Energy Regulation

Ep. 36: Congress Set to Revoke Last-Minute Obama Regulations ... But There's a Risk
The Big Story

CQ Roll Call's Senate leadership reporter Niels Lesniewski walks us through how the GOP-controlled Congress can roll out the Congressional Review Act to rescind some of President Barack Obama’s last-minute regulations.

Show Notes:

Interior Department Says Final Arctic Drilling Rule Will Boost Safety
But Republicans, oil industry concerned over harming energy production

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski criticized the Obama administration for launching what she called a "regulatory onslaught" on drilling in the Arctic which would more likely harm energy production there. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department on Thursday finalized a rule it says will make drilling in the Arctic safer and more environmentally sustainable by requiring oil and gas companies to set in place systems to prevent and contain oil spills in the region's difficult weather conditions.  

The rule, first proposed in February 2015, requires drillers on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf to have access to a separate rig ready to drill a relief well in case they lose control of an existing well.  

Energy-Water Vote to Come Monday or Tuesday

The Senate is looking to wrap up consideration of its $37.5 billion Energy-Water fiscal 2017 appropriations bill by Monday or Tuesday, Energy-Water Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Thursday.  

Lawmakers had submitted more than 60 amendments to the bill by a deadline that Alexander had set for 1 p.m. A vote has been scheduled for just one of those on Monday afternoon, but Alexander said all “germane amendments” will get a vote by Tuesday.  

Lawmakers Turn to Energy Policy Bills' Differences

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, left, and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, conduct a news conference in the Capitol after the Senate passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa Rides the Wind

The sun sets on a wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa, January 29, 2016. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Champions of clean energy often look to California and other blue states for leadership on green issues, but lately the state that is the king of wind power is a decidedly red one in the heart of Middle America.  

To be sure, Iowa’s success with wind was helped in no small part by its geography. Part of the infamous Tornado Alley, Iowa’s flat topography enables better and more frequent wind gusts. “The plains are where wind blows the best,” says Radha Adhar, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club.  

A Struggle for Harmony in the Energy World

An employee of Stewarts Inc., an oilfield service company, works on a tank that will be used in the fracking industry in the oil town of Andrews, Texas. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Barack Obama began his presidency promising to rebuild the U.S. economy after a staggering recession, to achieve energy independence through an “All of the Above” embrace of sources and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are changing the Earth’s climate. But despite substantial progress on each front, those goals are increasingly coming into conflict.  

Perhaps the biggest development on the energy front is the boom in domestic natural gas, largely from advances in enhanced extraction techniques known as fracking. Gas has hit historically low prices that helped to fuel an energy and manufacturing job comeback, and a fundamental shift in how electricity is produced domestically.