Energy Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

By Asha Glover

Week In Review

WRDA passed by Senate

The Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act in a 95-3 vote Thursday. The $9.4 billion bill includes $270 million to address water infrastructure problems in Flint, Mich., and other cities.

In a 90-1 vote, the Senate on Monday moved to end debate on a substitute amendment to the measure. Later in the week, the chamber voted 85-12 to waive a motion that says the waterways bill violates the budget act on Wednesday and voted 94-3 to end debate and move toward a vote on an amended version of the bill.

Trump is clear on some parts of energy plan, but others not so much

In a speech focused on economic policy on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. Rule in order to save money.

Trump said the government estimates the Clean Power Plan will cost $7.2 billion a year. He also cited the Heritage Foundation, saying President Obama’s energy regulations will eliminate half a million manufacturing jobs by 2030 and reduce economic output by $2.5 trillion. Trump said unlike Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, his policies would lift restrictions “on all sources of American energy production.”

As recently as Tuesday, Trump said he would protect the Renewable Fuel Standard. A fact sheet published by his campaign on Thursday backed down on those promises and called for the elimination of a key part of the program because it threatens to bankrupt a some refiners. However, the campaign re-issued the fact sheet later in the day, without mention of renewable identification numbers.

Dakota Access pipeline fight continues to heat up

If the Dakota Access pipeline is paused, its backers could lose $430 million, the company’s lawyers said in a legal brief filed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The company could also face loss of customers and 8,000 people could be out of work if the pipeline’s construction is blocked.

The Army Corps of Engineers supports the temporary halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline while Obama administration officials review the project, according to a filing in federal court. Still, the Army Corps ultimately thinks the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe should not be granted the injunction it has asked for.

Smith defends subpoenas

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) on Wednesday defended issuing subpoenas to the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general over their investigations into whether Exxon Mobil lied to its shareholders and the public about the effects of climate change.

Smith said the committee is concerned the state-led investigations will have an “adverse impact” on scientific research funded by the federal government, causing the committee to change the law and possibly have to put out more money.

However, Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore and former acting general counsel for the House of Representatives, said the committee’s subpoena of the state attorneys general in their official capacity was unprecedented.

Oil prices slump after IEA report

In a report released on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency said its monthly forecast indicates the oil glut could hold during the upcoming months and supply will continue to beat out demand, at least through the first half of 2017, walking back predictions that markets would rebalance this year. West Texas Intermediate prices fell to less than $45 per barrel after the monthly report was published.  

What’s Ahead

Both the House and Senate will be in session.

On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s final guidance for federal agencies to consider climate change under their National Environmental Policy Act reviews. The final guidance will help agencies describe climate change impacts and advise them on considering alternatives to make the proposed actions and the affected communities more resilient to the effects of climate change. The guidance will also stress the importance of using existing information and science when considering proposals.

Also on Wednesday, House Science subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on “misconduct and intimidation of scientists” by the Energy Department. Two department officials are scheduled to testify.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on Thursday to review the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program and greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles.

On Monday, The Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists will launch the 2016 World Nuclear Industry Status Report. The report will include a comprehensive overview of nuclear plant data and an assessment on the financial status of the most important companies in the nuclear industry.

Mark Your Calendars (All Eastern Times)

Monday
2016 World Nuclear Industry Status Report will be launched 12 p.m.
Tuesday
No events scheduled
Wednesday
Senate Agriculture Committee holds a hearing on the Agriculture Department and the farm economy 10 a.m.
House Science subcommittees hold a hearing on DOE misconduct and intimidation 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on CEQ’s guidance for GHG emissions and climate change effects 10 a.m.
House Transportation Committee holds a hearing on FEMA’s role in local land use development decisions 10 a.m.
AGA holds an investor relations workshop 11:45 a.m.
Atlantic Council will hold brieing on nuclear energy 12:30 p.m.
House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on misconduct and mismanagement at the National Park Service 1 p.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on government management of wolves 2 p.m.
House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup 5 p.m.
Thursday
Wilson Center will hold energy forum 9 a.m.
Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing on 21 bills 9:30 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on GHG emissions standards for motor vehicles 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup 10 a.m.
WCEE holds luncheon on energy efficiency 12 p.m.
Friday
Bloomberg BNA and Nuclear Matters holds a breakfast on nuclear power 8 a.m.

Morning Consult Energy Top Reads

1) The Coming Week: Senate Prepares to Leave Washington
Fawn Johnson, Morning Consult

2) Obama requests $2.6B in aid for Louisiana floods
Timothy Cama, The Hill

3) Flint Funding Advances, but the Finish Line Is Far Away
Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult

4) Water Bill With Flint Aid Moves Ahead in Senate
Melanie Zanona, The Hill

5) Energy Secretary: Administration Working Hard for Coal Power
Jonathan Mattise, The Associated Press

6) Oceans Are Absorbing Almost All of the Globe’s Excess Heat
Tim Wallace, The New York Times

7) Feds argue against pipeline injunction, support new review
Devin Henry, The Hill

8) Federal Intervention on Oil Pipeline Project Unprecedented
James MacPherson, The Associated Press

9) Top EPA Official: ‘Dickheads’ in White House Resisted Regulating Fracking
Lachlan Markay, The Washington Free Beacon

10) The Crazy, Mixed-Up Global Oil Market
Tracy Alloway and Javier Blas, Bloomberg News

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!