Senate Not Open to Oil-For-Renewable Package Reconciliation

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 05 Mar 2008 14:12:00 GMT

Despite earlier reports that the Senate was considering inclusion of the oil-for-renewable package (H.R. 5351) in its budget reconciliation, as the budget markup begins today, the filibuster-proof strategy has been taken off the table.

The National Journal reports:
While a Senate budget resolution is going to set aside $13.4 billion over five years for these renewable and efficiency credits – some of which expire this year – it merely signals that the issue is one of the priorities for Senate Democrats and does not forward debate over how to pay for those credits. . . a spokesman for Reid said he will not resurrect an energy tax debate until after lawmakers come back from the upcoming two-week Easter recess.

The Journal also reports that Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has been tasked by Majority Leader Reid to attempt to find further Republican votes to establish a veto-proof majority for the package.

CQ Politics points to Sen. Landrieu as objecting to using reconciliation:
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu , D-La., for example, is against using the process to pass renewable-energy tax breaks if they lead to tax hikes on oil and gas companies.

Sen. Landrieu cast a deciding vote against the oil-for-renewable tax package during the 2007 energy bill debate.

National Journal
The decision by Senate leaders not to pursue a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation plan removes one option for moving billions of dollars of renewable energy and efficiency tax breaks funded by repealing incentives for oil and gas companies.

While a Senate budget resolution is going to set aside $13.4 billion over five years for these renewable and efficiency credits – some of which expire this year – it merely signals that the issue is one of the priorities for Senate Democrats and does not forward debate over how to pay for those credits.

A reconciliation bill would have sent detailed instructions to committees on how to pay for that spending and would have been immune to a filibuster.

The budget resolution also includes $3.5 billion in discretionary funding for energy above President Bush’s FY09 request, which Senate Budget Chairman Conrad touted as “a very big increase; I think the biggest increase in more than 30 years.”

Senate Democrats are trying to overcome Republican opposition to scaling back billions in incentives for oil and gas companies to pay for the popular renewable and efficiency credits. Democrats in December fell one vote short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster of a $21.8 billion proposal that reduced oil and gas incentives by about $13 billion.

A politically problematic $18 billion House-passed renewable energy tax proposal is pending, but few are optimistic that it could become law given a White House veto threat. This is leading to some brainstorming on other means of getting these credits extended quickly.

Majority Leader Reid has tasked Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., with helping find another Republican vote or two. Cantwell, who pushed for a one-year $5.5 billion renewable and efficiency tax package as part of a failed Finance Committee economic stimulus plan, said a similar smaller package should be considered. “There’s nothing preventing us from looking at the bigger package – see what the president does – but still work toward a smaller package too,” she said.

Cantwell said “the challenge is to still try to save investment in ‘08,” and extend the tax incentives within the next month or so.

This is the basic message of a broad coalition of businesses, renewable energy groups, environmentalists, labor unions and others who are taking advantage of an international renewable energy conference in Washington this week to do some cohesive lobbying to extend these credits by the end of the month.

But a spokesman for Reid said he will not resurrect an energy tax debate until after lawmakers come back from the upcoming two-week Easter recess.

Several industry officials say they are not requesting that Congress follow a particular strategy for quickly extending the renewable and efficiency incentives.

“We basically said Congress should figure this out,” said Dan Reicher, former assistant Energy secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy under President Clinton and now director of climate change and energy initiatives at Google.org.

“We have tried to stick to a pretty simple approach – extend the credits quickly and extend them for a long period of time.”

But the political problems associated with repealing the billions in oil and gas incentives means the solution to getting an extension through fast is potentially undefined.

“The answer is, you need some new and original thinking here,” said Marchant Wentworth, legislative representative for the Clean Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

While Cantwell has talked about doing a smaller package to gain support and possibly avoid a veto threat, Wentworth cautioned that there does not appear to be a magic number to achieve that.

“The question we all face is, are there new votes that you would get? These are leadership-driven; it’s unclear to me that lowering the incentives gets you anything,” he said.

In the meantime, a wide variety of groups and companies – including retail giant Wal-Mart, the Real Estate Roundtable, Dow Chemical and DuPont – are targeting congressional leaders and several Senate Republicans to vote for extending the credits regardless of whether it affects oil and gas company incentives.

