Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

December 19, 2014

ICYMI Spending Bill, Yucca & Fast Reactors

Congress adjourned this week after some last-minute spending drama and dozens of confirmations, and there were other developments on the energy and environmental front.

The omnibus spending measure, for instance, provided money for recovery at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico after several mishaps that included radiation leaks, and money for the controversial  International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, or ITER.

Full story

December 18, 2014

Tracking the Oil Slowdown

177984139 445x334 Tracking the Oil Slowdown


More oil projects are getting scrapped as companies pare off more expensive endeavors in the face of a close to 50 percent drop in prices. Full story

Oil Plunge Breaks Asia LNG Breakeven

85815450 445x295 Oil Plunge Breaks Asia LNG Breakeven

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Spot prices for January delivery of liquefied natural gas to Asia dropped by 47 percent from a year ago, down to $10.062 per million British thermal units, the largest one year drop and the lowest level since 2011, according to data from Platts. That is about a cent below the cost to liquefy and ship gas from Louisiana at January prices. Full story

December 17, 2014

Wyden Votes Against 1-Year Tax Extenders

wyden021 010714 445x296 Wyden Votes Against 1 Year Tax Extenders

File photo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden — long an advocate for tax reform to make dozens of short-term tax credits permanent or longer lasting — was one of the 16 losing votes against a one year extension of most of the credits that will apply to 2014. Full story

But Wait, Advanced Fast Reactors Are Already Here

reactor 445x333 But Wait, Advanced Fast Reactors Are Already Here

Construction of the Kalpakkam fast reactor in India.  (International Atomic Energy Agency)

The New York Times had a forward-looking piece on the development of advanced nuclear reactors that gives an interesting overview of the status of technology in the United States, citing ongoing research at places like Argonne National Laboratory as the groundwork for eventual development of advanced reactors:

… if the world decides in the 2030s and 2040s that it is time to deploy a new fleet of reactors, those will be based on work done in the few labs like this over the next decade, experts predict.

That leaves out one salient point: Russia and India have built large advanced fast reactors. Full story

December 16, 2014

Omnibus Funds WIPP Recovery

WippSun 445x250 Omnibus Funds WIPP Recovery

(Energy Department)

The spending bill Congress passed last week includes $320 million for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. The funds are intended to support cleanup and recovery efforts following a fire and radiation release at the underground facility in February. Full story

Chambers Compromised to Fund ITER

459371652 445x295 Chambers Compromised to Fund ITER

Technicians work last month at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance,  France.

The House and Senate appropriators met in the middle to continue funding the troubled International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor or ITER. Full story

December 15, 2014

New GOP Senators Claim Energy Seats

cassidy 185 113011 445x301 New GOP Senators Claim Energy Seats

Rep. Bill Cassidy (File photo, Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two Republican lawmakers who emphasized energy issues in their successful bid to unseat Democratic senators will now take slots on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Full story

Capturing CO2 with Fuel Cells

Using the gas separating properties of fuel cells, a Connecticut company is developing technology to add carbon dioxide capturing capabilities to power plants, which it says could provide an economic way to meet EPA’s proposed power plant regulations. The process, developed by FuelCell Energy using a $2.5 million grant from the Energy Department, would also provide additional power generation to reduce the ratio of a coal plant’s carbon dioxide to kilowatts, the New York Times reported:

In FuelCell’s design, a coal plant adds a fuel cell unit next to its smokestack, and the fuel cell soaks up the carbon dioxide and adds power to overall output. Some energy is used — the demonstration unit here would produce eight kilowatts, enough for a midsize commercial air-conditioner, but in carbon capture mode makes only about six kilowatts — but the loss is more manageable than drawing energy from the coal plant for conventional carbon capture.

The process also unexpectedly breaks down nitrogen oxide emissions, a pollutant that is regulated directly and contributes to ozone pollution. The company’s next step is to build a full-sized demonstration facility at an operating coal power plant.

Moniz, van der Hoeven & Moniz

Following Thursday’s nail-bitter as the omnibus bill squeaked through the House, the Senate cleared the bill late Saturday over the objections of more than 20 Democrats. The Senate is around this week to wrap up nominations and potentially clear a package of tax extensions including a break for wind energy. Here’s what else is going on as the holidays approach: Full story

December 12, 2014

ICYMI: Omnibus, Ozone and Mexico

The Senate will consider the House-passed omnibus spending package as soon as today, but lawmakers would need procedural agreements to expedite the process before Monday. The measure includes $34.2 billion for energy and water programs but it would dole out no additional funds for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The bill would include $345 million and a requirement to continue construction on the mixed oxide plutonium facility. Appropriators also tucked in a provision to throw a $97 million lifeline to the troubled American Centrifuge Project. Full story

Mexico Opens Offshore Oil Bidding

455091675 445x297 Mexico Opens Offshore Oil Bidding

Centenario exploration oil rig, operated for PEMEX.
(OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

In the next step to privatizing its oil and gas production, Mexico offered areas for offshore drilling Thursday. Full story

CBO: Shale Production to Up GDP by 1%

480270745 445x296 CBO: Shale Production to Up GDP by 1%

Shale oil and gas will increase the U.S. gross domestic product by 0.7 percent in 2020 and 0.9 percent in 2040, the Congressional Budget Office estimated. Full story

December 11, 2014

American Centrifuge to Get Funding Lifeline

ACP 445x316 American Centrifuge to Get Funding Lifeline

(Centrus Energy)

The omnibus spending bill moving through Congress would provide $97 million for domestic uranium enrichment to maintain the American Centrifuge Project though September. Full story

Spending Bill Covers MOX Construction

January 2012 construction aerial 445x297 Spending Bill Covers MOX Construction

A 2012 view of construction of the mixed oxide facility (Energy Department)

The massive spending package Congress is working to move this week includes a provision for $345 million to fund the contentious mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility in South Carolina. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...