THE WEEK AHEAD: OBAMA TO RELEASE BUDGET REQUEST, HOUSE TO HOLD HEARING ON THE EFFECTS OF ENERGY MARKETS ON TRANSPORTATION

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The Obama Administration is scheduled to release its fiscal year 2016 budget request Feb. 2, which is expected to propose an end to across-the-board spending cuts and fund domestic and defense priorities at levels exceeding sequestration caps.

Hearings on the budget request have been scheduled by Congress. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing Feb 3, the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, and the House Ways and Means Committee Feb. 3. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is scheduled to testify at the House hearing.

House Transportation Hearing

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing Feb. 3 on “How the Changing Energy Markets Will Affect U.S. Transportation.”

Witnesses include Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads; Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute; Andrew Black, president and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines; Jason Thomas, managing director and director of research for the Carlyle Group; and Greg Saxton, senior vice president and chief engineer for the Greenbrier Companies.

Moniz to Hold Briefing

On Feb. 2, Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will host a media briefing in Washington on the Energy Department’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request, outlining the DOE’s proposed investments in research, infrastructure and an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

Energy Outlook Conference

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Cheryl LaFleur will be among the speakers at the National Association of State Energy Officials’ 2015 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Feb. 3-6 in Washington.

McCarthy will speak Feb 5 on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and energy efficiency and renewable energy compliance options. On Feb. 4 Moniz will discuss grid modernization. LaFleur will discuss what the EPA  Clean Power Plan means for electricity reliability Feb. 5.

Energy Department Hearing

The Energy Department will hold a public meeting Feb. 6 on proposed updated energy efficiency standards for certain commercial air conditioning and heating equipment.

As covered in a Dec. 29 article, the proposed standards, which the DOE estimates could result in net benefits of up to $51 million per year, apply to single package vertical air conditioners and single package vertical heat pumps. The units are used mainly in modular classrooms, modular office buildings, telecommunication shelters and hotels.

TVA Council Meeting

The Tennessee Valley Authority Regional Energy Resource Council will hold a hearing Feb. 2 -3 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The RERC advises the TVA on its energy resource activities and priorities. Among the items on the agenda is an overview of TVA’s Integrated Value Project, which seeks to determine the value of distributed generation.

Denton to Hold Vote

On Feb. 3, the Denton City Council in Texas is expected to vote on extending a moratorium on drilling while the city revises its regulations related to existing wells.

As covered in a Jan. 14 article, a proposed ordinance would put in place programs to monitor production, implement some local pipeline regulation and establish regulations for co-location. The proposal also would expand local regulations on gas well notifications and disclosures, as well as increase operator insurance coverage requirements.

Australia Court to Hear Case

On Feb. 3, an Australian Court will hold a preliminary hearing in Sydney over whether the country’s main environmental law requires the government to consider the climate change impacts of burning coal when deciding whether to approve a mine.

As covered in a Jan. 16 article, the case will turn in large part on the potential impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, which is at risk of being formally classified as “in danger” by a committee of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The United States Energy Association will hold an event Feb. 3 in Washington on “Framework for Assessing the Economics of Solar PV in the Electric Utility Industry.” James Cater, director for economic and financial policy for the American Public Power Association, will be the featured speaker.

On Feb. 4, Resources for the Future will hold an event on “Toward a Global Climate Agreement: Comparing Countries’ Levels of Effort.” A webcast of the event will held simultaneously.

GreenBiz will hold a webinar Feb. 3 on the release of its eighth annual edition of “State of Green Business.”

New America will hold an event Feb. 2 in Washington on “Driving Innovation: Technology, Policy and the Car of the Future.”

Featured speakers include Levi Tillemann, author of “The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future” and a fellow at New America, and Daniel Yergin, author of “The Quest and the Prize.” He is also New America board member and chairman for Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

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