The Week Ahead: House Panels to Examine Cost of Solar Loans, GHG Regulations


Assessing the costs of the Obama Administration's commitment to solar energy projects will be the subject of a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing July 18.

As detailed in a World Climate Change Reportarticle, top Republicans on the committee introduced a bill July 10the No More Solyndras Actwhich would phase out the Energy Department's clean energy loan guarantee program. 

Solyndra LLC, a California solar panel manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million DOE loan guarantee funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The hearing on the cost of solar projects comes on the heels of July 12 joint hearing by the oversight and reform subcommittee and the Energy and Power Subcommittee during which DOE said phasing out the loan guarantee program, which also covers other types of clean energy, could put taxpayer dollars at risk by placing new restrictions on pending applications and requiring "duplication of responsibilities" by government agencies.v

House Panels to Discuss Energy Initiatives

On July 18, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing as part of its "American Energy Initiative" to "Focus on Federal Government Perspectives Regarding Alternative Fuels and Vehicles."

The subcommittee also will hold a field hearing July 16 on "the American Energy Initiative: A Focus on the Environmental Protection Agency's Proposed Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard for Utilities and the Impact this Regulation Will Have on Jobs."

The hearing will be held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.

An analysis of the NSPS, which observers say would be detrimental to the coal industry, was published June 27.

Senate Panel to Look at Aviation Industry

Regulatory issues, access to foreign markets, and other matters affecting the U.S. aviation industry's global competitiveness will be the subject of a July 18 hearing by Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security.

Last month, as detailed in a June 6 article, the full committee held a hearing on legislationthe European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act (S. 1956)which would essentially exempt U.S. airlines from the European Union's carbon caps. The House passed its version of the bill in October 2011.

Opponents of the emissions trading scheme argue that it violates international law, will be a burden on U.S. and international airlines, and will throw international aviation into an uncertain time period, potentially causing disruptions in air transportation.

Other Climate, Energy Events

EPA will hold a webinar July 17 on "Aligning Green Power Partners with New Renewable Energy Projects." The webinar will feature five to eight project presentations from renewable energy developers and a question and answer session.

Federal agencies, tribal organizations, and other groups will hold the "First Stewards Symposium" in Washington D.C. July 17-19 to examine the impact of climate change on indigenous coastal cultures.

Representatives from Alaska, U.S. Pacific states and territories, the Great Lakes region, the East Coast, and Gulf Coast will hold panel discussions, and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) will give the keynote address.

Bloomberg BNA Webinar

On July 19, Bloomberg BNA will host a webinar on "Sustainability Law and Best Practices: Creating Opportunities from Risks." Featured speakers are John Dernbach, a professor at Widener University Law School and author of the new book Acting as if Tomorrow Matters: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability, and Scott Schang, executive vice president for the Environmental Law Institute.