Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 28, 2015

Posts in "Uncategorized"

February 19, 2015

Draft Report: DOE Lab Issues Linger

A special commission has skewered the Energy Department’s national laboratories for ongoing and uncorrected issues outlined in draft interim report last week that cited lack of trust, micromanagement and an emphasis on compliance rather than production: Full story

By Randy Leonard Posted at 12:11 p.m.

February 12, 2015

Regulators Add Nod to Utility Merger

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Another regulatory board signed off on the planned merger between power giant Excelon and energy distributor Pepco Holdings. Wednesday’s vote by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Commissioners follows approvals in the fall by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Full story

February 4, 2015

States’ Share of DOE Budget

Here is how the Energy Department 2016 Budget breaks down by state. The map shows the percent change from last year. Mouse over the map to see how this year’s spending measures up.

Correction: A previous version of this post included reliability grant funding for Alabama that the Energy Department reported in its preliminary budget tables. A department spokeswoman confirmed that funding will be spread among a number of states.

January 30, 2015

The Reality of Three Ozone Maps


Maps lie.

At least that’s what cartographers say. Maps can also provide compelling insight and as such are key messaging tools in political discourse, as demonstrated in the debate around Thursday’s Senate ozone hearing. Here we look at several maps, all of which are accurate but can be misleading without context.

Full story

January 23, 2015

ICYMI: Keystone, SOTU & Oil

The Senate plowed through a laundry list of amendments this week and is set to vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline Monday. CQ subscribers can read more about how the process devolved Thursday and about pending amendments.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama gave a nod to – or threw shade on – the pipeline, but folks seemed more interested in Ernest J. Moniz’ hair, which as the energy secretary has explained is more related to groovy fashion than founding fathers. Obama’s push for more trade authority got a reaction from environmental groups that want to put the brakes on fast-tracking deals. Groups are also pushing the EPA to move faster on carbon dioxide regulations for aircraft.

The oil price plunge may dampen the drive toward increased exports.

Researchers detailed the issues arising from increased dependence on natural gas to generate electricity.

Oil spilled in Montana and millions of gallons of fracking water poured into a creek that feeds the Missouri River in North Dakota.

By Randy Leonard Posted at 12:01 p.m.

January 22, 2015

Report: Gas/Electricity Relationship Needs Work

A natural gas-fueled power plant in June 2013 in Burbank, Calif.  (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A natural gas-fueled power plant in June 2013 in Burbank, Calif.
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Regulatory and market changes are needed to support the growing use of natural gas to generate electricity, according to a review from the Illinois Institute of Technology, which cited concerns about reliability as increased capacity and regulatory pressure reduce dependence on coal-fired plants. Full story

December 22, 2014

A Look Back

Here are some of the highlights of our coverage since Energy Xtra rolled out in July.

  • This summer Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan laid out his agenda for a potential GOP controlled-Congress.
  • Just as the oil market began a plummet that has halved prices, we looked at how OPEC would respond to the added supply from the U.S. shale boom and actions leading to a global oil showdown.
  • The Energy Department is continuing to develop geothermal energy using hydrofracturing techniques that led to the oil and gas boom.
  • Industry struggled to make sense of changes in Commerce Department crude oil export policy, which raised questions of where condensate exports would go and the possible effects on consumers.
  • Advancements in LED technology led a Philips Lighting executive to predict the end of light bulbs as we know them.
  • We dug into the details of Enbridge’s work around to bring increased amounts of oil from Canada’s bituminous sands without the type of permit that has hampered the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Lockheed-Martin is part of an effort to generate electricity from the temperature difference in ocean water.
  • Grid modernization efforts could lead to changing system demand by giving utilities access to controls inside consumer’s homes.
  • There is wide disparity in how the EPA’s proposed tightening of ozone restrictions by geography and industry, depending on the limit set.

Energy Xtra will resume regular publication on Jan. 5 — Enjoy the holidays!

December 9, 2014

Week Ahead: Hearings on Nuclear, RFS and Arctic

Congress is under pressure to pull together a deal for a spending package and groups have piled lots of activities into the rest of the week ahead of the holidays. Here’s what is on tap: Full story

October 31, 2014

ICYMI: Diesel Demand, Pipeline Opposition & Nuclear Licensing

Heavy-duty truck fueling up on diesel. Photo courtesy of New Haven Clean Cities Coalition. (

Heavy-duty truck fueling up on diesel. Photo courtesy of New Haven Clean Cities Coalition. (

  •  According to a new report released by the Fuel Institute, demand for diesel fuel is expected to drop after 2015 due to greater vehicle efficiencies, combined with growing use of natural gas. Full story
By Clyde McGrady Posted at 3:41 p.m.

Mark Your Calendars: CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference Next Week

Want to know the impact of the elections on the 114th Congress? Check out CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference on Nov. 6. It will be held at the Liason Capitol Hill. See below for more info and a code for 20 percent off your registration fee.


CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference is next week!  Here are 3 reasons you shouldn’t miss it:

  • Frontline perspective from our keynotes and sessions, including our newest keynote panel with Rob Collins, Executive Director, NRSC and Guy Cecil, Executive Director DSCC
  • Behind-the-scenes revelations into what happened, what’s next and what’s on the horizon for the 114th Congress
  • “You-won’t-hear-it-anywhere-else” insight from our panelists and speakers.  View our newest speakers – including Gov. John Engler, President of the Business Roundtable.

Don’t miss all the insight, perspective and networking next week at CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference!


Register today to secure your spot! Use code SUB2014 to receive 20 percent off!

Register now!

October 30, 2014

U.S. Demand For Diesel Fuel Expected to Drop After 2015

Truckers line up in front of the  U.S. Capitol to protest high diesel fuel prices.CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PHOTO BY DOUGLAS GRAHAM

Truckers line up in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest high diesel fuel prices. CQ photo by Douglas Graham

It looks as if T. Boone Pickens dreams of kicking diesel to the curb may be coming true. According to a new report developed by the PIRA Energy Group and commissioned by the Fuels Institute, demand for diesel fuels will begin declining in 2016. The United States is expected to go from using a near term peak of 4 million barrels per day to 3.5 million by 2030 (a 12.5 percent drop). Full story

By Clyde McGrady Posted at 3:32 p.m.

October 29, 2014

NRC Reinstates Nuclear Licensing Program

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has resumed issuing license renewals for nuclear power plants, ending its two-year hiatus. Full story

October 28, 2014

New Regs Unpopular With Likely Voters

Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/CQ)

A new survey out by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future highlights the potential political fallout from the administration of EPA’s new greenhouse gas regulations. According to the group, which is a coalition of trade associations, a plurality of voters (47 percent) oppose the new regulations. Almost half of respondents said “they are not willing to pay a single dollar more in their energy bill to accommodate the new EPA regulations.” Additionally (and of great interest to politicians), 40 percent of respondents said that they were “less likely to cast their vote for a candidate that supports EPA’s Clean Power Plan.”

The poll was conducted by Paragon Insights and surveyed 1,340 likely voters nationwide. However, it oversampled in what it deems key states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

The poll comes on the heels of continued congressional pushback on EPAs proposed electricity regulations and the skepticism of the agency’s Regulatory Impact Assessment. And as energy policy plays an increasingly large role in campaign politics it will be interesting to see how much credence lawmakers give to the findings in this survey.

By Clyde McGrady Posted at 1:02 p.m.

October 27, 2014

Union Leader Outraged Over Pipeline Opposition

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass

Houston-based energy company, Kinder Morgan is looking to build a natural gas pipeline that will run through northern Massachusetts but first it needs federal approval. The company, through its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Co., has already filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The company hopes that by filing they can identify any potential environmental problems associated with construction of the pipeline.

However, Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren recently announced their plans to potentially block the pipeline by pressuring federal energy regulators.

Today, Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), shot back, issuing a statement. O’Sullivan, to put it mildly, was not very happy with the Massachusetts Democrats:

The Senators’ comments are a vulgar attempt to politicize our nation’s energy regulatory agencies. These agencies should be left alone to do their work based on facts and analysis, not pressure politics.  Their comments are especially disconcerting when too many working people lack affordable fuels, our armed services are in harms-way due in part to our historical lack of energy independence, and at a time of growing concern over climate change – all of which the Tennessee Gas Co. line will do its part to help address.

The pipeline has faced intense opposition from citizens in Massachusetts. Environmental activists are lining up legal experts to challenge the proposal. O’Sullivan later added that those opposing are “environmental extremists” and that the pipeline is a “lifeline to good family-supporting careers.”

The Week Ahead: Natural Gas & Clean Coal in China

Here’s what’s on tap for the week. Full story

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