Fred Upton

PHMSA faulted for inaction after California oil spill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal agency that oversees the safety of the nation's pipelines failed to follow through on congressional reforms that could have made a difference in a May break that created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years, a House committee chairman said Tuesday.

In a rare display of agreement on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats on the Energy and Power Subcommittee expressed frustration with inaction by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which has yet to complete more than a dozen requirements outlined in a 2011 federal law.

Energy Guardian Photo

Moniz urges caution on crude exports but Upton presses for action

The U.S. should go slow on lifting the ban on crude oil exports because the country is still an importer of oil and low prices will keep production levels from rising even if exporting resumes, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told a House panel Tuesday.

Even so, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee said he wants the committee to consider legislation on the ban this year, though he stopped short of a full endorsement.

EnergyGuardian Photo

House, Senate to forge ahead on energy reform packages

Reforms to the nation's energy policies and efforts to upgrade infrastructure are set to dominate the agenda on Capitol Hill this week, as both the House and Senate energy committees make progress toward comprehensive energy bills.

Both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are working to produce broad legislation. taking on infrastructure bills this week. Chairman Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said last week she was in contact with her counterpart Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., as their panels move their bills along.

Bipartisan backing for measure targeting microbeads

National Journal

Toothpaste and other personal care items that contain synthetic microbeads would be banned under legislation introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. and Ranking Member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who are concerned about the effect of the microbeads on bodies of water such as the Great Lakes, National Journal reports.


State opt-out from existing power plant rule advances in House

A House committee on Wednesday advanced a bill that would give states an avenue to opt out of complying with forthcoming regulations to cut power plant carbon emissions. Democrats on the panel complained that it represented a “just say no” and “climate change denial” policy. 

The Ratepayer Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., focuses on the Environmental Protection Agency's rule for existing plants, which, when finalized, will require each state to file its own plan for meeting emissions reductions goals or face imposition of a federal plan. The bill would allow governors to opt out the filing requirement - and the federal plan - if, in consultation with state environmental and utility regulators, they deem it would threaten reliability or have an adverse effect on electricity rates. 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Photo

QER's focus on infrastructure stokes bipartisan energy talk

A rare note of bipartisanship emerged Tuesday in response to the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review, in which the Obama administration proposes billions in new investments and programs aimed at updating and strengthening the expansive and aging U.S. energy infrastructure network.

Though often at odds with Obama administration energy policy, key Republicans indicated that the infrastructure focus of the report offers a chance for “common ground” for legislation to modernize energy transmission, storage and distribution systems.

Energy Department

House lawmakers press Moniz for Strategic Reserve updates

A group of House lawmakers on Wednesday urged Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to give updates on the department’s emergency stockpile of crude oil, saying the shift in U.S. energy markets makes proper maintenance of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve more crucial than ever.

In a letter, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Ranking Member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. and other committee members pressed Moniz on a number of questions about the SPR and what the department is doing to make sure it is optimized for the current energy market.

House GOP moves to block Yucca use for other than nuke waste


Three senior House Republicans, including Energy and Commerce chair Rep. Fred Upton, have sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, demanding to know whether his department was planning any use for Yucca Mountain other than accepting nuclear waste, E&E reports.


Congress clears Keystone XL pipeline bill, setting up veto

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Congress approved a bill Wednesday to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline, setting up a confrontation with President Barack Obama, who has threatened to veto the measure.

The House voted 270-152 to send the bill to the president, endorsing changes made by the Senate that stated climate change was real and not a hoax, and oil sands should no longer be exempt from a tax used to cleanup oil spills. Only one Republican voted against the measure.

EnergyGuardian Photo

Upton to write energy 'abundance' bills

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.


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