Among Republicans being targeted are Sens. John Ensign of Nevada, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Lugar and Murkowski voted against the filibuster in December. Renewable energy groups might also get a rare chance to lobby Bush personally when he speaks today at the 2008 Washington International Renewable Energy Conference.

EPA Puts Off "Hard Decision" On CO2 Endangerment Finding, May Face New Lawsuit

Posted by Warming Law Tue, 04 Mar 2008 22:02:00 GMT

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson seems unable to step foot on Capitol Hill to talk about his 2008 budget without getting a ton of questions about California’s waiver denial and EPA’s much-delayed response to Massachusetts v. EPA. Today’s NY Times carries an editorial explaining how the two are linked, citing and drawing out Georgetown Professor Lisa Heinzerling’s observation that EPA’s waiver denial may have inadvertently committed it to an endangerment finding) 

The barrage of questions continued yesterday, courtesy of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and her Appropriations subcommittee. Hill Heat live-blogged the hearing and revealed that Johnson isn’t just personally overwhelmed by all the legal pressure and questioning—he’s explicitly citing it to justify his delayed reaction to the Supreme Court’s remand. To wit, Johnson repeated the claim—previously made when he announced to a House subcommittee that he’d be "taking a step back" from the enandgerment finding to weigh industry’s “concerns”—that his delay is partly justified by a series of petitions and appeals that California and environmental groups have filed in the last several months, seeking the regulation of CO2 emissions from ships, aircraft, off-road vehicles, and new coal-burning power plants under federal jurisdiction.

Each of these actions was largely motivated by EPA’s delay in making an endangerment ruling, and each covers areas that would be affected by such a determination. In other words, Johnson is claiming that in order to respond to legal maneuvers motivated by his hesitancy to act…he must delay action even longer. While this deflection doesn’t carry any legal consequences, another part of Johnson’s insistence that this decision requires an expansive amount of time—perhaps until the end of the Bush administration, as advised by the Heritage Foundation, which also takes credit for inspiring Johnson’s rationale—actually highlights the imminent possibility of yet another lawsuit against EPA.

At issue: Johnson flat-out refused to set a target date yesterday for completing the decision-making process, and would not answer whether any of his staff was even working on the enandgerment evaluation (as opposed to a "myriad of issues" that they are tackling). The latter answer led Senator Feinstein to argue, based on what she’d  evidently been hearing from other sources, that no one other than Johnson himself is weighing the issue.

The legal coalition responsible for initiating Mass. v. EPA will likely beg to differ with this exhaustive process, having notified the Administrator last month that it was prepared to sue over unreasonable delay if Johnson didn’t provide a firm target date by February 27—last Wednesday. Stay tuned…

Next Steps on Oil-for-Renewable Package

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Mar 2008 17:02:00 GMT

Upon the House passage of the oft-stymied oil-for-renewable tax package as a standalone bill (H.R. 5351) last week, Ben Geman of E&E News reported on a possible mechanism for moving the bill through the Senate with a simple majority:
Senate Democrats are eyeing a filibuster-proof budget bill as a vehicle for energy tax provisions that have narrowly failed to win the 60 votes needed to cut off debate, several lawmakers said yesterday.

Energy taxes are a “candidate to be considered in [budget] reconciliation,” Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) told reporters. “I think we have to look at things that reduce our dependence on energy.”

The oil-for-renewables package, which faces the threat of a Bush veto, received resounding support from a broad coalition of industry, investors, and environmental organizations in a press conference today on the first day of the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference. President Bush is scheduled to offer the keynote address to the convention tomorrow.

FY 2009 Environmental Protection Agency Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Mar 2008 15:00:00 GMT

ESI’s EPA Budget Briefing

Witness
  • Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator

10:12 Johnson: As the administration sprints to the finish line, I believe this budget keeps it on the path to a cleaner future. With both demand and cost on the rise, innovators are pushing clean energy solutions. We estimate industry will explore thousands of oil and gas wells on tribal and national lands. The budget requests hundreds of new staff to assist our partners assess the projects.

The budget also attempts to address the serious challenge of global climate change.

The budget supports EPA’s collaborative work to protect our waterways. I’m proud of our response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

10:17 AM Feinstein The legal justification for your waiver rests heavily on the 1967 decision. In 1977 Congress amended the Clean Air Act, changing the language and intent of Section 209. The committee language stated that the intent was to provide California the broadest latitude possible. Your waiver justification document does not mention Congressional intent in 1977. Why?

