Legislative Action

Energy Bill

Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee released a 50-page section-by-section of the recently passed S. 2012 Energy Modernization Policy Act of 2016. Looking forward to a potential conference of the Senate and House energy bills, Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently met with both Chairman Fred Upton (R-M) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) of the House Natural Resources Committee to discuss possibilities. Timing will prove a challenge approaching the summer months, as both House and Senate calendars need to allow for their respective members to be in Washington, D.C. at the same time. In addition, conferees have yet to be named, but that could happen as early as this week.

FY 2017 Energy & Water and Interior and Environment Appropriations

Also this week, the House is expected to bring its $37.4 billion Energy and Water Appropriations bill to the floor for a vote. In addition, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, will mark up its FY 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill on Wednesday.

This Week’s Hearings:

Clean Power Plan

On Wednesday, May 26 the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Environment, will hold a hearing to examine the “Impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on States.”

WOTUS

On Tuesday, May 24 the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Water, and Wildlife, will hold an oversight hearing titled, “Erosion of Exemptions and Expansion of Federal Control – Implementation of the Definition of Waters of the United States.”

Minerals

On Wednesday, May 25 the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, will hold an oversight hearing concerning “Mining Safety and Innovation in the 21st Century.”

Weather

On Wednesday, May 25 the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will hold a hearing to examine hurricane forecasting. Dr. Rick Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center, will testify.

Regulatory Action

NPDES

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recommending changes to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The proposed rule covers 15 areas including: permit applications, process and objections; water quality-based permitting; the vessels exclusion; and the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification process. Comments are due July 18.

Wetlands

The EPA has released its “National Wetland Condition Assessment 2011 Final Report,” which provides the results of a nationwide survey of the condition of U.S. wetlands. The report finds that “less than half of wetland area nationally (48%) is in good condition; 32% is in poor condition and the remaining 20% is in fair condition.” The report can be obtained here.