The Week Ahead: Senate to Vote on Keystone, House to Vote on EPA-Related Bills


The Senate is expected to vote Nov. 18 on a bill (S. 2280) that would authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline without the need for presidential approval.  The House passed its version of the bill (H.R. 5682) Nov. 14 for the ninth time since 2011. 

As covered in a Nov. 13 Energy and Climate Report article, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is counting on Senate passage to boost her reelection chances in a tight Dec. 6 run-off with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Critics dismiss her effort to hold a vote on the bill as a purely political ploy.

Supporters of the bill are still shy of the 60 votes needed to defeat a certain filibuster.

House to Vote on EPA-Related Bills

As detailed in this article, the Republican-controlled House is expected to take up several bills the week of Nov. 17 that would require more transparency in Environmental Protection Agency rulemakings and rein in its regulatory authority.

One of the bills to be considered on the floor is the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1422), which would revamp procedures for a panel that gives the agency expert advice for its rulemakings.

The other two are the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 4012), which would prohibit EPA from finalizing rules unless it has made the data used to support the rule public, and the Promoting New Manufacturing Act (H.R. 4795), which would expedite the EPA's issuance of preconstruction permits under its new source review program and direct it to publish implementing guidance for revised ambient air quality standards.

House Democrats to Vote

On Nov. 18, House Democrats are expected to vote on committee leaders.

As covered in a Nov. 10 article, after Henry Waxman (Calif.) announced he wouldn't seek re-election, both Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.) announced their candidacy for his spot. The race has split House Democratic leaders with Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) backing Eshoo and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) backing Pallone.

Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) are seeking to become the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. As covered in a Nov. 6 article, the position became vacant with the defeat of the current ranking member, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), in the Nov. 4 election.

As covered in a Nov. 13 article, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is poised to become the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, won reelection.

EPA to Hold Carbon Meeting

EPA will hold a public meeting Nov. 19 on a proposed rule to set carbon dioxide emissions limits for power plants in Indian country, Puerto Rio and Guam.

As detailed in an Oct. 31 article, the proposed rule would set emissions rates for the utilities and then allow the regions the flexibility to determine how to meet those targets, much the way its proposed rule for existing power plants would allow states to write their own compliance plans.

Joint Allowance Auction

The California Air Resources Board and Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change will hold their first joint auction of greenhouse gas emissions allowances Nov. 19.

California and Quebec linked their cap-and-trade programs on Jan. 1, opening the door for the joint auction of allowances, or permits, which registered participants will be able to buy or sell.

Washington State Taskforce

Washington state’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce is scheduled to give its final report to Gov. Jay Inslee (D) Nov. 17.

The taskforce, comprised of 21 leaders from business, labor, health and public interest organizations, is charged with providing recommendations to the governor on the design and implementation of a market-based carbon pollution reduction program.

Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund will hold a “pledging conference” Nov. 19-20 in Bonn.

The fund, which is part of the larger $100 billion effort, would help poor nations boost their renewable energy as well as fight flooding and droughts.

While the U.S. is expected to provide $3 billion for the fund—as detailed in a Nov. 7 article—Republican lawmakers have questioned spending U.S. dollars on the effort.

Other Energy, Climate Events

The United Nations Environment Program will hold an event Nov. 19 in Washington on “Green Economy for Sustainable Economies." The event is part of the UN’s Office for South-South Cooperation Expo being held Nov. 17-21.

The Climate Investment Fund, which helps developing countries address climate change, will hold a series of meetings Nov. 17-19 in Washington. The CIF is actually two funds—the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund—that are coordinated by the World Bank and governed by representatives of multilateral development banks, developed countries and developing countries.

The Wilson Center will host an event Nov. 18 in Washington on "Tracking a Changing Climate: Citizen Science Contributions to the National Climate Assessment."

On Nov. 19, the center will host another event on “Solutions for Sustainability and Resilience in a Constantly Changing World.”



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