Congress seems unlikely to wrap up its annual appropriations work until later this year, but lawmakers from both parties are eager to strike a quick deal on a Zika funding package. House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer raised fresh doubts yesterday over whether Congress will complete its fiscal 2017 work before December, leaving federal agencies to operate under current funding for at least the first three months of the new fiscal year.
The Senate this week could vote to go to conference with the House on energy legislation, Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday. “I’m really hopeful that we’re going to be able to have a vote on it this week,” Murkowski told E&E Daily last night, saying she was encouraged by the meeting of the six House and Senate lawmakers who will play a key role in reconciling the chambers’ competing bills.
House progressives are planning to hold a forum this week to argue that the oil and gas industry is taking its cue from Big Tobacco in its attempts to thwart investigations on climate change. The planned gathering Wednesday afternoon, called “Oil Is the New Tobacco,” will bring together members of Congress, climate researchers and environmental activists.
Two top House chairmen yesterday pledged to work with wary Democrats in conference committee talks to produce a final energy bill that President Obama would sign. In a joint statement, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said they were committed to working with members from both parties on both sides of the Capitol to sort out the thorny differences between the chambers’ competing energy bills. While brief, the joint statement released yesterday afternoon addresses a key concern by Democrats, which has stalled the launch of formal negotiations. Members of the minority worry about Republicans pushing poison pill provisions
A new report finds carbon reduction rules create billions in public health benefits. While the Clean Power Plan (CPP) works its way through the court system, researchers continue to look into what it could mean for consumers. The results of a new Harvard study show there’s nothing to fear: using a model that resembles the CPP, researchers found net benefits of $38 billion a year. Because wind power’s costs have fallen 66 percent in the last six years, it’s the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut carbon pollution, making it responsible for a big portion of these benefits.
Americans for Prosperity is once again urging lawmakers not to extend a key renewable tax break in upcoming legislation that would extend the authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration beyond next month’s July 15 expiration. In a statement issued Friday, the group reiterated its opposition to extending the investment tax credit for wind, geothermal, fuel cells, and combined heat and power facilities for five years in the FAA extension, expected before the summer recess.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) says his pursuit of policies “to protect the quality of air that our citizens breathe” will not be undone by a recent federal court ruling that struck down key elements of the state’s landmark clean energy law. The nearly 10-year-old law, called the Next Generation Energy Act, suffered a second strike last week as the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis affirmed a lower court ruling that the law involves “extraterritorial regulation” of energy markets in neighboring North Dakota.
“As Obama told them very clearly, you’re going to be a midsized economy in the middle of the Atlantic, and you’re not going to have the leverage you had as the 28 when you’re a one,” said Michelle Egan of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “And I don’t think they realize that the other 27 have no reason to be nice in the negotiation.”
After Kullin Orcutt lost his job at the Peabody coal mine this spring, he knew what he needed to do: join the exodus. “Leave Gillette, leave the state,” he said. Mr. Orcutt is a third-generation miner and one of 592 coal workers who have been laid off here since January. Thousands more job cuts are expected this summer. More people will follow Mr. Orcutt. While many businesses in Gillette are struggling to stay open, a U-Haul dealer has been nearly sold out since the school year ended this month. But 200 miles to the southwest, in Carbon County, where Wyoming’s first coal mine opened a century ago, the mood is different. The last coal mine closed a decade ago, but the county may soon be home to the largest wind farm in North America, if not the world.
U.S. EPA gave its stamp of approval yesterday to solar installations in low-income communities as part of an optional, early-action program under the Clean Power Plan. The proposal would also allow geothermal energy and hydropower. The Obama administration yesterday rolled out more details on its proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) . The optional program would give states early credit for certain actions to reduce emissions before the Clean Power Plan would take effect, like installing wind farms or energy efficiency projects in low-income communities.