Congress Drills Into Offshore Energy Bills

Thursday in Washington:

One Day To Go:

Both the House and the Senate are in session.  The Senate has now cleared all major hurdles to passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation and final approval could occur as early as today.  Leaders are still hoping that some type of agreement on student loans can be reached before the July 4th recess, but time may already be too short for any new measures to pass both chambers.

Today, the House will be finishing up consideration of H.R. 1613, the Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act.  The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy expressing opposition to the bill based on provisions dealing with disclosure requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act.  After completing work on H.R. 1613, the House will turn to consideration of amendments to H.R. 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act.  A full listing and summaries of the amendments made in order to H.R. 2231 can be viewed here.

Other Items of Interest:

House Appropriations Committee Passes Energy and Water Bill:  The House Appropriations Committeepassed the FY 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations bill providing funding for the DOE, the Army Corps, and other related agencies.  The bill provides a total of $30.4 billion in funding, which is $2.9 billion less than last year and $700 million below post-sequestration levels.  The Committee released report language providing additional details of the legislation.  The bill cuts funding for DOE’s renewable energy activities almost in half reducing the FY2013 levels by $971 million to $982.6 million this year.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Reviews RFS Issue: The Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to review issues associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard.  The Committee heard testimony from officials from the EIA, EPA, and USDA.  Of particular note were comments made by Adam Sieminski stating that it is unlikely that production levels will ever reach RFS targets, that levels of ethanol consumption would likely stay steady if the RFS were repealed, and infrastructure constraints remain key obstacle for higher blends (5% of vehicles and 2% of fueling stations are currently equipped for E15 and higher ethanol blends).  Another item of note was Rep. Eliot Engel’s push to use the implementation of an Open Fuel Standard for vehicles as a way of addressing some of the challenges posed by the current RFS.

USGS Releases National Assessment of Geologic Carbon Dioxide Storage Potential:  The DOI and USGSannounced the findings of a national assessment of geologic carbon dioxide storage potential showing the US has the potential to store 3,700 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic basins throughout the country.  The report finds that coastal lowlands and other geologic basins could store 500 years of carbon emissions.  The US produced 5.5 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide in 2011 out of a total of 31.6 metric gigatons produced that year worldwide.

Senators Wyden and Stabenow Introduce Legislation To Diversify Domestic Fuel Options:  Senator Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) announced the introduction of the Alternative Fueled Vehicles Competitiveness and Energy Security Act of 2013.  According to the summary, the legislation expands existing Department of Energy loan programs to support advanced vehicle technologies and fuel the growth of next-generation infrastructure for innovative fuels, removing a barrier to the expansion of electric, natural gas and other alternative-fueled vehicles. The bill would also provide funding for manufacturers of cars, heavy-duty trucks, trains and other vehicles using natural gas, propane, electricity, biofuels and hydrogen.
EPW Republicans Press Fish & Wildlife For Answers on Sue-and-Settle Agreements:  Senators Vitter, Inhofe, Sessions and Boozman sent a letter to Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), following up on two letters requesting information on the 2011 closed-door settlement agreements between FWS, the Center for Biological Diversity, and WildEarth Guardians that will lead to the final listing determinations for more than 250 species over the next six years.  Members of the EPW Committee have repeatedly sought these documents, but the USFWS has not yet provided the information.

Important Hearings and Events:

RFF Holds Discussion on Risks of Shale Gas Development:  Today at 9 AM at 1616 P Street NW, Resources For the Future’s (RFF) Center for Energy Economics and Policy (CEEP) will hold a discussion on RFF’s initiative “Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Markup of Transportation and Energy & Water Bills: Today at 10 AM in 106 Dirksen, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a full committee markup of the FY 2014 Appropriations Bills for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Energy and Water.

House Science Committee Reviews Energy Savings from Green Buildings:  Today at 10 AM in 2318 Rayburn, the House Science Committee Energy Subcommittee and Oversight Subcommittee will hold a joint hearing on “Green Buildings – An Evaluation of Energy Savings Performance Contracts.” Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant Energy secretary for energy efficiency; Woodrow Whitlow Jr., associate administrator in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mission Support Directorate; and Ron King, president advisor for the National Insulation Association, will testify.

Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Contract Management by DOE:  Today at 10:30 AM in Dirksen 342, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affiars Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Contract Management by the Department of Energy.”

New Member of the Day: US Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL)

Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs and Transportation & Infrastructure

Chief of Staff: Dave Natonski
Legislative Director: Abigail (Abby) Dosoretz
Energy LA:  Greg Dolan
Twitter: @TreyRadel

Experience: Before coming to Congress, Rep. Radel hosted a conservative TV and radio show on a local Fox affiliate in FL. He is tri-lingual and ran a media relations company focused on advancing conservative causes. He and his wife launched the US Forces Fund, a nonprofit focused on helping injured soldiers returning home from abroad. He also bought, reformatted, and expanded the Naples Journal, a community newspaper in Collier County. When he was younger, he worked in his family’s funeral parlor driving the hearse and hosting visitation services, an experience that instilled a sense of empathy and compassion.

Importance:  Rep. Radel won a 5 way primary with just 30 percent of the vote topping Rep. Porter Goss’s son for the nomination. He went on to win the solidly-Republican SW FL district by 26 points in the general election. He is a solidly conservative Member and is expected to be a reliable vote for Republican leadership. He has stated that he is in favor of removing tax preferences to simplify the code, even specifically mentioning such popular deductions as the mortgage interest deduction as a potential target for reform. With a safe district and a knack for media relations, Rep. Radel is well positioned to cut a staunchly conservative path during his first term. With seats on Foreign Relations and T&I, it will be interesting to see his balance addressing the infrastructure needs of his district with the campaign rhetoric of restricting and cutting government.

Previous updates and New Member profiles can be viewed at:
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Hope you all have a great day!


Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
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