House Energy Bill On Tap

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 11 Sep 2008 11:16:00 GMT

According to E&E News, Democratic leadership plans to unveil an “all of the above” energy package today or tomorrow which likely has the following components:
  • Expansion of OCS leasing to include areas off the coasts of the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, and possibly the eastern Gulf of Mexico as well. A bipartisan Senate plan known informally as the “Gang of 10” proposal would allow drilling in these regions no closer than 50 miles from shore. But House lawmakers and aides did not say how close to shore their plan would allow drilling.
  • New revenues from oil companies. A Democratic leadership aide said the bill may include provisions to ensure payment of royalties from late-1990s deepwater Gulf of Mexico leases that currently allow royalty waivers regardless of energy prices. The absence of price-based limits on these royalty waivers could cost the Treasury as much as $14.7 billion over 25 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. The bill may also include the repeal of the Section 199 tax deduction for major oil companies. This plan, past versions of which have also frozen the deduction at 6 percent for non-majors, raises roughly $13.6 billion over a decade, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in June.
  • A so-called renewable electricity standard that requires utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from sources like wind and geothermal power. The House Democrats plan to include a standard of 15 percent by 2020, an aide said, akin to a measure the House approved last year that did not survive negotiations with the Senate. The plan allows roughly a fourth of the standard to be met with efficiency measures.
  • Extension of renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits.
E&E also reports that Pelosi indicated “the energy bill might include support for automakers’ retooling to make more efficient vehicles.”
This could also be part of an economic stimulus package being prepared or the continuing resolution to extend government spending beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, she said.

Bush Exploits Hurricane Gustav To Demand More Offshore Drilling

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 02 Sep 2008 21:48:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

President Bush exploited this morning’s press briefing on the “follow-up efforts” to Hurricane Gustav to attack Congress about lifting the offshore drilling moratorium. Stating that “what happens after the storm passes is as important as what happens prior to the storm arriving,” he made the declaration that “our discussion here today is about energy.” Bush wasn’t referring to the 1.4 million Louisianans who have lost power due to the storm’s destructive force, and chose not to mention the 102 deaths caused by Gustav. Instead, he went on the attack:
I know that Congress has been on recess for a while, but this issue hasn’t gone away. And, uh, this storm should not cause members of Congress say well, we don’t need to address our energy independence. It ought to cause the Congress to step up their need to address our dependence on foreign oil. And one place to do so is to give us a chance to explore in environmentally friendly ways on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Watch it:

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were both floored by Bush’s decision “to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore drilling at this point,” after he “performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina.”

Bush’s tasteless politicization of an ongoing civil emergency repeated tired right-wing talking points. As Van Jones told the Wonk Room last week, Bush is selling false solutions and more pollution:
Let’s be very clear. Number one: There’s no such thing as American oil any more. These are multinational corporations. If you let multinational corporations drill all this oil, they’re going to sell it to the highest bidder, whether it’s China, or India, it doesn’t matter. Why would we throw away America’s beauty chasing the lost drops of oil, so multinational corporations can sell it to India and China?

And people also got to remember, we didn’t stop this as an environmental issue. We didn’t stop offshore drilling for the duckies and the fishies. We stopped it because coastline communities were suffering. Because the property owners, the children who live in those coastline communities – not when there were oil spills – but every day, when your child goes out to swim, he comes back covered in oil, you have to use gasoline to get the oil off your child. That was happening coast to coast

Transcript:

BRZEZINSKI: Okay, that was President Bush giving reporters an update on the situation to the hurricane. And nicely weaving in a little pitch for off-shore oil drilling!

SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say, Mika. Anybody, anybody that thought this would be the warm and fuzzy George Bush, who would have a tear in his eye and say, “You know, maybe we didn’t have everything right last time, but this time we are worried about the Americans who have,”—no, he turned it around, “Drill now.”

BRZEZINSKI: Drill, drill, drill.

SCARBOROUGH: Drill here, drill now.

BRZEZINSKI: But in all seriousness, at the top of the hour we’ll be hearing from the director of homeland security as well as governor Bobby Jindal.

