The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up a tax extenders package today that doesn’t include renewable energy tax credits, marking a contrast to a Senate tax bill moving through the upper chamber that would provide subsidies for wind and solar power. The committee is set to advance a series of bills this morning that would permanently extend a handful of tax incentives slated to expire at the end of the year, including a measure known as bonus depreciation that would allow companies to speed up the tax write-off process for certain business expenses
Key Republicans said yesterday they expect the Senate will wait until the House passes a continuing resolution before scheduling a vote in the upper chamber. House Republican leaders are expected to set up votes this week on abortion-related bills in an effort to mollify conservatives who are vowing to oppose any spending measures that fund Planned Parenthood, which sparked outrage after a series of videos surfaced showing its members allegedly trying to sell aborted fetal tissue for research.
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce plans to invest more than $120 million in solar power during a renewable energy conference in Anaheim, Calif., today. According to the White House, Biden will tout the administration’s plans to funnel the cash into solar projects in states across the country when he speaks at the Solar Power International conference this afternoon.
President Obama’s top climate change negotiator will meet with his Chinese counterpart in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce joint actions by cities, states and provinces in both countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The summit meeting follows a historic accord reached in Beijing in November by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping, who pledged to enact policies to cut emissions significantly. Mr. Obama said the United States would reduce planet-warming carbon emissions up to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi vowed that China would halt its emissions growth by 2030.
Oil and gas industry groups and conservative organizations are urging House lawmakers not to renew an expired wind energy tax credit when the lower chamber takes up its tax extenders package later this year. In a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), four right-leaning groups — including the Koch brothers-backed organization Americans for Prosperity — urged the House not to revive the wind energy production tax credit that expired at the end of last year. Heritage Action for America, the American Energy Alliance and the Club for Growth also signed onto the letter.
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa sent a letter today on behalf of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition calling on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to reverse its decision to hamper long-term investment in research advancing American wind power.“The nation’s long-term investment in research conducted by DOE’s energy programs, National Laboratories, our state universities, and private companies around the nation has helped fuel the extraordinary growth of the nation’s wind energy industry,” the letter states. “As governors, we see the benefits this innovative research has brought to our states, including energy diversification and continual wealth generation in rural America.”
With the end of the fiscal year approaching, governors are registering a bipartisan complaint over funding cuts to wind research programs at the Energy Department that were included in a Senate appropriations bill. The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, chaired by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), takes issue with a $61 million reduction for wind energy research from current funding levels that is contained in the $35.4 billion fiscal 2016 energy and water development spending bill approved in May. “Like federal support for other renewable energy and fossil energy research, investment in developing onshore and offshore wind energy is vital to the nation’s energy security and international competitiveness,” the governors wrote to Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and ranking member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) today. “And we feel it is important that the federal budget is not biased against one type of energy.”
The Obama administration today proposed to invest more than $160 million in programs aimed at tackling climate change, reducing traffic congestion and other local efforts. The announcement of the administration’s new “Smart Cities” initiative comes as the White House hosts a forum today that convenes politicians, researchers, city representatives, members of the technology sector and others to discuss improving cities’ technology and infrastructure.
Snowpack levels in California’s Sierra Nevada are the lowest in at least five centuries, according to a sobering new academic report that warns that the ongoing drought could continue for the foreseeable future. At issue is a report, led by researchers at the University of Arizona, that used tree-ring data to estimate that low 2015 snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada are “unprecedented in the context of the past 500 years,” according to the two-page report, published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
At 12:45 on a muggy Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., guitar notes rang out in the crowded cafeteria of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Stern-looking suit-clad men and women huddled over lunch or papers, or deep in conversation, were startled out of their activities by a flash mob of elderly citizens. “We’re on a planet that has a problem,” they chanted, gesturing and swaying in the front seating area, “We’ve got to solve it, get involved, and do it now, now, NOW!” An impassioned guitarist stood atop a chair and strummed on.