Legislative Action

This week, the Senate could return to floor consideration of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. Last week there was progress made toward hotlining a procedural proposal to separate consideration for a potential agreement on Flint, MI water funding and the Energy bill in order to vote on the two items separately – as opposed to the possibility of Flint funding being considered in the Energy bill. However the process has since been held up due to a hold placed by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) who reportedly has concerns about both the energy bill and the Flint funding. If there is an agreement on Flint, the Senate Energy bill could be back on the floor rather quickly. Once the bill hits the floor, the Senators are expected to consider 30 amendments by voice vote and 8 amendments (including the SAVE Act) by roll-call vote – each of which would need 60 votes to pass. 

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, March 1, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request. DOI Secretary, Sally Jewell, will testify. Secretary Jewell will also testify on the Department’s budget request the following day on March 2 before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment.
  • On Tuesday, March 1, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power, will hold a concerning a discussion draft of the proposed reauthorization bill for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pipeline safety program through 2019. The draft contains targeted mandates for PHMSA to increase transparency and accountability, complete overdue regulations and improve safety.
  • On Tuesday, March 1, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, will hold a hearing on the Department of Energy’s FY 17 Budget Request.  DOE Secretary, Dr. Ernest Moniz, will testify. Secretary Moniz will also testify on the Department’s budget request the following day on March 2 before the he House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power.  On Thursday, March 3, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing as well on DOE’s FY 17 Budget Request.
  • On Tuesday, March 1, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, will hold a hearing titled “Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Weapons and Activities and Nuclear Nonproliferation and Naval Reactors.” The Administrator for Nuclear Security at the Department of Energy, Frank Klotz, will testify, as well as others.
  • On Wednesday, March 2, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, will hold a hearing titled “Impact of the President’s FY 2017 Budget on the Energy and Mineral Leasing and Production Missions of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)”.
  • On Wednesday, March 2, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to examine three pieces of legislation: S. 2446, to amend subtitle D of the Solid Waste Disposal Act concerning coal combustion residuals and disposal, and S.1479, to amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 to modify grant and a bill entitled, “Good Samaritan Cleanup of Orphan Mines Act of 2016.”
  • On Wednesday, March 2, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, will hold an FY 17 Budget Request hearing concerning the Department of Energy, Applied Energy division. Several officials from the Department of Energy will testify including: the Under Secretary for Science and Energy; the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; the Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy; Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy; and the Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
  • On Wednesday, March 2, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, will hold a hearing titled “Budget Hearing – Department of Energy, Science”.  The Under Secretary for Science and Energy and the Director of the Office of Science from the Department of Energy will testify.
  • On Thursday, March 3, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, will hold a hearing title “Budget Hearing – Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement”.  The Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Joseph Pizarchik, will testify.
  • On Thursday, March 3, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, will hold a hearing on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM’s) F 17 Budget Request. The Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Neil Kornze, will testify.
  • On Thursday, March 3, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on Oversight, will hold a joint hearing titled “Department of Energy Oversight: The DOE Loan Guarantee Program”.

Regulatory Action

BLM 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a proposed rule to amend regulations concerning land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). According to the agency, the proposed rule is intended to “enable the BLM to more readily address landscape-scale resource issues, such as wildfire, habitat connectivity, or the demand for renewable and non-renewable energy sources and to respond more effectively to environmental and social changes.” The BLM has admitted that the proposed rule may have an impact on the oil and gas industry – possibly resulting in earlier and more involvement from the public in the agency’s planning process. Comment on the proposed rule is due April 25.

Marine and Hydrokinetic Advancement

On March 2, the Department of Energy (DOE), Wind and Water Power Technologies Office will hold a Summit on Marine and Hydrokinetic Research and Development in Washington, D.C. DOE states that it is targeting for attendance: “executive members from the Department of Energy, the national laboratories and industry to showcase DOE’s water power energy investments in the national laboratories and to identify activities ripe for technology transfer.” Registration details can be found here