The Week Ahead: Energy Security to be Discussed by House Energy and Power Subcommittee


Energy Security on Agenda

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing Feb. 5 on “American Energy Security and Innovation: An Assessment of North America’s Energy Resources.”

As covered in Energy and Climate Report, two energy-related security matters continue to garner the attention of Congress and be in the spotlight of the Obama administration.

First, as detailed in a Jan. 22 article, political pressure is mounting on Obama to approve the the Keystone XL Pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas, after Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) approved a revised route in response to environmental concerns. Echoing the views of pipeline proponents, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama should give his approval to help the nation’s energy security and create jobs.

Also, a Jan. 31 article covers remarks by Chuck Hagel, nominated to be defense secretary, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he said he believes the nation's long-term energy security would benefit from the military's use of alternative fuels. Some Republican lawmakers have argued for halting the Pentagon's efforts to invest in biofuels and other forms of alternative energy on grounds they are too expensive in times of fiscal austerity.

House Committee to Discuss Legislative Agenda

Members of the House Science, Space, and Techonology Committee said they will hold a bipartisan "retreat" Feb. 5 to discuss possible legislation to be introduced during the 113th Congress. As detailed in a Jan. 24 article, the committee approved an oversight plan that calls for examining the Environmental Protection Agency's integration of scientific information into regulatory decisionmaking, overseeing energy research, and encouraging federal research in technolgies that can boost U.S. competitiveness.

The committee also split a subcommitteee that had focused on energy and environmental issues into two new subcommitteesthe Subcommittee on Energy and the Subcommittee on Environment.

EPA Faces Deadline in Week Ahead

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, gave EPA a Feb. 6 deadline to respond to questions concerning the agency's delay in releasing its federal regulatory agenda. The agenda was released Dec. 21, 2012, after the administration missed spring and fall deadlines for producing the 2012 regulatory agendas, drawing charges from congressional Republicans that the White House was not upholding its pledge on transparent governance.

As detailed in a Decv. 27, 2012, article, priorities in EPA’s agenda for 2013 include developing regulations to address climate change, improve air quality, secure chemicals, and provide clean water.

European Council to Meet

The European Council will meet Feb. 7-8 on its 2014-2020 $1 trillion budget framework. As covered in a Jan. 16 article, EU development funds, including those used for energy efficiency projects, have been found to be improperly spent. Use of the funds is expected to be part of budget negotiations. 

Webinar on National Climate Assessment

On Feb. 6, the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service will hold a webinaron the "National Climate Assessment Report: A Briefing on the Public Review Draft with a Focus on Ecosystems and Biodiversity."

As covered in a Jan. 14 article, a federal advisory panel released a draft assesment report in which climate change is projected to cause coastal and river flooding in the Northeast United States, compromising infrastructure and increasing the vulnerability of the region's residents, in addition to heat waves.

An assessment is due to Congress every four years under the Global Change Research Act of 1990. However, only two reports have been completed since the law passed, in 2000 and 2009.

EPA Renewable Energy Webinar  

EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance will hold a webinar Feb. 4 on "Tenant Liability Considerations for Siting Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands." The webinar will discuss EPA's guidance issued Dec. 5, 2012, on "Revised Enforcement Guidance Regarding the Treatment of Tenants Under the CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Provision" and three new model letters for lessees involved in renewable energy development on contaminated property.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will hold its annual winter meeting Feb. 3-6 in Washington, D.C. Featured speakers Feb. 4 include Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Amory B. Blovins, author of the book Reinventing Fire, which envisions an energy future without coal, oil, and nuclear power, and one-third less natural gas.

Topics of other sessions include “Getting it Just Right: Gas, Coal, and the Future Generation Resource Mix,” “New Source Performance Standards: Exploring the Future in an NSPS World,” and “Investing in Combined Heat and Power: Benefits and Challenges.”

On Feb. 6, the World Resources Institute will launch a new report at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., entitled, Can the U.S. Get There From Here?The report examines how U.S. greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced using existing federal and state authorities.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing Feb. 5 in Washington, D.C., on "Renewable Energy: Technology, Trends, and Economics." 

On Feb. 6, the American Council on Renewable Energy will hold a "National Renewable Energy Policy Forum," also in Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg Government and the Nuclear Energy Institute will hold a discussion Feb. 6 in Washington, D.C., on the future of U.S. energy policy. Panelists include Carol Browner, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former EPA Administrator; Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.); and Heath Shuler, senior vice president of federal affairs for Duke Energy.

On Feb. 6, Bloomberg BNA will hold a webinar on "Water Adaptation: A Climate Opportunity." Panelists include Michael Shapiro, deputy assistant administrator for water; Paul L. Freedman, co-founder and CEO/president of LimnoTech; Angela Licata, deputy commissioner of environmental planning and analysis for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Jessica Grannis, attorney and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center; and Rita Maguire, a founder of the law firm Maguire & Pearce, PLLC.