Tuesday in Washington:
Both the House and Senate will be in session today. The Senate will continue its consideration of the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 743), legislation providing a legal framework for states to collect sales taxes on certain online purchases. The Senate voted 74-20 in favor of proceeding to the bill yesterday despite opposition from both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. The House will be considering a pair of uncontroversial bills out of the Judiciary Committee under suspension.
Most of the activity today will be in the committees, where budget hearings continue laying the ground work for the FY2014 appropriations bills.
Other Items of Interest:
Poll Released Showing Most Americans and Canadians Support the Keystone XL Pipeline:The new poll released yesterday showed that 74% of Americans and 68% of Canadians support the Keystone XL pipeline. The study, conducted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Nanos Research, shows that energy security is a higher priority for most Americas compared to other related issues such as reducing greenhouse gases. A copy of the polling data can be viewed here.
USGS Releases Study on Sage-Grouse Habitat: Scientists compiled and analyzed information about the environment surrounding 3,000 active breeding areas, known as leks, within a 355,000 square–mile portion of the sage-grouse’s historic range. Environmental factors examined within a 3-mile radius of each lek were climate, land cover, and densities of roads, power lines, pipelines, and communication towers. The sage-grouse is a candidate for listing under the ESA because of habitat and population fragmentation coupled with development in critical areas. Most of the sagebrush habitat used by sage-grouse is under public land management, with 50 percent managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Additional information about the study can be found here.
Senator Murkowski Delivers Keynote at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit: During her presentation, Senator Murkowski highlighted the details of her Energy 20/20 plan which she released last year. Energy policy should encourage abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure supplies. She expressed support for expansion of MLPs for renewable energy projects, domestic development and mining of critical minerals, reforms to DOE’s loan programs, increased energy exports, and tax reforms that do not limit energy development or increase prices. A copy of her remarks can be viewed here.
Senator Vitter and 32 Senators Urge Withdrawal of GHG Regulation Plans Under NEPA: Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and 32 senators sent a letter to Nancy Sutley, the Chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality, urging the Administration to withdraw their draft guidance to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Senators contend that such requirements were not envisioned when NEPA was signed into law and will cause significant delays in permitting projects and slow our nation’s economic recovery. A copy of the letter and additional information can be found here.
EPA Submits Comments Critical of Keystone XL Study: The EPA highlighted concerns with the State Department’s review of the pipeline noting GHG emissions, risk of spills, alternative routes, and impacts on local residents. The EPA comments were submitted on the last day of the 45-day public comment period on a draft review of the revised route for the Keystone XL project. A copy of EPA’s comments can be viewed here.
EPA Proposes New Effluent Rule and Options for Compliance: The EPA proposed a number of options that power plants can use to comply with new effluent guidelines. The guidelines could affect over 1,200 power plant, nearly half of which are coal-fired. The EPA is proposing four preferred options, and it has identified a single option for controlling discharges from new power plants. An unofficial draft of the proposed options can be viewed here.
Today’s Key Hearings and Events:
Coast Guard and NOAA Budget Hearing: Today at 10 AM in 253 Russell, the Senate Commerce Committee Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the proposed budget request for FY2014 for the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Link
Senate Hydopower Hearing: Today at 10 AM in 366 Dirksen, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on S.306, the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act”; S.545, the “Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013”; H.R.267, the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013”; and a bill to promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry. Link
DOE Energy Innovation Discussion: Today at 10:30 AM in 2325 Rayburn, the Energy Department will host a panel discussion with directors of the Energy Innovation Hubs to discuss the potential for transformative breakthroughs in energy, including “virtual reactors” powered by supercomputers.
Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.; Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman; Douglas Kothe, director of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors; Nathan Lewis, founding director and chief scientist at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis; Henry Foley, executive director of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub; George Crabtree, director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research; and Alex King, director of the Critical Materials Institute will participate.
A full list of important hearings and events for the week can be reviewed in Monday’s edition, available here.
New Member of the Day: Representative Steven Daines (R-MT)
Committee Assignments: Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Homeland Security
Chief of Staff: Jason Thielman
Deputy COS: Darin C. Thacker
Legislative Assistant: Patrick Buell
Experience: Rep. Daines ran unsuccessfully for Lt. Gov. in 2008, and was expected to challenge Senator Tester in 2012 prior to Rep. Rehberg entering the race. Earlier in his career, he spent thirteen years working for Proctor & Gamble before running a startup computer software company that was eventually purchased by Oracle. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from Montana State University and served as one of President Reagan’s youngest delegates in 1984.
Importance: Rep. Daines represents more constituents than any other Member of the House, slightly more than one million people. He comes from a resource rich state and supports market based policies that remove barriers to energy development. As a new Member of both T&I and the House Natural Resources Committee, he is well positioned to advance policies that will increase energy production and thwart federal efforts to slow or complicate energy development. At a recent hearing, Rep. Daines said there are two great lies told anytime the federal government gets involved in land use issues. The first is when federal officials say: “We are with the government and we are here to help.” The next is when local residents say: “We’re glad you are here.”
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 Wednesday!
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