Johnson I am bound by Section 209 and there are three very specific criteria. I only looked at one. Based on the record before me, again, affording California the broadest discretion, it does not mean that I am a rubber stamp. It is not a popularity contest.

10:49 Craig Sitting on EPW we get two bites at you. Today I won’t chew as hard.

Feinstein Even though that section allows other states to adopt California’s standards?

Johnson You raise a very good point. Section 209 and the law and the criteria does not allow me to consider what other states may or may not do. As I pointed out the more states that believe greenhouse gas emissions is a problem are making the very point that California is not unique. It is not exclusive. Rather it is a national problem requiring a national solution.

Feinstein According to the Washington Post, you overruled your legal and technical staff last October. Did a single one of your staff support a flat denial?

Johnson They presented me with a wide range of options, from approving to denying the waiver. They were all presented to me as legally defensible options. I appreciate the opportunity for their candid input, but the Clean Air Act gives me the responsibility alone.

Feinstein You are saying the technical and legal staff recommended approving the waiver. Is that correct?

Johnson They presented me with a wide range of options, from approving to denying the waiver. Generally it is my approach to ask for input, if they choose to give input, that’s fine. Routinely I seek input.

Feinstein We’ve been told that none of the staff was in favor of denying the waiver.

Johnson I received a range of options.

Feinstein I know that.

Johnson I respect the opportunity to receive candid opinions. My decision is not based on a popularity contest of opinions.

Feinstein You’re not answering the question, but there’s nothing I can do but interpret your non-answer.

10:26: Feinstein You’ve missed your 2007 deadline to make the health endangerment finding. Will you respect the direction of the highest court of the land?

Johnson I will commit to that we will make the decision. We are working on the implementation regulations. We have a number of court-ordered deadlines.

Feinstein When might we expect this?

Johnson I don’t have a date, but I assure you we will respond to Mass vs. EPA.

10:28 Allard I have some concerns about enforcement.

10:39 Leahy I’m going to divert for just a moment. I want to talk about mercury pollution. Your agency had the mercury rule. I said at the time I thought it was wrong. On February 8 the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, a very conservative court, agreed with my position and struck down your rule. If you had listened to my opinion you could have saved taxpayers significant fees. Does your agency plan to abide by the Clean Air Act, by the law?

Johnson Thank you for the question. Always follow the law, sir. The EPA and DOJ are currently evaluating the decision. We haven’t decided on a course of action. We also recognize because of the Clean Air Interstate Rule we have early reductions of mercury. We are disappointed the first regulation of mercury was struck down. We’re evaluating that now.

Leahy The court made their decision based on the arguments heard in the case. The AP reports officials have threatened states with disapproval for adopting more aggressive mercury regulations, despite what the EPA said in the court. If there was a misrepresentation by the government to the court that’s a serious matter. Have officials ever threatened states against instituting mercury regulations?

Johnson I don’t recall any firsthand knowledge. I don’t know if they have.

Leahy Will you go back and find out?

Johnson I’ll be happy to respond for the record.

Leahy I would like to know the answer. If the AP is correct, then the EPA gave misleading information to the courts. The courts, the Judiciary Committee would consider it a very serious matter. You adopted the Mercury Trading Rule in 2005 and committed to reducing mercury hot spots.

Johnson We haven’t decided yet.

10:50 Feinstein I believe very firmly your staff was in favor of the waiver unless you tell me otherwise. Did any other people in the administration weigh in on the waiver?

Johnson I received many opinions, the decision was my own.

Feinstein Did you discuss this with the White House?

Johnson I discuss major issues with the White House, I think that’s good government.

Feinstein I read the 48 pages. I find it not at all impressive. I think it is harmful to our state and the country. I’d like to go back to the remand. You have not given me a firm date. I find this unbelievable on what is called an Environmental Protection Agency, not an Administration Protection Agency.

Johnson I respectfully disagree that this is an easy decision. Justice Scalia set it up as a three-part test for me. If I find there is endangerment, I must regulate. If I find that there is not endangerment, I should not regulate. If there are other factors I need to consider them. The way the Clean Air Act operates, a decision in the regulation of mobile sources could have a significant impact on stationary sources. I know people are anxious for me to get on with business. Climate change is a serious issue. It’s one I’m carefully considering. Airlines, off-roads, marine, I could go on and on.

Feinstein How many personnel are working on the endangerment finding?

Johnson I don’t know exactly.

Feinstein We’ve been told noone is working on it. Is anyone working on it?

Johnson I know I am working on what are the next steps. It’s what I’m currently evaluating.

Feinstein How many of your staff are working on the endangerment finding?

Johnson I don’t know. I am currently evaluating what are the next steps to take in response to the Supreme Court, the Energy Act, the numerous petitions. I know we have staff working on a myriad issues. I know we have people working on major economies, reviewing McCain-Lieberman legislation, the Greenhouse Gas Registry. We have a lot of issues we’re working on.

Feinstein What I deduce is that none of your staff is working on it. I’ve got to believe you’re stonewalling.

Johnson I’m not stonewalling.

11:10 Feinstein Have you taken every Congressional earmark out of this budget?

Johnson I am told by our staff that the answer is yes.

11:30 Argument with Ted Stevens and Johnson over earmarks (and the definition of an earmark) and funding water and sewer facilities Alaskan villages.

11:37 Stevens I’m trying to seek re-election now. I don’t understand why it’s been reduced.

Stevens What did you ask the president for?

Johnson I support the president’s budget.

Stevens You going to answer my questions, sir?

Johnson brings in EPA water guy.

Stevens You can tell me what you requested OMB this year. What was that amount?

EPA water guy We requested the amount consistent with the 2004 request.

Stevens This is not a spending program, it’s a loan program.

Feinstein My staff says we never agreed to this.

Stevens This policy forces earmarks. It’s bureaucratic arrogance. Having served eight years in another administration, I don’t appreciate this. It sounds like your 04 was sacrosanct as far the government is concerned. It’s a crazy system. The Greenhouse Gas Registry. The White House proposed no money for this program. Sen. Klobuchar asked me about it. Why didn’t you put any money in this program?

Johnson We have $3.5 million this year. We expect by September of this year we will have a proposed regulation for the registry. I believe states are developing registries.

Stevens Is there any direction Congress would give you with regards to spending money you would follow?

Feinstein You’re right. I put in the $3.5 million. They need it for two years.

Johnson We are working on a draft regulation. I intend to make sure we obey our mandate.

Stevens Do you remember in the old days we dealt with this by bureau reclamation? We eliminated the job of the person who refused to follow our direction.

11:48 Feinstein There is no way for us to restore those cuts. I don’t even know if we want to pass this budget. Why run for the Senate? Why act as an appropriator? Why put our names on a budget that we know is going to fail to accomplish our purpose?

Stevens We’re better off on the 2008 budget. Did you ever think about that?

Johnson We believe this budget is a good budget. It balances the needs for moving forward at the same time we have to be good stewards of taxpayer money.

Stevens You should bring back the message that in all likelihood we’ll send the President a continuing resolution for 2009.

Feinstein The cuts go on and on and on. For the first time he said in so many words we’re not going to recognize any Congressional add. You’re saying the president conditions all funding. We don’t even need an Appropriations Committee!

11:51 Stevens He ought to read the Constitution. Arrogance. Pure arrogance.

Feinstein There is no jointness. We are to be a rubber stamp for the President’s request.

Stevens I don’t think the President even knows some of these items.

Feinstein Let me sum up by saying this is a very unhappy budget. The hearing is adjourned.

FY 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Geological Survey Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 28 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

Witnesses
  • Dale Hall, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Mark D. Myers, Director, U.S. Geological Survey
Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) I know that you all have talked some about the alarming loss of common birds in our country. Alarming it is. I almost can’t believe it. The numbers that I’ve seen are absolutely atrocious. And one thing that I’d like to explore with you real quick, the Audubon Society has stated that the cause of the dramatic decline of birds is the outright loss of habitat due to poor land use, the clear-cutting of forests, the draining of wetlands and sprawl. Now, in light of such a stinging indictment as that, how does the administration justify a 70 percent cut in land acquisition?

Hall I don’t know.

Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) That’s a good answer.

Chandler That’s one of the best answers I’ve heard in a while, because I think that’s accurate. I appreciate that.

E&E News:

Interior will decide 71 listing proposals this year, FWS says

Allison Winter, Greenwire reporter

The Interior Department will decide this year on proposed endangered species listings for 71 species, a nearly tenfold increase in the number of species listed in the Bush administration’s first seven years.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall told a House panel yesterday that the administration would chip away at a backlog of hundreds of species awaiting protection. The service will decide on listings for 71 species this year and 21 more in 2009.

There are more than 280 species on the candidate list, whose listing is “warranted but precluded” because of lack of funding or other higher priorities, federal scientists say. And there are hundreds of additional plants and animals on whose behalf environmentalists have filed petitions.

Among species the agency plans to consider this year: the sand dunes lizard, three kinds of mussels, two snails, insects and dozens of plants.

The effort marks a turnaround for the administration that has hesitated to list any new plants or animals. President Bush’s Interior Department has listed only eight species – compared with 62 by the Clinton administration and 56 under President George H.W. Bush. All eight listings came in response to lawsuits.

If the agency decides to protect any of the 92 species on its list for determinations, the long timeline for such considerations would likely move final decisions to the next administration.

“It took us a little bit, but we hope this will help us to get on track,” Hall said. “We slipped out of the mode.”

Environmentalists have criticized the administration for its hesitance in listing species and said that while this announcement is welcome, there would still be a backlog of hundreds of species.

“I think it certainly indicates a little movement, but this is long overdue movement,” said Bill Snape of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has petitioned and sued for the protection of hundreds of plants and animals under ESA.

“I guess that’s a decent baby step, but the listing program has so many problems associated with it, it is really hard to be overjoyed at this point,” Snape added. In wake of scandals

The service is acting after the Interior inspector general found that the department’s deputy assistant secretary had edited scientific decisions on endangered species. The agency is revising seven rulings that former Deputy Secretary Julie MacDonald was involved in, and Hall said the service has a new policy to keep scientific decisions from reaching political levels.

“The department has allowed me to separate and have the science stop with the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service,” Hall said yesterday. “It should not be creeping up to non-scientists.”

The service director is a political appointee required by law to have a background in biological sciences. MacDonald had a degree in civil engineering and no formal education in natural sciences.

‘Weeks’ until polar bear decision

The administration’s most high-profile listing decision, the polar bear, should be made “within weeks,” Hall said. He said the service has completed its work and the Interior Department is reviewing the decision.

“It needs to be reviewed and explained to Interior, it can take a while to understand,” Hall told reporters.

If listed, the polar bear would be the first mammal protected under ESA because of global warming. Hall said the agency has been “trying to make the decision the best it can be,” but still expects legal challenges.

“We expect a lawsuit no matter what decision we make on almost anything,” Hall said.

FY 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 27 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) opening statement:
We are here today to review the Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Since this is the Bush Administration’s final budget proposal, let’s ask ourselves a simple question:

Is EPA better able today to protect people and communities from serious public health and environmental problems than it was when this Administration took the reins?

The answer is a resounding “No.”

The Bush Administration’s proposed budget for 2009 represents a 26% decline in overall EPA funding since the Administration’s first budget was enacted, when adjusted for inflation. Budgets are about priorities – this shows the low priority that the Bush Administration places on environmental protection.

Witness
  • Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

FY 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Feb 2008 18:30:00 GMT

Witness
  • Stephen L. Johnson, Director. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
From E&E News:
Pressed by House panel, EPA chief defends waiver decision (02/26/2008) Katherine Boyle, E&ENews PM reporter

U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson defended his rejection today of California’s waiver request that would have allowed state regulation of motor vehicles’ emissions of greenhouse gases in the wake of the release of agency documents showing that top EPA officials strongly disagreed with him.

Appearing before the House Interior and Environment Subcommittee, Johnson said climate change is not a unique California problem and the state’s petition for a Clean Air Act waiver did not meet the “compelling and extraordinary conditions” required by law.

“Every time another governor, another state representative talks about the need for their state to address global climate change, they’re actually making my very point on the California waiver,” he said.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released documents showing EPA staff members strongly supported granting the waiver.

A presentation prepared for the director of EPA’s Transportation and Air Quality, Margo Oge, urged Johnson to grant the waiver and suggested he would face great outside pressure to deny it.