...

SCARBOROUGH: I’ve got to agree with the mayor. For this president, that performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore drilling at this point…

BRZEZINSKI: (Laughing) It was like going from music to news to the top of the hour.

SCARBOROUGH: You know who was screaming the loudest?

BRZEZINSKI: Who?

SCARBOROUGH: The McCain campaign …

BRZEZINSKI: (Sighing) Ohhh…

SCARBOROUGH: ...while they were watching the president. “Just stop, just stop!” Not warm and fuzzy.

Energy and Climate Change Roundtable: Energy in a Carbon-Constrained Economy

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Aug 2008 14:00:00 GMT

Moderator: Ray Suarez

Introduction: Three Carbon Sources
  • Robert A. Hefner III
  • Dick Kelly
  • Steven Leer
  • Andrew Liveris
  • Fred Palmer
Topic Expansion: Addressing the Economic Constraints
  • William S. Becker
  • Carol Browner
  • Jerome Ringo
  • Tim Wirth
Topic Expansion : Challenges and Opportunities
  • D. James Baker
  • Rep. Richard Gephardt
  • Kevin Knobloch
  • David Lester
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill
  • Michael Northrop
  • Randy Udall

Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver, CO

LiHEAP Funding Increase Filibustered

Posted by Wonk Room Mon, 28 Jul 2008 01:17:00 GMT

On Saturday, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer Act (S. 3186), a bill which would have provided an additional $2.5 billion in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), nearly double its current funding.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a cosponsor of the bill, issued this statement:
“At a time when oil companies are raking in record profits, the stubbornness of those who stood in the way of helping people in desperate need is incomprehensible to me. It is an outrage. The American people do not want to see the most vulnerable among us held hostage by the Senate Republican leaders.”

The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association has projected that nationwide, the average cost of heating a home this winter will total about $1,114 – 14.6 percent more than last year.

Republican senators Coleman (Minn.), Collins (Maine), Smith (Ore.), and Snowe (Maine) voted with the 45 Democrats and Independents in attendance in favor of the bill. Coleman, Collins, and Smith are up for reelection this year (and are from northern states).

Senators not voting: Allard (R-Col.), Bond (R-Mo.), Bunning (R-Ken.), Burr (R-N.C.), Dole (R-N.C.), Graham (R-S.C.), Harkin (D-Iowa), Inhofe (R-Okla.), Inouye (D-Haw.), Isakson (R-Ga.), Kennedy (D-Mass.), McCain (R-Ariz.), Murray (D-Wash.), Obama (D-Ill.), and Warner (R-Va.).

How Solar Energy Can Help Meet America's Growing Energy Needs

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 11 Jul 2008 14:00:00 GMT

The Optical Society (OSA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invite you to a briefing to learn how solar energy can play a far greater role in meeting energy needs here in the United States and abroad. Solar power is produced through two main technologies: photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, and concentrating solar power (CSP), a utility-scale technology that can be combined with thermal storage to provide electricity even when the sun is not shining.

The United States has the potential to greatly expand the use of this clean and abundant source of energy, while also creating jobs and strengthening energy security. Demonstrating this potential is Germany, whose policies have allowed it to become the world leader in solar energy production in spite of relatively low solar resources (comparable to Alaska’s).

The following experts will discuss current and future technologies, U.S. investments in solar R&D by industry and government, and specific policies that can spur future development and promote the widespread use of solar energy:

  • Doug Hall, Technology Director, Glass for Photovoltaic Program, Corning Inc.
  • Chuck Kutscher, Principal Engineer and Manager, Buildings & Thermal Systems Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Scott Clavenna, President & CEO, Greentech Media, Inc.
  • Fred Sissine, Specialist in Energy Policy, Congressional Research Service
  • Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Carol Werner, EESI and Alex Fong, Optronic Laboratories, Inc., Moderators

This briefing is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Angela Stark at astark@osa.org or 202.416.1443.

