry is a staple of the American economy and essential in securing our energy independence. Repealing these tax provisions would put an entire industry at risk; stepping backward at best and fatally wounding it at worst.”

Regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard:
Rep. Green said:   “I’m frustrated as anybody else with the RFS. And I voted for it in ’07. A number of us from my part of the country did. But what we’ve seen in the last number of years is, whether the RINs fraud, the gaming of the system…I would probably vote for repeal of the RFS, but I just don’t see where we’re going to get there. But we need to see what we can do to make sure it’s quality.

Regarding Opening Up the Gulf after the Moratorium: 
“As new offshore drilling permits still slowly trickle from BOEMRE, it’s important that we extend oil and gas leases that haven’t been in production first because of the moratorium and now as they try to receive guidance from the Department of Interior on applying new environmental and safety regulations.  This production is vital to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and is integral to countless livelihoods dependent on the Gulf energy economy.”

Regarding Opening Up New Areas in the last Five Year Plan:
“Opening up these areas to study is critical in working toward establishing a stable and safe domestic energy supply.  By not exploring the possibility of opening new areas to energy production through 2017, we are stifling the resources we have to grow our economy. “
Regarding Support for H.R. 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act:
“While I do not agree with some of the environmental provisions in this bill, I support it because it is a message bill about the importance of accessing our offshore resources.  With the president reneging on certain areas originally contained in his 2012-2017 five-year offshore leasing plan, our future access over the next decade is extremely limited. We need to open new offshore areas up for production instead of producing on the same lands we have for decades.”

Regarding the EPA Study of Hydraulic Fracturing:
“We have a responsibility to develop our domestic energy resources in an environmentally sound manner, which requires this study to be conducted properly and with scientific integrity.  It must take into account quality and risk assessment standards, expert knowledge, and previous studies such as the hydraulic fracturing study EPA previously completed in 2004.  We encourage EPA Administrator Jackson to work with Congress to properly evaluate the environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing.”

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Previous updates and new Member profiles can be viewed at HBW Resource’s new Intelligence Tab at: Hope you all have a great day.


Michael Zehr
HBW Resources
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500
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Direct: 202-429-6081
Cell: 202-277-3927
Twitter: @mzehrhbw