Labor Urges Energy Infrastructure Investment

Speaking before the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference February 10, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urged the government to make significant investments in water, energy, and waste infrastructure in order to promote job creation as well as mitigate the impacts of climate change. Labor and environmental leaders discussed the need to unite behind a model that would address climate change while ensuring worker protections.

Electric Reliability Paper

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released a white paper on electric reliability while speaking at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners February 11. The paper, “Powering the Future: Ensuring that Federal Policy Fully Supports Electric Reliability,” focuses on the impacts of environmental regulations on baseload generation, related tax policies, and intermittent fuel source issues. During the event, Senator Murkowski also expressed her frustration about the slow pace at which Congress is moving on energy legislation.

CCS Could Dramatically Increase Energy Prices

Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee February 11, Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the Department of Energy, said that requiring carbon capture and sequestration technologies at coal fired power plants could increase the wholesale price of electricity between 70 and 80 percent. The first generation technologies have a CO2 captured cost of $70-90/ton for wholesale electricity production, but a second generation could drop the cost to $40-50/ton.

LCV Scorecard Released

The League of Conservation Voters released its annual scorecard February 11, and concluded that House Republicans have received the lowest average score ever recorded. The league has issued an environmental scorecard every year since 1970 with input from 20 environmental and conservation organizations.

Markey Joins EPW

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) will join the Environment and Public Works Committee, following Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) departure. Senator Markey’s top issues as a new committee member include climate change, nuclear safety, superfund, and reauthorization of the transportation bill.

Hastings to Retire

Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) announced February 13 that he will not seek reelection. Congressman Hastings has been in Congress since 1995, and has chaired the House Natural Resources Committee the last two terms.

Climate Hearing Requested

California House Democrats sent a letter February 18 to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) and Subcommittee on Energy and Power Chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY) calling on the committee to hold a hearing on global climate change and the devastating California drought.

Holt to Retire

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced February 18 that he would retire at the end of the term. The eight-term Democrat, a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee and the ranking member of its Energy and Resources Subcommittee, has long advocated for renewable energy programs and addressing climate change.

All-Night Climate Session Forthcoming

Senate Democrats are planning to hold an all-night session in March to discuss climate change and urge action to address it. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), a member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, is organizing the event.

Legislation Introduced

  • Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA) introduced legislation (H.R. 4051) February 12 to establish a competitive grant program to fund renewable and alternative fuel infrastructure projects under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.
  • Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation (S. 2021) February 14 to lengthen and strengthen the biofuel production tax incentive that expired with the other tax extender measures at the end of the year. The measure would extend the $1/gallon tax credit through 2017 and increase the credit to $1.10 for the first 15 million gallons made by small producers that generate less than 60 million gallons a year, as well as redefine qualifying material as biodiesel made from any biomass-based feedstock or recycled oils and fats.