“If you are asked to deny this waiver, I fear the credibility of the agency that we both love will be irreparably damaged,” the presentation says. “You have to find a way to get this done. If you cannot, you will face a pretty big personal decision about whether you are able to stay in the job under those circumstances.”

It is “obvious” there is “no legal or technical justification for denying” the waiver, says the presentation prepared by Chris Grundler, Oge’s deputy director at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Michigan.

Johnson said he only became aware of the presentation when Congress requested documents on the waiver decision.

“It was never presented to me,” he said.

Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) pressed him, asking if Oge ever raised the issues in the presentation.

But Johnson again denied seeing the presentation, although he didn’t say whether Oge raised those points.

“I received a lot of comments from my professional staff, and they presented me with a wide range of options,” Johnson said. “One of the options was denial. One of the options was to grant the waiver.”

Johnson said he will issue a final decision document on the waiver by the end of the week.

Department of Interior’s oil, gas and mineral revenue programs

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

At the hearing, Chairman Feinstein will call for passage of legislation she has sponsored to close a loophole that has allowed oil and gas companies to pay no royalty payments for drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf for leases negotiated in 1998 and 1999. This measure to close the loophole was stripped from the FY2008 Interior Appropriations bill.

Under this provision, the companies who have not renegotiated their existing contracts will have a choice.

  • They can keep their existing leases royalty-free if they so choose, but be barred from bidding on new contracts, or
  • They can agree to renegotiate these leases in good faith and be able to participate in the bidding for new leases.
Witnesses
  • C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management, Department of the Interior
  • Randall Luthi, Director, Minerals Management Service

Luthi Before Interior Appropriations Tomorrow

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Feb 2008 01:19:00 GMT

Randall Luthi, the controversial chief of the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service, will be testifying at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee tomorrow morning. His decision to hold the Chukchi Sea drilling lease sale two weeks ago, the first offshore sale in over a decade, while the Fish & Wildlife Service continues to delay its ruling on the endangerment of polar bears, has garnered protests from government scientists, environmental groups and Congressional Democrats.

Sen. Feinstein, the chair of the subcommittee, released the following statement:
At the hearing, Chairman Feinstein will call for passage of legislation she has sponsored to close a loophole that has allowed oil and gas companies to pay no royalty payments for drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf for leases negotiated in 1998 and 1999. This measure to close the loophole was stripped from the FY2008 Interior Appropriations bill.

Feinstein has been pushing for this legislation at least since 2006, since the loophole in 1998 and 1999 leases issued under the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995 was discussed in Congressional hearings.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Reviewing FY 2009 Budget Request and Key Tax Incentives

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 14 Feb 2008 19:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the House Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Caucus invite you to a briefing addressing the impacts of the President’s FY 2009 budget on energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs, including impacts upon states and low-income consumers. In addition, the urgent need to extend Federal tax incentives for EE/RE will be discussed. Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are critical elements of a national energy policy that will meet the nation’s goals of reducing energy imports, moderating energy prices, and improving the economy, national security, the environment and public health.

Panel
  • Deborah Estes, Majority Counsel, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group; Chair, Sustainable Energy Coalition Steering Committee
  • Bill Prindle, Deputy Director, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
  • Jeff Genzer, General Counsel, National Association of State Energy Officials; Duncan Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke

The President’s FY 2009 budget request for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) EE/RE programs is $1.26 billion—essentially flat with the Administration’s FY 2008 budget request and 27 percent below FY 2008 appropriations. Given the volume of voices and concerns about energy security, the huge bills residential and business consumers face, loss of economic competitiveness, environmental degradation, and rising greenhouse gas emissions, the funding priorities reflected in the President’s FY 09 budget appear in conflict with his goals of expanding renewable energy development and making the economy more energy efficient. With dramatically rising energy prices for homes, businesses and drivers, states are concerned by the proposed zeroing out of the Weatherization Assistance Program Grants.

In signing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA, P.L. 110-140) on December 19, 2007, President Bush said EISA makes “a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.” However, not included in EISA were a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) and an extension of renewable energy and energy efficiency tax incentives. A new economic study by Navigant Consulting finds that over 116,000 US jobs and nearly $19 billion in U.S. investment could be lost in just one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed by Congress. See EESI’s FY 2009 DOE Budget Analysis regarding requested funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

This briefing is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, contact Fred Beck at fbeck@eesi.org or 202-662-1892.

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