Work Continues on Energy Policies as DC Reacts To Tragic Naval Yard Shootings

Energy and Politics Update

Today in Washington

Security is heightened around the Capitol today following the tragic shootings at the Washington Naval Yards, just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol Complex.  While investigations into the shootings continue, both the House and the Senate will be in session.  The Senate will continue its consideration of amendments to the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency bill, hoping to resolve the stalemate caused by the Vitter amendment dealing with healthcare benefits for Senate staffers.  The House will commence work on 5 bills under suspension of the rules.  These include: H.R. 1410– Keep the Promise Act of 2013;
H.R. 2449 – To authorize the President to extend the term of the Agreement of Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning Civil Uses of Nuclear Energy; H.R. 301 – To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia; S.793 – Organization of American States Revitalization and Reform Act of 2013; andH.R. 3092 – To amend the Missing Children’s Assistance Act.

Other Items of Interest

U.S. and Russia Sign Agreement to Further R&D Collaboration in Nuclear Energy and Security:  U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Director General of the Russian Federation State Corporation “Rosatom” Sergey Kirienko  signed the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in Nuclear- and Energy-Related Scientific Research and Development on the margins of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference in Vienna, Austria. The Agreement provides the legal framework necessary to expand cooperation between U.S. and Russian nuclear research laboratories, institutes, and facilities in a broad range of areas, including nuclear technology, nonproliferation, fundamental and applied science, energy, and environment.

New Methane Emissions Study Released:  A new study from The University of Texas at Austin reports on extensive measurements of methane emissions — including the first measurements for methane emissions taken directly at the well pad — during completion operations for hydraulically fractured wells. A team of researchers from UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering and environmental testing firms URS and Aerodyne Research completed measurements at 190 natural gas production sites across the United States. The study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is the product of a partnership with Environmental Defense Fund and nine oil and gas producing companies. The measurements indicate that well completion emissions are lower than previously estimated; the data also show emissions from pneumatic controllers and equipment leaks are higher than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national emission projections. Estimates of total emissions are similar to the most recent EPA national inventory of methane emissions from natural gas production.

Important Events and Hearings 

Senate ENR to Consider Binz Nomination: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing to consider the nominations of Mr. Ronald J. Binz to be a Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Ms. Elizabeth M. Robinson to be Under Secretary of Energy, and Mr. Michael L. Connor to be Deputy Secretary of Interior.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:30 AM
366 Dirksen Senate Office Building

DHS and Critical Infrastructure:  Homeland Security Department (DHS); National Protection and Programs Directorate will hold a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council on the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors and information systems.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 3:00 PM
National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center Auditorium, 2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 150, Arlington, Va.
Contact: Nancy Wong, 703-235-2888

Member of the Day

U.S. Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Committee Assignments:
House Energy and Commerce Committee

  • Subcommittee on Energy and Power
  • Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
  • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Contact Information:  
Chief of Staff: Natalie Farr
Legislative Director: Joe Williamson
Twitter: @repcorygarndner
Office Telephone: 202-225-4676

Summary: Highly intelligent and articulate, Rep. Gardner was one of just a hand full of freshman placed on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the oldest and one of the most powerful legislative committees in the House.  He is a strong supporter of energy development, including both fossil fuels and renewable sources, and has regularly criticized the Obama Administration’s policies that have limited oil and gas development on public lands.  He is viewed by many in Washington as a rising star in the Republican Party, and it is likely he will join the House Leadership team at some point in the near future.

Background: Rep. Gardner is a fifth-generation Coloradoan with family roots dating back to 1886. He grew up working in his family’s farm implement dealership where he did everything from sweep the floors to manage the books and order inventory. Cory graduated summa cum laude from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, moving on to law school at the University of Colorado to earn his law degree. He went on to serve as General Counsel and Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard in Washington, DC and also worked briefly for the National Corn Growers Association before returning to Colorado. Rep. Gardner served in the Colorado General Assembly for five years.  During his tenure, he was selected by his colleagues to serve as the Colorado House Minority Whip.  He created the Colorado Clean Energy Authority, which brought millions of dollars of economic development to the state.  He was also named Legislator of the Year by the Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Child Care Association and Community Pharmacies of Colorado. He also received the Friend of Home Care Award from the Home Care Association of Colorado, and was named a Champion of Rural Colorado by the Independent Bankers. The Colorado Civil Justice League has recognized Cory on numerous occasions for his efforts to reduce frivolous litigation and runaway lawsuit abuse. In 2009, he received the Guardian of the Taxpayer award from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.  He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, defeating the incumbent Betsy Markey.

In Congress:  Rep. Gardner is an advocate for limited government and lower taxes.  His first order of business after being sworn-in as a Member of Congress was to co-sponsor a balanced budget amendment and vote to cut 5 percent from his congressional office budget. His congressional district lies in the eastern part of the state and envelops much of the rural Eastern Plains, whose ranchers and farmers enjoy federal subsidies for wheat, corn, livestock and dairy products. Gardner grew up on his family’s farm near Yuma, where he still lives.

Key Bills:
H.R. 3, Northern Route Approval Act (Keystone XL)—Cosponsored
H.R. 367, Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act—Cosponsored
H.R. 761, National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act—Cosponsored
H.R. 1900, Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act—Cosponsored

Energy Comments:

Hydraulic fracturing: Rep. Gardner was recently interviewed about his thoughts on Hydraulic fracturing.  The video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws5rEn1tlWU.  In general, Gardner has called on federal energy and health regulators to defer to state regulations on drilling procedures such as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Rep. Gardner led a letter cosigned by more than 60 Congressmen in 2012 urging BLM to work more closely with the oil and gas industry when considering its HF rule for federal lands. In the letter he said, “Hydraulic fracturing has the potential to revitalize our economy and provide an increase in future domestic energy supply.  If this country is serious about moving towards energy independence, hydraulic fracturing must be part of the equation.”

From a 2012 Interview: “We have an obligation to responsibly access energy, whether it’s in Weld County or beyond, and we always need to do everything we can to do what’s right by the environment and do what’s right with responsible rules and regulations. That being said, Colorado’s doing a good job and the federal government does need to keep its nose out.”

Oil and Gas Taxes:  Rep. Gardner has been targeted by environmental groups urging higher taxes on oil and gas producers.  He has an understanding of the importance of IDCs and other tax provisions to the industry, but has indicated that he thinks these provisions will likely be on the table in some form should real comprehensive tax reform come forward.

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: https://hbwresources.com/intelligence/. Hope you all have a great day.

Thanks,

Michael Zehr
HBW Resources
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006
Direct: 202-429-6081
Cell: 202-277-3927
E-mail: mzehr@hbwresources.com
Twitter: @mzehrhbw