The Week Ahead: House Floor Vote on Biofuels Bill Expected to Renew Debate, Committee to Hold DOE Budget Hearing


A defense funding bill that includes controversial restrictions on the Pentagon's ability to produce and procure biofuels unless their cost is "equivalent to conventional fuels" is expected to be brought to the House floor the week of June 10.

As detailed in a June 6 Energy and Climate Report article, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2014 (H.R. 1960) would also prohibit the military from pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) efficiency building standards unless the investment is fully offset by the amount of energy conserved.

The Senate version of the fiscal 2014 bill, which is scheduled to be marked up the week of June 10, has yet to be unveiled.

Last year, after being hotly debated, the biofuels restriction was stripped from the House version of the defense authorization bill (H.R. 4310) by Senators in their version of the bill (S. 3254), which was signed into law by President Obama Jan. 2.

As detailed in a Dec. 4, 2012, article, opponents of S. 3254, which included Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and James Inhoffe (R-Okla), said the military should not be paying more for altnerative fuels than for traditional fuels, especially during times of fiscal austerity.

Supporters of S. 3254, which included Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), said alternative fuels are needed to protect the defense budget from the increasing costs of traditional fuels.

As for newly appointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, during his nomination hearing, which was covered in a Feb. 12 article, he said the military would benefit from continued investment in alternative fuels, although he said large volumes of alternative fuels should be purchased only when cost-competitive with petroleum products.

House Energy Budget Hearing

On June 13, Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz is expected to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee regarding the department's fiscal 2014 budget.

As with all federal agencies, DOE is currently facing huge spending cuts to its fiscal 2013 budget under across-the-board budget reductions that went into effect March 1 under sequestration.

Of the nearly $1.9 billion in cuts the department must make, the largestabout $604 million are expected to come from the National Nuclear Security Administration. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's budget is also expected to be cut by $91 million.

Moniz was recently confirmed by the Senate, as detailed in a May 21 article. After his confirmation, he said the Obama administration plans to focus on energy efficiency as a way to address energy concerns and combat climate change. In addition, Moniz said he will focus on partnering with states on energy efficiency programs, reducing energy consumption in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, and increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles.

CARB to Hold Workshop

The California Air Resources Board will hold a public workshop June 13 in Sacramento to discuss its proposed 2013 scoping plan to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (A.B. 32), which requires greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020.

The 2013 update will be the first five-year review of the scoping plan, which CARB said will look beyond 2020 and focus on transportation, fuels, and infrastructure; energy generation, transmission, and efficiency; waste; water; and agriculture.

EPA to Hold Interactive Webinar Series

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with North Carolina State University, will hold interactive webinarsJune 10-12 as part of its "States-Tribes-EPA Climate Adaptation Symposium."

On June 10, webinars will be held on "Incorporating Emergency Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation into Adaptation Plans" and "Risk Management and Insurance Strategies Related to Climate Change."

June 11 webinars will cover "Equity and Adaptation for Vulnerable Communities," "Climate Adaptation Decision Support Tools" and "Successful Response to Coastal Adaptation Challenges."

A June 12 webinar will be held on "Climate Adaptation: The Way Forward."

Climate Leadership Webinar

EPA will hold a Climate Leadership Awards webinar June 11 on "A Review of 2014 Eligibility, Criteria, and Application Requirements." The Climate Leadership Conference, hosted by The Climate Registry, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and the Association of Climate Change Officers, is an annual event that recognizes leaders in the climate arena and highlights current events surrounding global climate change policy, innovation, and business solutions. Bloomberg BNA is a sponsor of the conference.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The following events are scheduled in the week ahead in Washington, D.C.:

  • On June 10, the Environmental Law Institute will hold a summit on "Private Environmental Governance: Facing the Challenges of Voluntary Standards, Supply Chains, and Green Marketing."
  • On June 12, Citizens for Political Reform will hold panel discussions on "The Geopolitical Impacts of the U.S. Tight Oil Boom; Implications for OPEC and the U.S. Strategic Posture." The keynote address will be given by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). 
  • On June 12, the Sustainable Energy Coalition will hold its 16th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo and Forum.
  • On June 12, Resources for the Future will feature a panel discussion on "Ice Sheets on the Move." The panel will characterize the state of the science, methods for quantifying uncertainty, and potential consequences of abrupt sea level rise posed by melting ice sheets.
  • On June 13, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association will host a press briefing on "Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy to Rebuild the Nation's Energy Infrastructure and Mitigate Future Outages."