Energy Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

By Jack Fitzpatrick and Iulia Gheorghiu

Week in Review

Obama’s venting and flaring rule survives

  • Opponents of the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management rule limiting the venting and flaring of methane unexpectedly failed to pass a resolution blocking the regulation by a 49-51 vote in the Senate.

Trump nominates 2 for FERC

  • President Donald Trump nominated Senate energy adviser Neil Chatterjee and Pennsylvania utility regulator Rob Powelson to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The commission will have a quorum if the two are confirmed.

Agencies overhaul scientific advisory boards

  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to replace half of the members on a key scientific review board. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will review the “charter and charge” of more than 200 advisory boards.

Paris debate drags on

  • The Trump administration will not make a decision on whether the U.S. should stay in the Paris climate agreement until after the May 26-27 Group of Seven summit, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said little about the U.S.’s climate policies at a meeting with officials from other Arctic nations, saying, “We are going to make the right decision for the United States.”

Zinke visits Utah for monument review

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent four days in Utah as part of his review of 27 national monument designations under the Antiquities Act. Some groups supporting the designations of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments complained the department turned down their requests for meetings.

Hanford Site tunnel collapses

  • A tunnel with radioactive nuclear waste at Washington state’s Hanford Site collapsed, forcing an evacuation of some workers. Officials detected no release of radiation.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate Homeland Security Committee will hold a business meeting Wednesday on 17 bills, including the Regulatory Accountability Act, which environmental and public health groups have warned would slow progress of regulations under the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and others.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will consider the nomination of David Bernhardt to be deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior. Bernhardt was the department’s solicitor during the George W. Bush administration.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Bipartisan Policy Center discussion on “Digitizing the Power Sector” 10:30 a.m.
EESI discussion on energy emergency preparedness 12:30 p.m.
House Appropriations subcommittee American Indian and Alaska Native public witness hearing 9 a.m.
New York State Public Service Commissioner Diane X. Burman speaks at AGA 12 p.m.
House Appropriations subcommittee American Indian and Alaska Native public witness hearing 1 p.m.
Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on leveraging federal funding for infrastructure 3:15 p.m.
Harvard Business School Club of D.C. discussion on investment in energy 6:30 p.m.
Murkowski, Faison discuss energy at ACCF 8:30 a.m.
Greentech Solar Summit 8:45 a.m.
House Appropriations subcommittee American Indian and Alaska Native public witness hearing 9 a.m.
Senate Homeland Security Committee meeting on regulatory reform bills 10 a.m.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on infrastructure 10 a.m.
Perdue testifies to House Agriculture Committee 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on rigs to reefs program 10 a.m.
House Appropriations subcommittee American Indian and Alaska Native public witness hearing 1 p.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on wildfire management 2 p.m.
Greentech Solar Summit 9:30 a.m.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on nomination of deputy Interior secretary 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on water rights bills 10 a.m.
House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee hearing on water quality 10 a.m.
Environmental Law Institute discussion on compensatory mitigation 12 p.m.
Book talk on “Hot, Hungry Planet” by Lisa Palmer 4 p.m.
Pruitt discusses “Returning to EPA Originalism” 5 p.m.
NCAC-USAEE event on horizontal wells 12 p.m.


Morning Consult Energy Top Reads

1) E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board
Coral Davenport, The New York Times

2) Tillerson gives nod at Arctic meet to climate change action
Timothy Gardner, Reuters

3) Trump picks 2 for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Darius Dixon, Politico

4) US revives requests for Atlantic seismic surveys
Argus Media

5) Trump delays decision on Paris climate pact
Timothy Cama, The Hill

6) EPA’s Pruitt asserts his authority to clean house
John Siciliano, Washington Examiner

7) EPA dismisses half of key board’s scientific advisers; Interior suspends more than 200 advisory panels
Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post

8) Tesla begins taking orders for its glass solar roof tiles with a roll out in the US this year, Elon Musk says
Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

9) Tesla’s Solar Roof Sets Musk’s Grand Unification Into Motion
Tom Randall, Bloomberg News

10) Trump Takes Aim at Western Monuments That May Hold Oil, Coal
Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg News