Jeremy Dillon

Grid Cybersecurity Bills Advanced by House Energy Subcommittee
Bipartisanship crumbles for export bill

Bipartisan bills that aim to improve the government’s response to cybersecurity attacks on the electric grid advanced out of a House Energy and Commerce panel Wednesday. The action was the latest sign of heightened awareness on Capitol Hill that malicious hackers might be able to turn out the lights.

Four pieces of legislation — all focused on putting into statute coordination within the Department of Energy to prevent cyber attacks on the grid and other energy infrastructure — were advanced by the Energy Subcommittee by voice votes. The votes showed unusual unity on the often-partisan panel.

Dragging an Energy Bill From the Ashes
For their bipartisan bill, Murkowski and Cantwell are willing to try, try again

Amid a forest of judicial appointments and other Trump administration confirmation votes, lawmakers pushing a bipartisan energy and natural resources bill in the Senate are still taking whacks in hope of moving legislation — or parts of it — before the end of this Congress.

The bill would represent the first major energy policy update in a decade, with provisions to bolster cybersecurity, speed up permits for energy infrastructure and promote energy efficiency. It could represent a rare opportunity for energy-state lawmakers to bring home some policy victories ahead of the midterm election.

Gowdy’s Oversight Panel Knocking On Interior’s Pricey Doors
Committee wants answers about $139,000 doors, in latest showdown over spending by Trump’s Cabinet officials

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s $139,000 replacement doors have earned him a trip to the principal’s office.

In a letter dated March 22, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy requested a briefing from Zinke following news reports surrounding the procurement of replacement doors for his office at the Interior Department.

Perry Told to Do More on Grid Cybersecurity After Russian Hacks
‘We don’t need rhetoric at this point, we need action’

Energy Secretary Rick Perry got an earful from senators on both sides of the aisle Tuesday about the importance of a robust cybersecurity policy at the Energy Department in the aftermath of last week’s report of Russian intrusion into key energy infrastructure last year.

The response, Perry told the Energy and Natural Resources Committee at a fiscal 2019 budget hearing Tuesday, will lie in a new breakout office dedicated to cybersecurity with a direct communication pathway to his office.

‘I’m Serious, I’m Persistent, I’m Determined’: Whitehouse Talks Climate Change Ahead of 200th Floor Speech
 

Every week the Senate has been in session since his first floor speech on climate change on April 18, 2012, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has urged his colleagues to take action to curb carbon emissions. Tuesday’s planned speech marks a milestone 200th appearance on the topic that he says isn’t going away anytime soon....
Whitehouse Preps 200th Climate Speech, Hoping Senate Will Stir
“It is an indicator of the extent [to] which the fossil fuel industry owns the joint”

Every week of every Senate session for the last six years, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has taken to the floor to urge his colleagues to “wake up” to the dire consequences of their inaction on climate change.

But the slumbering chamber keeps hitting the snooze button.

Russians Meddled in Energy Policy, Science Committee GOP Says
Report reveals Russian agents used social media in attempt to influence the U.S. energy market

Russian social media meddlers tried to influence U.S. energy markets and undercut the country’s emerging domestic natural gas production capabilities, according to a report released Thursday by the Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

The report written by GOP committee staff cited data provided by major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for activity that occurred from 2015 through 2017.

Cold Snap Showed Grid Resilience, Lawmakers are Told

The recent cold snap and “bomb cyclone” weather event that chilled much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this month appears to have showed the reliability and resilience of the electric grid as currently operated, energy officials said Tuesday at congressional oversight hearing.

But it also showed some of the vulnerabilities to the grid, especially as they relate to energy infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines, as wholesale market consumers saw high prices in response to record demand.

Holds on Energy and Environment Nominees Pile Up — Again
Procedural roadblocks reflect concerns about Trump administration policies

A series of energy- and environment-related nominees are stuck in limbo as procedural roadblocks, or “holds,” pile up over concerns by Republican and Democratic lawmakers about policy implementations by the Trump administration.

The holdups — five announced last week — have almost become a rite of passage for Trump nominees looking to take positions within the Energy Department, Interior Department and the EPA.

Florida Offshore Decision Unleashes Opposition Tidal Wave
Other states want similar treatment

The Interior Department’s decision to remove Florida’s coasts from its draft five-year offshore oil and gas drilling plan because of staunch opposition from the state has opened a floodgate of coastal state governments demanding similar treatment.

[Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says]

Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says
Sen. Bill Nelson alleges move was aimed at helping rival score political points

A plan to open Florida’s tourism-dependent Atlantic and Gulf coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling was dropped by the Trump administration on Tuesday after a bipartisan backlash that also threatened to complicate a must-pass fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department on Jan. 4 revealed a draft five-year plan for expanding the sale of federal offshore drilling leases to the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans, as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico, announced Tuesday night on Twitter that Florida’s two coasts would not be included in the expansion.

West Coast, Florida Foes Resist Trump Offshore Drilling Plan
Both Republicans and Democrats pan Interior Department proposal

There is a reason the last federal sale of oil or gas drilling leases off Florida’s Gulf Coast or California’s Pacific coast was in the 1980s: The local and congressional opposition is bipartisan and intense.

That’s also why the Trump administration can expect a fight over its new offshore strategy, which calls for drilling in areas once thought to be sacrosanct.

Plan to Boost Coal and Nuclear Could Cost Consumers
Should consumers pay more so coal and nuclear plants can survive?

For years, federal regulation of the electric grid has focused on keeping prices low and competition stiff. But that could change with a recent proposal from the Trump administration to put more emphasis on what it calls resiliency.

According to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the electric grid is more resilient — able to bounce back from disasters of the natural and man-made variety — when it has plenty of so-called baseload power that can run 24/7, with or without sunshine or wind and regardless of supply snags.

Green Energy Industry Says Lower Tax Credit Reneges on Promise
House GOP bill includes provision that removes an inflation adjustment

Renewable energy advocates are raising alarms that the House Republican tax plan released Thursday would sharply reduce a tax credit that has driven the rapid deployment of wind and solar power over the past two years.

The tax bill includes a provision that would remove an inflation adjustment from the renewable energy production tax credit, likely dropping it from 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for tax year 2016 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Canada Sees ANWR Drilling Threat to Border-Crossing Caribou
But Murkowski says oil development impact on wildlife has been limited

The Canadian government cares about its people — and its caribou. And to protect the latter, the government has come out against the U.S. proposal to open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, citing the feared impact on a caribou herd that migrates across the shared border.

Canada’s opposition, expressed by its embassy in an email to Roll Call, puts the United States’ neighbor on the side of Democrats and environmental groups, both of whom are looking to scuttle Republican attempts to open the refuge using budget reconciliation — a procedural maneuver that enables legislation to pass with only a simple majority in the Senate.

Senate Energy Gears Up for Alaska Drilling Fight
Republicans aim to attach ANWR proposal to tax overhaul effort

As the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee prepares for a high-profile hearing Thursday on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, Republicans are preparing to argue that improvements in drilling technology over the past decade will minimize potential damage to the environment.

That assertion will rile committee Democrats, who plan to raise the specter of oil spills as well as an invasion of drilling infrastructure and manpower in an area described by environmentalists as one of the most pristine habitats on the planet.

GOP Hopes to Undercut Offshore Regulator, Say House Democrats
Republicans are taking aim at an agency created by President Obama after BP oil spill

Republican lawmakers are trying to undermine the federal regulatory agency responsible for overseeing the safety and environmental concerns of offshore oil and gas operations, said Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee at a Wednesday hearing.

The complaints stem from a provision in the committee Republicans’ recently released draft bill that would direct the Interior secretary to look for potential “inefficiencies or duplication between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement,” which both regulate aspects of offshore drilling.

Uncertain Costs for Renewed Nuclear Waste Push in Nevada
The controversial Yucca Mountain plan would spur a $260 million spending increase, but the math is muddled

A House bill to restart the process of making Nevada’s Yucca Mountain a permanent repository for nuclear waste would increase spending by $260 million over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday in a report that acknowledges some uncertain numbers.

The CBO’s score could be a hurdle for the Yucca bill by forcing its backers to offset the cost by cutting other federal spending under pay-as-you-go budget mandates. The bill moved out of the Energy and Commerce Committee with surprisingly bipartisan support considering how the issue had divided Capitol Hill while Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada was majority leader. Reid didn’t seek reelection in 2016.

Senate Energy Committee Eulogizes the Late Sen. Pete Domenici

Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., opened Tuesday’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing by extolling the contributions of former Sen. Pete Domenici, who died last week. Several other members on the committee followed suit and offered their remembrances of the late New Mexico Republican....
Five Top Energy and Environment Priorities as Congress Returns
Energy bill, drinking water, Yucca, nominations and WOTUS

With lawmakers returning to kick off the fall working session, energy and environment policies won’t be high on their to-do list, but their champions aim to fill any floor schedule gaps with measures that could provide some legislative accomplishments.

Here are five priorities they will push this fall: