Fred Upton

EnergyGuardian Photo

Lawmakers press EPA on Clean Power Plan social media activity

Top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency for more information on its social media campaigns, after a watchdog’s audit found the agency broke the law in drumming up support for a water rule. Lawmakers want to know if the abuses extended to other regulations, including the Clean Power Plan.

The move comes days after the Government Accountability Office found that the agency had engaged in “covert propaganda” in promoting its Clean Water Rule on social media. The GAO concluded that the agency’s use of Thunderclap -- a tool to amplify social media posts -- and linking to environmental groups on the official agency blog had violated a prohibition on “grassroots lobbying.”

In a letter to Administrator Gina McCarthy, Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy voiced concern that the agency misused social media in its communications about the Clean Power Plan to cut power plant carbon emissions.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Murkowski: Senate to move on own energy bill, but sees compromise with House

The Senate doesn't plan to act on a freshly passed House energy reform bill and will instead focus on its own bill, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Thursday, but she expressed hope that the chambers could hash out a compromise bill in conference.

The Alaska Republican's remarks came shortly before the House approved the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015.  The bill passed on a mainly party-line vote of 249-174, well short of the 290 votes needed to override the veto threatened by the White House.

"I like the Senate bill. I think the House has been working hard, and we appreciate that, but absolutely there's room to meld the two together when we get to that point in time,” Murkowski said at an event hosted by The Hill. “I'm just pleased we're kind of tracking one another as two bodies moving forward, on perhaps a little different take on the issues, but we're teeing things up so that the time comes we can move them all together."

EnergyGuardian Photo

House approves energy bill over White House veto threat

The House on Thursday approved a Republican bill aimed at updating the nation's energy policy, defying a White House veto threat.

The bill, authored by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., passed by a vote of 249-174, short of the 290 votes required to override a veto. Nine Democrats joined the majority, while three Republicans voted against the bill.

The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 aims to streamline permitting for natural gas pipelines, expedite exports of liquefied natural gas, and reduce some Energy Department efficiency requirements. It also picked up amendments that would lift the Commerce Department's ban on crude oil exports and speed reviews of permit applications for pipelines and transmission lines that cross national borders.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would “undermine already successful initiatives designed to modernize the nation's energy infrastructure and increase our energy efficiency.” The White House also opposes lifting the crude export ban.

The bill's path forward in the Senate is unclear. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee has advanced a broader reform package that includes renewable energy provisions and conservation measures.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

New hurdles for House energy bill as Obama threatens veto, Dems stand firm

A long-in-development House Republican effort to update the federal government’s energy policy faces new obstacles after the White House threatened to veto the legislation and Democrats indicated they plan to stand firm against the bill unless significant changes are made.

The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, authored chiefly by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., is set for floor debate as early as Wednesday, with plans for a vote on Thursday. It includes updates to energy infrastructure permitting, a process to streamline liquefied natural gas exports and changes to energy efficiency policies.

The Office of Management and Budget, however, contended that many of those changes would undermine federal efforts to boost energy efficiency, promote clean energy and protect the environment.

Upton, Murkowski collecting donations with joint committee

International Business Times

The chairs of the House and Senate Energy committees—Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska—have created a joint fundraising committee that is attracting donations from major players in the oil and gas industry, the International Business Times reports.

Heritage Action lobbying against House energy reform legislation

The Hill

The House energy reform bill – the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act pushed by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. – interferes too much in the free market operations of the energy sector, lobbyists for the conservative Heritage Action for America are telling lawmakers, The Hill reports.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

Pallone warns of veto as House Energy bill loses bipartisan legs

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's long-running effort to update the nation's energy policy will head to the floor with little Democratic support—and a warning from the committee's ranking member that it wouldn't pass muster with the White House.

The bill, once touted as a widely bipartisan effort, was approved by a vote of 32-20 at Wednesday's markup, with just three Democrats joining Republicans. The contentious vote occurred just one day after the decision by the committee's chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., to jettison the bill's original text in favor of a substitute that added a number of provisions that Democrats wouldn't accept.

Ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the move undermined Upton's stated goal of advancing a bipartisan energy bill, adding that it was “totally wrong” to assume that the new language could win President Barack Obama's approval.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

Late changes to House energy bill threaten to derail bipartisan approach

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's long effort to advance a broad, bipartisan energy reform package hit a roadblock Tuesday, after late Republican changes to the bill drove the committee’s top Democrat to “strongly oppose” the measure.

At a markup session for the bill, which has been in the works since last summer, ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said he couldn’t support the bill, after the chairman -- Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. -- made a number of “significant and controversial changes” hours before the meeting.

Upton on Tuesday released a manager’s amendment that, if adopted, would strike the original text of the bill in favor of his rewrite. The committee plans to vote Wednesday to send the package, which includes measures to update energy infrastructure and promote energy efficiency, to the House floor.

GOP Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky won't seek re-election

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield announced on Tuesday that he will not seek a 12th term, ending a 20-year political career that helped alter the dynamic of Kentucky politics.

Whitfield made the announcement in a news release. The Hopkinsville Republican was first elected to Congress in 1994. His term ends in January 2017.

Lawmakers seek documents, briefing in probe of VW emissions

WASHINGTON (AP) — As they prepare to haul Volkswagen officials before Congress, lawmakers are seeking evidence about how VW was able to cheat on emissions tests and how the German automaker was ultimately caught.

The bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Volkswagen's CEO Tuesday requesting all documents and communications related to compliance with the Clean Air Act and federal emissions standards. Committee leaders also want documents related to compliance with California's emission standards.


Subscribe to Fred Upton