Energy Hearings this Week

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Bruce Walker to be assistant Energy secretary for electricity delivery and energy reliability; and Steven Winberg to be an assistant Energy secretary for fossil energy.
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.
Place: 366 Dirksen Bldg.
Witnesses: The nominees testify

Energy Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Powering America: Technology’s in Empowering Consumers.”
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.
Place: 2123 Rayburn Bldg.
Karen Butterfield, chief commercial officer for Stem, Inc.
Arvin Ganesan, vice president for federal policy for Advanced Energy Economy
Bryan Hannegan, president and CEO of Holy Cross Energy
Val Jensen, senior vice president for customer operations at ComEd
Monica Lamb, director for regulated markets at LO3 Energy
Todd Sandford, senior vice president for North America distributed energy and power at Direct Energy

Interior, Energy and Environment Subcommittee of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on “Examining America’s Nuclear Waste Management and Storage.”
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2 p.m.
Place: 2154 Rayburn Bldg.
Witnesses :
Anthony O’Donnell, commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission and chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues, Waste Disposal in Baltimore, Maryland.
Chuck Smith, council member of Aiken County, South Carolina, on behalf of Energy Communities Alliance
David Victor, chairman of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s Community Engagement Panel and professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy in La Jolla, Calif.
Katie Tubb, policy analyst for the Institute for Economic Freedom of The Heritage Foundation

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on the nominations of Howard Elliott to be administrator of the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Ann Marie Buerkle to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; retired Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet to be assistant Commerce secretary for oceans and atmosphere;; and Walter Copan to be Commerce undersecretary for standards and technology.
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m.
Place: 253 Russell Bldg.
Witnesses:  The nominees testify

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on “Rural Development and Energy Programs: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill.”
Date: Thursday, Sept. 28, 9:30 a.m.
Place: 216 Hart Bldg.
Witnesses: TBA


Energy Hearings This Week

House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on “Resiliency: The Electric Grid’s Only Hope.”
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m.
Place: 2318 Rayburn Bldg.
Walt Baum, executive director of the Texas Public Power Association
Gavin Dillingham, program director for clean energy policy at the Houston Advanced Research Center
Carl Imhoff, manager for the Electricity Market Sector of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
William Sanders, head of the University of Illinois’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Energy Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Powering America: Defining Reliability in a Transforming Electricity Industry.”
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m.
Place: 2123 Rayburn Bldg.
Paul Bailey, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
Gerry Cauley, president and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation
Marty Durbin, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for the American Petroleum Institute
Patricia Hoffman, acting Energy undersecretary for science and acting assistant Energy secretary for the Office of Electricity
Tom Kiernanm, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association
Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute
Steve Wright, general manager of the Chelan Public Utility District, on behalf of National Hydropower Association

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy hearing on “Fostering Innovation: Contributions of the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories.”
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2:30 p.m.
Place: 366 Dirksen Bldg.
Brian Anderson, director of West Virginia University’s Energy Institute
Paul Kearns, interim laboratory director of the Argonne National Laboratory
Anuja Ratnayake, director of emerging technology strategy for Duke Energy
Bill Tumas, associate laboratory director for materials and chemical science and technology at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “Expanding and Accelerating the Deployment and Use of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration.”
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 10 a.m.
Place: 406 Dirksen Bldg.
Witnesses: TBA

Environment Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Big Relief for Small Business: Legislation Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Small Manufacturers and Other Job Creators,” including: H.R.1917, the “Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017”; H.R.1119, the “Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act”; H.R.453, the “Relief from New Source Performance Standards Act of 2017”; and H.R.350, the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017.”
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 10 a.m.
Place: 2123 Rayburn Bldg.
Agenda and Witnesses:
HR 453 — Relief from New Source Performance Standards Act
HR 350 — Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act
HR 1917 — A bill to allow for judicial review of any final rule addressing national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for brick and structural clay products or for clay ceramics manufacturing before requiring compliance with such rule.
HR 1119 — A bill to establish the bases by which the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall issue, implement, and enforce certain emission limitations and allocations for existing electric utility steam generating units that convert coal refuse into energy

House Natural Resources Committee markup of H.R.210, the “Native American Energy Act”; H.R.424, the “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017”; H.R.717, the “Listing Reform Act”; H.R.1274, the “State, Tribal and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act”; H.R.2603, the “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act”; H.R.3131, the “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act”; and H.R.3668, the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act.”
Note: Continued from September 12.
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 10 a.m.
Place: 1334 Longworth Bldg.
HR 3668 — A bill to provide for the preservation of sportsmen’s heritage and enhance recreation opportunities on Federal land, and for other purposes.
HR 717 — Listing Reform Act
HR 3131 — Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act
HR 210 — Native American Energy Act
HR 424 — Gray Wolf State Management Act
HR 1274 — State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act
HR 2603 — Saving America’s Endangered Species (SAVES) Act.

Hearings This Week

House Science, Space and Technology — Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Oversight joint hearing on “Examining the Scientific and Operational Integrity of EPA’s IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System) Program.”
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m.
Place: 2318 Rayburn Bldg.
James Bus, senior managing scientist at Exponent
Kenneth Mundt, principal at Ramboll Environ
Thomas Burke of Johns Hopkins University

House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy  hearing on “Powering America: Reevaluating PURPA’s (Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act) Objectives and its Effects on Today’s Consumers.”
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m.
Place: 2123 Rayburn Bldg.
Darwin Baas, director of the Department of Public Works for Kent County, Mich.
Todd Glass, counsel for the Solar Energy Industry Association
Terry Kouba, vice president for Iowa operations at Alliant Energy
Frank Prager, vice president for policy and federal affairs at Xcel Energy
Kristine Raper, commissioner of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Stephen Thomas, senior manager for energy contracts at the Domtar Paper Company

House Natural Resources — Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on H.R.2661, the “State Mineral Revenue Protection Act”; H.R.2907, the “Planning for American Energy Act”; and H.R.3565, the “Federal Land Freedom Act.”
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m.
Place: 1334 Longworth Bldg.
Agenda and Witnesses :
HR 2907 — A bill to amend the Mineral Leasing Act to require the Secretary of the Interior to develop and publish an all-of-the-above quadrennial Federal onshore energy production strategy to meet domestic energy needs, and for other purposes.
HR 2661 — State Mineral Revenue Protection Act
HR 3565 — A bill to achieve domestic energy independence by empowering States to control the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas on all available Federal land, and for other purposes.
Witnesses :
A.J. Ferate, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Mike Smith, executive director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Paul Ulrich, vice chairman of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Casper, Wyo.
John Ruple, associate professor of law for research and Wallace Stegner Center fellow in the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Salt Lake City, Uta

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nominations of Joseph Balash to be assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals management; Richard Glick to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Kevin McIntyre to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Date: Thursday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m.
Place: 366 Dirksen Bldg.
Witnesses: The nominees testify


U.S. Targets Chinese and Russians for North Korea Dealings

This post was written by Robert Slack and originally posted on Kelley Drye’s Trade and Manufacturing Monitor Blog.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 16 parties as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) today, effectively seizing their assets in the United States, blocking them from doing business with U.S. parties, and denying them access to the U.S. financial system.  The designations mark the latest escalation of sanctions on North Korea and an increasing willingness to target Chinese and Russian parties for violating UN and U.S. sanctions on the country.

The firms and individuals involved were targeted because they were involved in the development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, the North Korean energy sector, the export of North Korean laborers, and enabling North Korean entities to access the global financial system.

Russia Under Scrutiny

This post was written by Brooke Ringel and originally posted on Kelley Drye’s Trade and Manufacturing Monitor Blog.

Earlier this month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) published a notice seeking public comment and participation in a hearing on Russia’s implementation of its obligations under the World Trade Organization (“WTO”). Public comments, summaries of hearing testimony, and requests to appear at the hearing are due on September 22, 2017.  The hearing will be held at USTR on September 28, 2017.

Written comments and testimony at the hearing will assist USTR in preparing its annual report to Congress on how Russia has done in meetings its WTO commitments. This will be USTR’s fifth such report to Congress pursuant to the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, known as the Magnitsky Act.  The Magnitsky Act marked the extension of permanent normal trade relations to goods and services from Russia and allowed the United States to recognize Russia as a new member of the WTO, which it had joined several months prior to the law’s enactment.

The Magnitsky Act has long been a controversial topic in U.S.-Russian relations. The law was named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison after becoming involved in a massive tax fraud allegation against Russian officials.  Congress responded with a provision in the Magnitsky Act barring high-level Russian bureaucrats and others tied to human rights abuses from entering the United States.  In response to the Act, the Government of Russia banned U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children.  At the time of its passage, President Putin called the law, “a purely political, unfriendly move.”  The Magnitsky Act has recently garnered public attention again with the disclosure of a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who has been closely connected to lobbying for repeal of the Act.

Putting all this palace intrigue aside, USTR’s annual report to Congress – and the public comments that feed into the report – is an opportunity to provide an assessment of Russia’s performance on a number of key trade issues, including, for example, import and export regulation and taxation, subsidies, trade-related investment measures, intellectual property rights, government procurement, information technology, and other policies affecting trade. If USTR concludes that Russia has not met its WTO obligations in these areas, the agency must outline steps to improve Russia’s compliance.  U.S. companies or industries with business ties to Russia should consider whether they can benefit from elevating those issues with USTR and Congress for action.

EIA: Wyoming, Texas, and Pennsylvania Rank as The Top Net Energy Suppliers Among States

“EIA recently released State Energy Data System estimates for net energy supply, which provide data on each state’s total primary energy production and consumption. Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Dakota ranked as the top five net suppliers of energy in 2015. Overall, 12 states produced more primary energy than they consumed, while 38 states and the District of Columbia were net recipients of energy.”—EIA


California Counties and City Sue Energy Companies over Climate Change, Sea Level Rise

Using a legal strategy resembling the one that won multi-billion dollar awards from tobacco companies, two California counties and one California municipality filed coordinated environmental lawsuits in California state court, blaming 37 oil, gas and coal companies for causing climate change and rising sea levels that threaten communities on the California coastline.

