Monday in Washington:
When the Budget Really Starts to Matter:
Both the House and Senate will be in session this week. Most of the attention will be on the gun control measures currently before the Senate and the expected release of a comprehensive immigration reform proposal. While these items will dominate the news cycle, the real substance of the week will be covered in the committees where oversight hearings on the Administration’s FY2014 budget proposal are set to begin. The hearings provide opportunities for Members to question administration officials about funding priorities and potential regulations and actions.
Other Items of Interest:
Legislative Hearing Planned for House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee: The subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on April 16th to evaluate a number of pieces of legislation amending the Antiquities Act of 1906 to place additional requirements on the establishment of national monuments. A full list of the legislation and information on the hearing can be viewed here.
Markup Planned for Keystone XL Legislation: On Tuesday, April 16th, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment will hold a markup of H.R. 3, “The Northern Route Approval Act.” H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, is a legislative solution to eliminate the bureaucratic hurdles blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and allow this landmark jobs and energy project to move forward. The legislation, authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), will address all necessary federal permits for the project and limit legal challenges that could further delay construction. An electronic copy of the bill can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. A Majority Memorandum, amendments, and votes will also be available at the same link as they are posted.
DOE Promotes First Commercial Enhance Geothermal System: The DOE highlighted the nation’s first commercial enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project to supply electricity to the grid. Based in Churchill County, Nevada, Ormat Technologies’ Desert Peak 2 EGS project has increased power output of its nearby operating geothermal field by nearly 38 percent – providing an additional 1.7 megawatts of power to the grid. Leveraging a $5.4 million Energy Department investment – matched by $2.6 million in private sector funding – the Ormat Desert Peak project is extending the life of previously unproductive geothermal wells. Additional information on this project and government investments in geothermal technologies can be found here.
Murkowski Criticizes FY2014 DOI Budget Plan To Have Alaskans Pay For Federal Cleanup: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski criticized the DOI for attempting to stick Alaska with the bill for federal responsibilities that have been neglected for decades. Under the 2014 budget proposal for DOI, Alaska’s 50-percent share of revenue from oil and natural gas activity in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) would be diverted from the state to pay for the cleanup of legacy wells that were drilled by the federal government. Additional information about the proposal and Senator Murkowski’s response can be found here.
EPA Proposes Compliance Delay For New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas: The EPA is proposing to amend its air pollution regulations for the oil and gas production sector, delaying the deadline for operators to install new equipment to control emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage tanks and more clearly defining what storage facilities are affected. The EPA decided to propose the changes after becoming aware of flaws in the new source performance standards for the oil and natural gas sector it issued in August 2012. The EPA had underestimated the number of storage tanks that would require new equipment, and additional time was need to ensure that sufficient equipment could be acquired to meet the compliance deadline. Additional information about the regulation and the proposed change can be found here.
DOE Announced Two Contracts for Nuclear Waste Disposal: The DOE awarded two contracts for the permanent disposal of Low-Level Waste (LLW) and Mixed-Low Level Waste (MLLW) to EnergySolutions, LLC and Waste Control Specialists, LLC. Additional information about these contracts and the DOE Environmental Management program can be found here.
Global Race for Arctic Resources: At 12:30 today Iceland President Olafur Grimsson delivers a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon address on “the global race for resources in the Arctic.” Additional information can be found here.
Council on Foreign Relations Discussion on the Arctic: On April 16th, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) will hold a discussion on the international economic, environmental, and security implications of a changing Arctic region. Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson; and Scott Borgerson, co-founder and managing director of CargoMetrics will be speaking. Additional information can be found here.
This Week’s Key Committee Hearings:
Forest Service Hearing: On April 16th at 10 AM, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the president’s FY2014 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service. Thomas Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service will be testifying. Link
Antiquities Act Hearing: On April 16th at 10 AM, the House Natural Resources Committee, Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on a number of bills restricting the use of the Antiquities Act to set aside lands from potential development. Link
Bureau of Reclamation Budget Hearing: On April 16th at 2 PM, the Natural Resources Committee Water and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Examining the Proposed FY2014 Spending, Priorities and the Missions of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Four Power Marketing Administrations and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Program.” Link
Wind Energy Incentives: On April 16th at 2 PM, the House Science Committee Energy Subcommittee and Oversight Subcommittee joint hearing on “Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Wind Energy Incentives.” Link
Legislative Hearing on Keystone XL: On April 16th at 2 PM, the House Natural Resources Committee Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee will hold a hearing on H.R.3, the “Northern Route Approval Act,” to approve the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline. Link
Energy and Commerce Markup of Keystone XL Legislation: On April 16th at 2 PM, the House Energy and Commerce, Energy and Power Subcommittee will conduct a markup of H.R. 3, the “Northern Route Approval Act,” intended to approve the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline. Link
Energy Development on Federal vs. Private Lands: On April 17th at 10 AM, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “State Lands vs. Federal Lands Oil and Gas Production: What State Regulators are doing right.” Link
USFWS Budget Hearing: On April 18th at 9:30 AM, the House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s FY2014 budget request. Link
NOAA, CEQ and USFWS Budget Hearing: On April 18th at 10 AM, the House Natural Resources Committee Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the President’s FY2014 Budget Request for these Agencies.” Link
DOE Budget Hearing Before Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: On April 18th at 10 AM, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the FY2014 Budget Request for the DOE. Link
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
Committee Assignments: Financial Services
Chief of Staff: Sean O’Brien
Legislative Director: Adam Elias
Experience: Representative Bill Foster is a scientist, businessman, and former U.S. Congressman who served from March 2008 until January 2011 as the Representative of Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. He and his younger brother co-founded Electronic Theater Controls, Inc., a company that now manufactures over half of the theater lighting equipment in the United States. Rep. Foster has a PhD in Physics and worked as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He was a member of the team that discovered the top quark, the heaviest known form of matter. He also led the teams that designed and built several scientific facilities and detectors still in use today, including the Recycler Ring, the latest of Fermilab’s giant particle accelerators.
Importance: When Rep. Foster first ran for Congress, his campaign was endorsed by 31 Nobel Prize Winners. He won the seat that was vacated by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He lost his re-election bid in 2010, but was able to win his way back into the House by defeating Republican incumbent Judy Biggert following redistricting creating a more favorable landscape for Democrats. During his first term in the House, he positioned himself as a moderate and opposed the cap-and-trade bill and was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition while supporting the stimulus, the Affordable Health Care Act, and the Frank-Dodd financial reform package. Rep. Foster has assembled a talented staff, and his background in science and record of accomplishment set him apart in his class where he could play a key role in fostering bipartisan solutions to complex problems in an increasingly polarized House.
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 week!
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