OSA is a scientific professional society uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, including Nobel Laureates, members of the National Academies of Science and Engineering, and other scientists, engineers, educators, and manufacturers engaged in the science of light, including solar manufacturing and R&D.

National Conference Call with Sen. Jim DeMint on Cap and Trade, Energy Issues

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 09 Jul 2008 23:10:00 GMT

On Wednesday evening, July 9, Americans for Prosperity will host a national Tele Town Hall meeting with U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina—one of the top free-market leaders in America.

As everybody knows, gas prices are out of control, yet some in Congress continue to push legislation like a $1.2 trillion global warming carbon tax hike that will only make matters worse. At the same time, Congress is blocking legislation that would allow us to increase energy production and supplies here at home.

During Wednesday’s Telephone Town Hall meeting, Senator DeMint and AFP President Tim Phillips will discuss with participants how Al Gore and his environmental extremist policies are driving up the price of gasoline, increasing home energy costs, and killing jobs.

They’ll be discussing what is at stake, and what we can all do to help Senator DeMint fight the good fight in Washington. Callers will also have the opportunity to ask Senator DeMint a question.

The Telephone Town Hall meeting begin on Wednesday beginning at 7:10 p.m. Eastern time. That’s 6:10 in the Central time zone, 5:10 Mountain time and 4:10 p.m. on the West Coast.

To join, you can simply dial in at 7:10 p.m. Eastern time by calling toll-free to 1-877-229-8493 and entering the PIN code 13896.

Resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 3044, the Consumer-First Energy bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 10 Jun 2008 14:00:00 GMT

The Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 3044, a bill to provide energy price relief and hold oil companies and other entities accountable for their actions with regard to high energy prices, and for other purposes; provided, that there be one hour for debate prior to the cloture vote, equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees, with the final 20 minutes equally divided between the two Leaders or their designees, with the Majority Leader controlling the final 10 minutes prior to the cloture vote on the motion to proceed.

In addition, cloture has been filed on H.R. 6049, an act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes.

Retail Gas Prices, Part 2: Competition in the Oil Industry

Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 22 May 2008 15:00:00 GMT

Witness
  • Abdalla Salem El-Badri, secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
E&E News:
Tensions are expected to be high Thursday, with Abdalla Salem El-Badri, secretary general of OPEC, invited to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

The secretary general’s appearance will likely come after the House approves “NOPEC” legislation, a largely symbolic effort to sue OPEC nations for price fixing.

Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and other members will likely question El-Badri over OPEC’s considerable role in the global oil market as well as President Bush’s recent meeting with Saudi leaders to urge them to release additional oil onto the global market.

Several energy analysts, however, say U.S. lawmakers hold little sway with OPEC officials and that calls for OPEC members to increase production is hypocritical given the opposition to increases in domestic drilling.

“We’re not willing to produce more so we are a bad example in terms of resource nationalism,” Lucian Pugliaresi, president of Energy Policy Research Information, told a House panel this month.

Beutel made a similar observation Friday. “We don’t really have the moral high ground when it comes to calling for increased production,” he said.

Rising Oil Prices, Declining National Security?

Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 22 May 2008 14:00:00 GMT

Witnesses
  • David Sandalow, Esq., Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Anne Korin, Co-director, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security
  • Mr. Paul J. Saunders, Executive Director, The Nixon Center

Oversight of the Bush Administration’s Energy Policy

Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 22 May 2008 13:30:00 GMT

As oil and gas hit new records above $128 a barrel and $3.78 this week, many analysts are predicting even further increases in the price of gasoline as we edge towards the travel months of summer. To explore the Bush administration’s contributions to this energy crisis and the administration’s refusal to respond, Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming announced today that Secretary of Energy Stephen Bodman will testify before the Committee on Thursday, May 22, as Americans prepare for the Memorial Day weekend, the beginning of the summer driving season.

Chairman Markey will also seek answers from Secretary Bodman on why the Bush administration continues to defend $18 billion in tax breaks to the top five most profitable oil companies that House Democrats want to redirect to fund renewable energy that could help consumers.

Witness
  • Samuel Bodman, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy

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