With the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution chief in the hot seat, Republican lawmakers on Wednesday got their first chance since taking over the Senate majority to challenge a top administration official over the Obama administration's proposal to slash power plant carbon emissions. They attacked the plan on its economic impacts to states and also raised concerns about its effects on energy reliability.
The new chairman of the Senate's environment committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., made it clear he will continue to hammer at the EPA’s plan, promising future hearings featuring critics of the rule.
“We’re going to have scientists at a hearing,” Inhofe said. “I think when you don’t have science on your side, if you keep saying ‘science is settled, science is settled, science is settled,’ there’s this assumption that that’s the case. That is not the case.”
But Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, defended the proposal, offering assurances that the agency is listening to concerns and that the final rule will offer states flexibility in hitting carbon reduction targets.
The House is expected on Wednesday to easily pass the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline approval bill the Senate said yes to last month, sending the measure to President Barack Obama for an expected veto.
The veto would be his first since 2010 and only his third since taking office. The White House had threatened a veto of the House version of the bill on Jan. 7, two days before House lawmakers initially passed their version of the bill with no amendments.
There has been no change since then in the stance by administration officials that Congress should leave the $8 billion project's fate in the hands of the State Department.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton on Monday previewed a legislative agenda that he said would lead to a "solutions-focused" package of energy bills that will be taken up by the Republican-led House later this year.
The agenda would target four areas he said will build on the domestic oil and gas boom: Pipeline infrastructure, minority workforce development, "energy diplomacy" -- including exports -- and energy efficiency.
Measures to support solar installations have stalled in the Georgia legislature before, but with some concerns of utilities satisfied, on Monday House Bill 57 -- the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act –- cleared the House in an unanimous vote and was sent on to the state Senate, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker began a four-day trade mission to London on Monday, making him the latest Republican with potential presidential aspirations to make such a trip to the United Kingdom.
Walker is trying to bolster his foreign policy credentials ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign. Walker previously led a trade mission to China and attended a trade-related meeting in Japan in 2013. He has also said he is working on scheduling a trip to Israel later this year.
A major package of bills to fulfil Gov. Jerry Brown’s pledges to address climate change are due to be introduced in the California legislature Tuesday, which will include boosts for renewable energy, measures to force the state pension funds to divest from coal companies, and a panel which will look for ways to generate jobs from the new policies, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The field of potential Republican presidential candidates still is mostly made up of climate skeptics, but they appear to be taking a more moderate tone on the issue in the run up to 2016, National Journal reports.
WASHINGTON (AP) — On a cold overcast morning in January, President Barack Obama briefly delayed his departure for an Iowa day-trip to huddle in the Oval Office with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams. The topic was Obama's upcoming State of the Union address.
A week earlier, Obama had invited Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, and Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers, to fly with him to Michigan aboard Air Force One.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain, who seems to revel in the occasional lonely crusade, is now taking on America's maritime industry and the longstanding law barring foreign-built ships from transporting goods within the United States.
McCain's opposition to the 1920 Jones Act isn't new, but his status as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is. He's made clear in recent weeks that one of his priorities is to strip away the maritime industry's protections, which he says stifle competition and drive up the cost of food, gasoline and steel.
Republicans are planning to use their majority in Congress to go gunning for Obama administration environmental regulations, among them the rule limiting power plant carbon emissions, limits on ozone levels and methane emissions, and the renewable fuel standard, National Journal reports.
The Interior Department is opposing legislation that would create pathways for natural gas pipelines across federal lands in the eastern United States, saying the move would limit public input on such projects, The Hill reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to release within days the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule, which is intended to clarify the agency's jurisdiction over bodies of water, The Hill reports. The rule is facing strong opposition from farm groups and Republicans.
Neither South Carolina nor Nevada appears to want nuclear waste stockpiled inside its borders, posing a challenge for Republican presidential candidates who may need to take a position on the issue while competing in those early primary states, National Journal reports.
North Dakota regulators says the clean-up of a Tesoro Corp. pipeline spill that left oil covering more than 7 acres of land in the northwest part of the state will take at least two and a-half more years, The Associated Press reports.
A smaller decline in last week’s rig count and a prediction from Goldman Sachs that U.S. producers would start ramping up production at current price levels was pressuring oil early Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 43 cents to $59.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent fell 45 cents to $65.07, Reuters reports.
Republicans and Democrats are continuing to battle in Maine over creation of a new state Department of Energy, as well as whether GOP Gov. Paul LePage should be able to appoint the head of the Efficiency Maine Trust, the Sun Journal reports.
Experts are offering fresh assessments that failures by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are primarily responsible for the flooding disaster that devastated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, The New York Times reports.
Hoping to raise more than $2 billion, China National Nuclear Power Corp. is planning to sell nearly 3.9 billion new shares in an initial public offering, the country’s biggest domestic IPO since 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports.