The Week Ahead: Spotlight on How Mid-Term Election Results May Affect Environmental, Energy Issues


The Nov. 4 mid-term elections—which may result in Republicans taking over the Senate—could energize Congress to roll back environmental regulations, seek approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and end the oil-export ban.  

As covered in an Oct. 20 Energy and Climate Report pre-election analysis, Senate Republicans are favored to take between five and eight additional seats, which would give the party control of the House and Senate for the first time since 2007.  

By far the biggest regulatory target for Republicans is the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon dioxide limits for power plants.  

As covered in an Oct. 8 special report, the top energy agenda for Republicans would be a vote on the $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline project and the lifting of the nearly 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports.  

However, without substantial support from Democrats and with the threat of presidential vetoes, many Hill watchers predict gridlock would continue under a Republican-controlled Congress.  

CEC to Meet on Sea-Level Rise  

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation will hold a joint public advisory committee session Nov. 6-7 in Arlington, Va., on "North America's Coasts in a Changing Climate."  

The CEC, a U.S., Canadian and Mexican commission, oversees the environmental side of decisions made under the North American Free Trade Agreement.  

European Carbon-Market Workshop  

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee is scheduled to hold a workshop Nov. 5 in Brussels on a mechanism to curb the oversupply of carbon dioxide emissions permits.  

As detailed in an Oct. 28 article, the draft measure would impose automatic supply controls in the EU emissions trading system, where a glut of permits swelled to a record, pushing prices down about 80 percent over the past six years.  

Solar Development Hearings  

A draft plan on how to streamline the development of renewable energy projects on 22.5 million acres of California desert will be the topic of public meetings in the state: Nov. 3 in Lancaster, Nov. 5 in Blythe, Nov. 6 in Ontario and Nov. 7 in Palm Desert.  

The meetings are being held by the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, California Energy Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  

As covered in an Oct. 7 article, the draft identifies the most appropriate areas for solar, wind and geothermal projects and specifies ecologically and culturally significant areas that should be protected.   

California Energy Commission Workshop  

On Nov. 3, the California Energy Commission will hold a staff workshop to discuss draft language for residential and nonresidential building energy efficiency standards.  

Other Energy, Climate Events  

The Department of Agriculture will hold a webinar Nov. 4 on "Do Extreme Events Cause a Shift in Climate Change Beliefs?

On Nov. 4, Resources for the Future and the Electric Power Research Institute will hold a webinar on "Energy Efficiency in EPA's Clean Power Plan: Using Building Block #4 [energy efficiency] to Set and Meet Emissions Goals."   

The U.S. Energy Association will hold a workshop Nov. 4 on "Removing Carbon from the Atmosphere—What the Emergence of ‘Carbon Negative’ Strategies Means for Industry & Government."  

The Center for Strategic & International Studies will host Yannis Maniatis, Greek minister of environment, energy and climate change, for a forum on "Evolving Energy Trends in the Eastern Mediterranean."  

On Nov. 6, the Wilson Center will host the screening of a documentary on "Extreme Realities: Severe Weather, Climate Change and Our National Security.”  

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Ghassem Asrar, director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute; Sherri Goodman, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for CNA Corp. and executive director of the CNA Military Advisory Board; and Paul O'Brien, vice president for policy and campaigns for Oxfam America.



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