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January 27, 2015

Posts in "Congressional Affairs"

January 26, 2015

This Week: Keystone Vote, Oil Prices and EPA Regs

There’s no shortage of energy events this week. The Senate is scheduled to continue Keystone XL pipeline votes Monday and the House is expected to consider legislation to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas.  Full story

January 21, 2015

The Deal With Moniz’ Hair

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Those who have been familiar with him for years, even those who have just heard him address a congressional panel or an audience of scientists, know that there is far more to Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz than his hair. He’s an MIT physicist and is known for charming Republicans and Democrats alike. Full story

January 20, 2015

This Week: Keystone, SOTU & Outlooks

Here are the week’s energy events. Full story

January 16, 2015

ICYMI: Oil Drop, EPA Regs & Mexico Swap

Here is what has been happening in energy this week.

The spread between U.S. crude prices and the global benchmark has narrowed as prices have plummeted since June. Russia is feeling the effects of lower oil prices, and to a lesser degree, sanctions. The resulting cascade in U.S. gasoline prices may have tempered a much-anticipated bump at the pump from a California cap-and-trade rule that requires oil companies to buy carbon allowances if greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks exceed a limit set by the state. Full story

January 14, 2015

Oil Slide and California’s Hidden Gas Tax

CaGasoline

Did the oil price plunge obscure the effects of California’s cap and trade regulations for gasoline? Full story

January 12, 2015

Mexico Wants Crude Swap

(OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

(OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexico is pushing to exchange heavy crude oil for U.S. light crude and condensate – a move that lawmakers have pushed as a way to get oil exports around restrictions. Full story

This Week: Keystone, ConocoPhillips & Climate

Here’s what’s on tap in energy this week: Full story

January 9, 2015

ICYMI: Keystone, Oil & Demand Response

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a state law that was the basis for the Keystone Pipeline XL route through that state. The case was the main factor the State Department had identified in delaying a decision on the pipeline. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13-9 Thursday to recommend legislation approving the pipeline (subscription). Full story

January 5, 2015

Committee to Vote on Landrieu’s Keystone Text

File photo (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

File photo (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The text of the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to vote on this week mirrors a version introduced by former Chairwoman Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., who lost her seat despite a last ditch effort to push the pipeline. Full story

This Week: Keystone Vote, 2015 Outlooks

Happy New Year. The GOP-controlled 114th Congress will be seated this week and Republicans wasted no time in making good on a promise to push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, scheduling both a Senate committee hearing and vote. Full story

December 30, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2015

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!

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 17, 2014

Wyden Votes Against 1-Year Tax Extenders

File photo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

December 16, 2014

Omnibus Funds WIPP Recovery

(Energy Department)

(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

Technicians work at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in November in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, southern France. (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Technicians work last month at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance,  France.
(ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

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

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