- Trump Says He’ll Get Rid of Gangs
- Clinton Gets Key Endorsement in New Hampshire
- Scott Walker Supporters Want a Campaign Reboot
- Kudlow Says He Might Run for Senate
- Walker Would Consider Building Wall on Canadian Border
The Energy Department unveiled a $29.9 billion budget for fiscal 2016 that includes big increases for renewable energy programs and natural gas emissions control. We took a look at how the funding breaks down by state. Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz said the department would do what it could to move beyond the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste impasse. Moniz will head to Capitol Hill to defend the budget before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next week. Full story
• A 41 percent jump the energy efficiency and renewable energy program including big additions for vehicle technologies and geothermal programs.
• Natural gas technologies would see a 76 percent boost to $44 million while the department is looking to pare down overall fossil energy research by 2 percent.
• The department is requesting an 84 percent increase in spending for electricity delivery and energy reliability, doubling smart grid research increasing energy storage technology by 75 percent.
• Funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy would jump 16 percent.
• Nuclear reactor concepts would decrease 19 percent while fuel cycle research would increase 11 percent and fusion research would be down 10 percent.
CQ subscribers can view our full budget coverage here.
The State Department set Monday as the deadline for department feedback on the Keystone XL presidential permit, though don’t expect to hear anything. “The Department of State is treating the agencies’ replies as part of an internal inter-agency process,” a State official told Geof Koss Friday. Full story
The 114th Congress will convene next week with Republican majorities controlling both chambers. Here is a look at energy issues on the horizon.
Keystone XL Pipeline – A still-pending Nebraska court decision means the Barack Obama administration won’t likely act on the pipeline before the new Congress is seated, leaving some time for Republicans to force an approval or for the White House to use the pipeline as a bargaining chip to advance other priorities.
Cross-border Infrastructure – And what about the next Keystone? A push to give Congress and agencies control of the permitting process that has stymied the Keystone project resulted in a measure that was passed in the House and got as far as the Senate calendar last month. Under GOP control, similar legislation could possibly land on the president’s desk, though the White House has threatened a veto.
Oil Prices – The more than 40-percent tumble in global oil prices will have wide-ranging effects that will be seen throughout 2015. Shale producers in the United States have already announced plans to scale back new investment by as much as 75 percent. Lower prices have ramifications for Russia, which is already dealing with the effects of sanctions. Though speculators expect an eventual rebound in prices, sustained long-term cheaper oil could erode the incentives for U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.
Tax Overhaul – House and Senate finance leaders on both side of the aisle have promised renewed efforts to make permanent changes to the tax code that could end up providing more clarity for renewable energy credits or revisions to breaks for fossil fuels.
Energy Efficiency – After falling just short of a procedural hurdle Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., will likely try to rekindle bipartisan support for their energy efficiency legislation.
EPA Regulations – Proposed restrictions on carbon dioxide, ozone levels and other EPA regulations were a lightning rod for Republican criticism this year, with energy funding hitting a roadblock blamed in part on an amendment from then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The intensity of GOP objections is likely to increase as McConnell takes leadership of the Senate and the agency moves forward with its proposals.
Energy Xtra will resume regular publication on Jan. 5 — Have a safe and happy New Year’s!
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.
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
We kicked off the week with two pieces from CQ Roll Call’s Geof Koss who provided a look into the principles likely to guide the Republican energy agenda in the next Congress – focusing first on incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who has made no secret of her plans for the committee, and then on the framework from House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. Full story