The GOP wasted no time laying out its energy priorities following its midterm election victory. Promises of what’s to come are flooding in, and the makeup of next year’s House and Senate committees is becoming clearer. But in the meantime, there’s a lame-duck session to get through. For the next two months, the big question hanging over the energy world is the fate of the wind production tax credit (PTC), which saves the industry more than a billion dollars per year. SEE THE FULL STORY HERE.
Week In Review And What’s Ahead
Republicans’ historic victory in the Senate and House last week has ensured that the debate over federal energy policy will head in an entirely new direction in the 114th Congress.
Senate Election Results
from the New York Times
Senate Energy and EPW Leadership Rumors
- Alsaka’s Lisa Murkowski, the senior Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is favored to take the gavel next year. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who is planning to reclaim his position as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will join her in leading energy policy in the GOP Senate.
- Together, Murkowksi and Inhofe’s main targets will be the EPA and Interior Department, Zack Colman writes for the Washington Examiner. Both senators are allies of the oil and gas industry, but Inhofe, an outspoken climate change skeptic, could meet strong resistance from environmental groups and the Obama administration.
- Committee assignments are still just guesses at this point. Check out our explainer on how the new ratios in the Senate will be determined: How Committees are Decided if the Senate Flips
Election Energy Updates
- After six years of stalemate, an approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline seems destined to finally make its way to the president’s desk. In that event, Obama said he would “consider it,” (The Hill), but even if he doesn’t, Republicans might be able to build a veto-proof majority, according to Elana Schor at Politico.
- Fossil fuel production on federal lands is falling, while production everywhere else is on the rise. Republicans see that as lost opportunity and symbolic of the President’s false promises of an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
- It wasn’t a great week for supporters of hydraulic fracturing. NPR has the story on Denton, Texas – one of the industry’s birthplaces – where voters approved a ban on fracking. But less than a day later, the referendum was hit with two separate lawsuits. Read more from the Texas Tribune.
- On the slow-moving nuclear power front, Harry Reid’s departure as Senate Majority Leader paves a path to finish work on the nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain, E&E reports.
- Sen. Mary Landrieu is headed to a runoff with Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Landrieu is chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee and is popular with oil and gas companies, but the aggregate polling website FiveThirtyEight says her chances of winning are slim.
Silver-Lining for Greens, Climate
- There was one victory for climate activists on election day: The Northeast’s nine state cap-and-trade program is poised to pick up a new member – Pennsylvania– after Gov.-elect Tom Wolf proved to be the lone Democratic bright spot in the gubernatorial races. More from National Journal’s Jason Plautz.
- After spending record amounts on the 2014 elections, green groups plan to keep up the pressure, according to SNL.
Oil Prices Keep Sliding
- Natural gas companies and smaller OPEC nations are struggling with prices at current levels, Bloomberg reports, but the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Grocer says low prices are a net gain for the U.S. economy.
When the lame duck congress returns next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to re-introduce tax extenders to the floor. But an agreement won’t come easily, Anna Sillers reports for Morning Consult.
And with members back in town for the first time since the election, jockeying for committee spots and leadership will start in earnest.
You Picked Them! Top 10 Stories of the Week:
from the Washington Examiner by Zack Colman
from Politico Pro by Elana Schor
from Bloomberg by Tim Loh
from National Journal by Jason Plautz
from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
from the Texas Tribune by Jim Malewitz
from Politico Pro by Anna Palmer and Andrew Restuccia
from E&E by Hannah Northrey
from the NYT by Coral Davenport and Bill Vlasic
from the U.S. Department of Energy
Editors’ Pick of the Week:
from BuzzFeed by Mike Giglio
This town on the Turkish-Syrian border is covered in trash. Residents refuse to let any outsiders — even garbagemen — inside. What makes Besaslan more guarded than the other grim towns lining what has become one of the world’s most dangerous borders sits at the end of a winding dirt road: oil.
Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern): October 27 – October 31
Tuesday: API cybersecurity conference @ 8 am
Wednesday: Earnings Reports: Amerigas Partners
Wednesday: House and Senate return for evening votes
Thursday: NRC meeting on nuclear material users @ 9 am
Thursday: HBJ “Let’s Talk Energy” forum @ 7:30 am
Friday: EESI briefing on Innovative Investments @ 2 pm
Friday: Regional GHG Initiative Teleconference @ 3 pm