Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

July 31, 2014

Hydropower Getting Surpassed by Wind, Solar and Other Renewables

hydroGen 445x226 Hydropower Getting Surpassed by Wind, Solar and Other Renewables

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

This year will be the first in which other renewable forms of generation produce more electricity than hydropower, the Energy Information Administration reports. Hydropower has provided a steady 20 to 30 billion kilowatt hours per month over the past decade, while the contribution from wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables has climbed from less than a third of that. Full story

The Federal Government’s ‘Shark Tank’ for Small Businesses

159256774 445x308 The Federal Government’s Shark Tank for Small Businesses

Hosts Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner and Daymond John of “Shark Tank” speak onstage during the ABC portion of the 2013 Winter TCA Tour Jan. 10 in Pasadena, Calif. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Companies that have energy innovations to peddle can benefit from groups with know-how that the Small Business Administration has organized and calls clusters, according to retired Rear Adm. Steven Smith, now director of the SBA’s Office of Disaster Planning and Risk Management. The process has similarities to the ABC TV show “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to deep-pocketed moguls. Full story

Running Cars on Human Waste

Eliminating sewage is an energy-intensive process that is a key component of our modern lifestyle — but rather than just processing it, groups and utilities are looking to make energy from what we flush down the toilet.

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July 30, 2014

Payday for Hydropower, If Senate Can Pass Energy-Water Bill

Senate appropriators are looking to bolster water power research, recommending $69 million for such projects in the Energy-Water bill that stalled last month, an increase of 18 percent.

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Reductions in Methane Emissions Sought by Obama Administration

The White House and the Energy Department have announced a number of actions to reduce methane emissions from natural gas systems, as the administration capped off a series of meetings with states, industry and environmental groups as part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

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July 29, 2014

Former USEC Uranium Enrichment Project Marked for $110 Million Under Senate Bill

DSC 0261 hi 240x160 Former USEC Uranium Enrichment Project Marked for $110 Million Under Senate Bill

Source: USEC, Inc., American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, Ohio.

Senate appropriators want to allocate $110 million for the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, Ohio, formerly headed by USEC, Inc.

“The committee directs that the Department of Energy shall use these funds only to maintain existing centrifuges and facilities associated with domestic enrichment capabilities and safeguard intellectual property rights,” the Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee wrote in the report accompanying its fiscal 2015 bill.

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A Fix for the Next BP Deepwater Horizon?

The world watched in 2010 while engineers fumbled with a ruptured well, wondering why there was not any technology to stem the millions of barrels of oil spewing from at the Gulf of Mexico seafloor. The American Petroleum Institute has published new guidelines for capping stacks to be used in event of another such disaster.

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Marshals to Seize Kurdish Oil, Leaving Questions on U.S. Policy

452148404 445x296 Marshals to Seize Kurdish Oil, Leaving Questions on U.S. Policy

A section of an oil refinery is brought by truck to the Kawergosk Refinery east of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on July 14. (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Marshals Service was ordered Monday to seize a shipment of Kurdish oil offshore of Texas, but a former presidential adviser from the George W. Bush era has said the government ought to reconsider its stance on Kurdish oil, given the recent violence in Iraq.

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By Randy Leonard Posted at 10:35 a.m.
Natural Gas, Oil

July 28, 2014

FERC Pulled Into House GOP’s Questions About EPA Carbon Rule

Republican concerns about the potential closure of coal power plants — and questions about the nation’s electricity infrastructure — will be on display Tuesday as a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hears from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the EPA’s proposal to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants.

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DOE Cybersecurity Is a Mess, According to Senate Panel

There are 11 different places in the Energy Department budget that contain cybersecurity funding for energy, science and environmental missions. That’s too messy for the Senate Appropriations Committee, which wants to see all of that nearly $150 million consolidated into one place. Full story

‘Good Ideas’ Are Point of EPA Carbon Emissions Hearings, McCarthy Says

452560596 445x304 Good Ideas Are Point of EPA Carbon Emissions Hearings, McCarthy Says

McCarthy. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“We expect good feedback from these sessions,” EPA administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters Monday about this week’s listening sessions on the agency’s proposal to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. “No good ideas should be off the table.”

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Keystone XL Lobbying: Timing of Donations to Senators Disclosed

Five U.S. senators received donations from a firm that was hired to promote the Keystone XL pipeline within a month of their aides’ having met with a representative of that firm, the Toronto Star reports:

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July 25, 2014

Landrieu Expects Vote on Energy Department Nomination Soon After Recess

468846663 445x296 Landrieu Expects Vote on Energy Department Nomination Soon After Recess

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the nominee to be deputy Energy secretary, arrives with husband Jeffrey Randall for a White House state dinner in February honoring French President Francois Hollande. (Andrew Harrer/Getty Images, pool photo)

Senate Energy Chairwoman Mary L. Landrieu is signaling that her committee could vote after the August break on the nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Energy Department, reports CQ Roll Call’s Geof Koss.

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The Decrepit and Unused Buildings of the NNSA

The National Nuclear Security Administration “is now spending significant amounts of money to maintain about 450 facilities no longer needed for program use and that now sit empty,” according to a newly-released Senate Appropriations Committee report.

Nuclear Waste Bill Not Dead, Just Sleeping

feinstein004 031114 445x298 Nuclear Waste Bill Not Dead, Just Sleeping

Feinstein. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Senate measure to set up a new agency to oversee nuclear waste is lying dormant while election year priorities take the spotlight.

Despite prodding from the bill’s supporters, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., has yet to move the bill.

As CQ’s Geof Koss reports, for at least the third time this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Thursday publicly urged Landrieu to take up the bill, which Feinstein cosponsored and which the committee seemed about to move forward when Landrieu took the gavel in February.

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