Energy Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

Methane rule

  • The Environmental Protection Agency asked for a 52-day delay from having to enforce the Obama-era regulation for the venting and flaring of methane, a critical greenhouse gas, after a court ruled against the agency. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted a 14-day stay while the EPA considers further legal action.
  • While EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had hoped to stay the rule, the EPA accepted public comments and held a public hearing on it, which was overwhelmingly attended by the rule’s proponents.

Bills, bills, bills

  • House appropriators diverged from President Donald Trump’s budget proposal by minimizing cuts to the Interior Department and the EPA’s budget as part of the energy and water appropriations bill.
  • Senators from both parties support a bill that would extend an extension of the tax credit for carbon capture in order to prompt investments in a technology that could make coal-burning plants environmentally safer and reduce emissions from processes such as ethanol production and steel-making.
  • A bipartisan group on the House side protected the need to study climate change as part of national security as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, striking down an amendment that opposed it.

Energy security

  • Energy industry leaders threatened to pull back investments if the government’s main body in charge of energy projects, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, does not get a quorum by August. Two FERC nominees, as well as other Energy Department candidates, are awaiting Senate confirmation votes.
  • Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry visited his counterpart in the Mexican government to discuss trade relations and cross-border electricity transmission as part of a broader discussion on North American energy strategy.

What’s Ahead

  • The Energy Department is due to release its electric grid security study — a review that Perry described as the first step in a longer process. The study, initially due at the end of June, was criticized by conservationists for potential bias against investment in renewable energy.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced health care reform would be the chamber’s focus this week, quashing hopes for a Senate vote on a bipartisan energy bill introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

No events scheduled
House Natural Resources oversight subcommittee hearing on federal natural resources 10 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on market participation in the electric industry 10 a.m.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on energy and resource security 10:30 a.m.
Resources for the Future webinar: Future of California’s Cap-and-Trade Program 12 p.m.
House Natural Resources oversight subcommittee hearing on onshore oil and gas development in Alaska 2 p.m.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources national parks subcommittee legislative hearing 10 a.m.
Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion on the Renewable Fuel Standard 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources Committee legislative hearing 10 a.m.
Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources oversight subcommittee hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Act 2 p.m.
House Natural Resources oversight subcommittee hearing on the future of hardrock mining 9 a.m.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee nomination hearing for Interior and Energy Department nominees 10 a.m.
Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing on water infrastructure 10 a.m.
No events scheduled


Morning Consult Energy Top Reads

1) House Republicans Reject Trump’s Bid to Slash EPA’s Funding
Ari Natter, Bloomberg

2) G20 closes with rebuke to Trump’s climate change stance
Angela Dewan and Stephanie Halasz, CNN

3) Senate panel approves three Trump energy nominees
John Siciliano, Washington Examiner

4) U.S. energy secretary in Mexico eyes cooperation
Gabriel Stargardter, Reuters

5) Energy bill on standby with health care, budget in flux
Geof Koss, E&E News

6) Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws
Zoe Schlanger, Quartz

7) Energy CEOs say investor money and jobs at risk because FERC isn’t functional
Lori Ann LaRocco, CNBC

8) Why is Trump more worried about coal miners than department store employees?
Philip Bump, The Washington Post

9) House begins moving spending bills
Timothy Cama and Devin Henry, The Hill

10) Pruitt blasts Europe, Merkel for ‘hypocrisy’ on climate
Andrew Restuccia, Politico