THE WEEK AHEAD: HOUSE TO HOLD VOTES ON ENERGY, POWER PLANT LIMITS, SPENDING

Calendar

A package of energy and environmental bills that would speed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and block EPA proposals to set greenhouse gas emissions limits for power plants is expected to be on the House floor the week of Sept. 15.

As covered in a Sept. 10 article, the package includes two Keystone pipeline measures already passed by the House—H.R. 3 and H.R. 3301—that would eliminate the need for presidential permits for the Keystone XL pipeline and other energy projects that cross the U.S. border with Canada or Mexico.

The package also includes H.R. 3826, approved by the House in March, which targets the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed carbon limits for power plants.

The House also is expected to vote Sept. 17 on a stopgap funding measure that would continue a provision overriding Obama administration guidance that limits Export-Import Bank financing of overseas coal-fired power projects.

As covered in a Sept. 10 article, environmental groups say the continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 124) would carry over a rider that puts guidelines issued as part of the Obama administration's climate plan on hold until it expires Dec. 11.

Senate Finance Committee to Hold Hearing

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Sept. 17 on "Reforming America's Outdated Energy Tax Code." 

Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is expected to provide more details on his vision of the future of energy-related tax credits.

Wyden, the former chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has long called for giving renewables treatment in the tax code “parity” with fossil fuel incentives, and for using tax treatment to advance low-carbon forms of energy such as renewables

Climate Hearing on House Committee Agenda

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing Sept. 17 on "The Administration's Climate Plan: Failure by Design." 
Top White House science adviser John Holdren and Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator for air and radiation, are scheduled to testify.

Senate to Vote on NRC Nominees

The full Senate is expected to vote Sept. 16 on two nominees to fill vacancies on the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 
As covered in a Sept 19 article, the nominees, Stephen G. Burns and Jeffery M. Baran, are expected to be confirmed.

FERC to Hold Conference

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold an industry conference Sept. 18 in Washington to discuss establishing a centralized natural gas trading platform to better coordinate the use of natural gas in electricity generation.

As covered in an Aug. 25 article, electricity grid reliability has become an issue, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, as natural gas increasingly replaces coal-fired generation to meet new emissions requirements.

UC to Vote on Sustainable Investing

University of California regents will vote Sept. 18 on proposed recommendations set forth by a task force that include the allocation of $1 billion over five years for direct investments in climate change solutions.

As detailed in a Sept. 11 article, the task force recommended that UC integrate environmental, social and governance factors as a core component of portfolio optimization and risk management and evaluate all strategies for achieving those goals “as soon as practical, including whether to use divestment” in fossil fuels.

The $1 billion allocation would go to “solutions-oriented investments such as renewable power and fuels, energy efficiency, and/or sustainable food and agriculture,” the recommendation said.

UN General Assembly

The 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly will be held Sept. 16-29 in New York. Among the environmental issues to be discussed is the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture.

As covered in an Aug. 8 brief, Secretary of State John Kerry announced in August that the U.S. will sign onto the initiative that seeks to promote increased but sustainable agricultural production as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector.

During the last week of the UN General Assembly, a UN Climate Summit will be held Sept. 23 that will be attended by world leaders, including President Barack Obama. 

California Air Resources Board to Meet

On Sept. 18, the California Air Resources Board will hold a meeting in Sacramento to discuss, among other items, interim guidance for agencies receiving money from the greenhouse gas reduction fund, amendments to the state’s cap on greenhouse gas emissions and market-based compliance mechanisms and amendments to mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirements.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The Wilson Center will host an event Sept. 17 in Washington on the "New Climate Economy,"  a project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate established by seven countries—Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Seden and the United Kingdom—to examine how countries can achieve economic growth while addressing risks posed by climate change.

The annual American Energy and Manufacturing Summit will be held Sept. 17 in Washington. Keynote speakers include Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz and David Danielson, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
 
The George C. Marshall Institute will hold an event Sept. 16 at the National Press Club in Washington on "The State of the Climate Debate."  The featured speaker will be Judith Curry, professor of sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

Pace Global will hold a webinar Sept. 16 on "EPA's Clean Power Plan—What Does it Mean for You?" The webinar will feature a roundtable discussion of Pace Global experts who will address key questions that are most often asked about the rule.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing Sept. 18 in Washington on "Carbon Accounting and Vehicle Fuels: A Research Update." 

Speakers include Michael Wang, senior scientist for energy systems at Argonne National Laboratory; Steffen Mueller, principal economist at the University of Chicago’s Energy Resources Center; and Dean Drake, president of the Defour Group LLC.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation will hold an online debate Sept. 15 on “The UN Climate Summit—Can Ban Ki-Moon’s Summit Help Build a Global Movement for Climate Action?” 

Panelists include Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s special envoy for climate change; Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org; Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International; and Saleemul Huq, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development and senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.
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