In separate lawsuits filed in different superior courts on July 17, 2017, San Mateo and Marin counties and the city of Imperial Beach allege a host of state common law claims, including public nuisance, failure to warn, and trespass. The companies accuse the energy companies of hiding for nearly 50 years that fossil fuel production was raising global temperatures and causing sea level rise.  The plaintiffs claim that companies knowingly carried out a “coordinated, multi-front effort to conceal and deny … those threats” by allegedly discrediting scientific evidence about climate change and sowing doubt among regulators and the general public.

The defendants “promoted and profited from a massive increase” in the use of fossil fuels, which “caused an enormous, foreseeable, and avoidable increase in global greenhouse gas pollution” that has led to a “a wide range of dire climate-related effects, including global warming, rising atmospheric and ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, melting polar ice caps and glaciers, more extreme and volatile weather, and sea level rise,” the plaintiffs say.

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EIA: U.S. Crude Oil Production Forecast Expected to Reach Record High in 2018

“In EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), total U.S. crude oil production is forecast to average 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2017, up 0.5 million b/d from 2016. In 2018, EIA expects crude oil production to reach an average of 9.9 million b/d, which would surpass the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970. EIA forecasts that most of the growth in U.S. crude oil production through the end of 2018 will come from tight rock formations within the Permian region in Texas and from the Federal Gulf of Mexico. In the July STEO, the Permian region is expected to produce 2.9 million b/d of crude oil by the end of 2018, about 0.5 million b/d more than the estimated June 2017 production level, representing nearly 30% of total U.S. crude oil production in 2018. The Permian region covers 53 million acres in the Permian Basin of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico.”—EIA




House Approves 8-Year Delay of Obama-era Ozone Standards

On July 18th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill updating the Clean Air Act and delaying implementing Obama-era ozone reduction regulations until 2024. The “Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017” H.R. 806 passed the House 229 to 199 with bipartisan support.

The bill delays ozone standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008. States were given until 2015 to comply with the new pollution regulations. The Obama administration’s EPA, however, reconsidered the standards in 2010-2011 and delayed issuing guidance states and businesses needed to adhere to the limit on ozone output, according to an American Petroleum Institute (API) letter written in support of the legislation.

Obama’s EPA then set new ozone standards in October 2015, only months after states received final guidance from EPA on how to implement the 2008 ozone standards. Many states had fallen behind in implementing the 2008 standards, however, because of the reconsideration period.

“The EPA did not account for this self-imposed delay when issuing the 2015 ozone standards, thereby imposing duplicative costs and burdens of implementing multiple standards simultaneously,” the API letter said. “This is particularly wasteful as the EPA itself projects that nearly the entire country would attain the 2015 ozone standards simply by being provided an opportunity to fully implement already-planned measures like their state implementation plans for the 2008 ozone standards.”

The bill’s sponsor, Texas Rep. Pete Olson, said in a press release that the act “provides needed flexibility so that states and localities can adequately achieve new, lower standards with time for compliance. Health remains the first priority in setting standards and giving our local officials the tools they need make the Clean Air Act work. I’m proud that this common sense bill received bipartisan support in the House and I urge the Senate to act quickly as well.”

But opponents of the legislation harshly criticized the bill’s passage, dubbing it the “Smoggy Skies Act.” President and CEO of the American Lung Association Harold P. Wimmer claimed it placed millions of American lives at risk.  “The bill would delay lifesaving protections against ozone pollution, exposing Americans to unnecessary pollution levels that will lead to asthma attacks and premature deaths that could have been prevented,” Wimmer said in a statement. “The bill also permanently weakens Clean Air Act authority to reduce ozone and other harmful air pollutants like carbon monoxide, lead and particle pollution in the future.”

Hearings This Week

Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing on “Developing and Deploying Advanced Clean Energy Technologies.”
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 10 a.m.
Place: 406 Dirksen Bldg.
Witnesses: TBA

House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Energy joint hearing on “Examining Advancements in Biofuels: Balancing Federal Research and Market Innovation.”
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 10 a.m.
Place: 2318 Rayburn Bldg.
John DeCicco, research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute and director of the University of Michigan Energy Survey
Paul Gilna, director of the BioEnergy Science Center and deputy-division director of biosciences at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Nick Loris, research fellow in energy and environmental policy in the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy

House Oversight and Government Reform Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee and Interior, Energy and Environment Subcommittee joint hearing on “Examining ‘Sue and Settle’ Agreements: Part II.”
Note: Part one of the hearing occurred on May 24.
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 10 a.m.
Place: 2154 Rayburn Bldg.
Witnesses: TBA Continue Reading