Jeremy Dillon

Plan to Boost Coal and Nuclear Could Cost Consumers
Should consumers pay more so coal and nuclear plants can survive?

For years, federal regulation of the electric grid has focused on keeping prices low and competition stiff. But that could change with a recent proposal from the Trump administration to put more emphasis on what it calls resiliency.

According to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the electric grid is more resilient — able to bounce back from disasters of the natural and man-made variety — when it has plenty of so-called baseload power that can run 24/7, with or without sunshine or wind and regardless of supply snags.

Green Energy Industry Says Lower Tax Credit Reneges on Promise
House GOP bill includes provision that removes an inflation adjustment

Renewable energy advocates are raising alarms that the House Republican tax plan released Thursday would sharply reduce a tax credit that has driven the rapid deployment of wind and solar power over the past two years.

The tax bill includes a provision that would remove an inflation adjustment from the renewable energy production tax credit, likely dropping it from 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for tax year 2016 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Canada Sees ANWR Drilling Threat to Border-Crossing Caribou
But Murkowski says oil development impact on wildlife has been limited

The Canadian government cares about its people — and its caribou. And to protect the latter, the government has come out against the U.S. proposal to open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, citing the feared impact on a caribou herd that migrates across the shared border.

Canada’s opposition, expressed by its embassy in an email to Roll Call, puts the United States’ neighbor on the side of Democrats and environmental groups, both of whom are looking to scuttle Republican attempts to open the refuge using budget reconciliation — a procedural maneuver that enables legislation to pass with only a simple majority in the Senate.

Senate Energy Gears Up for Alaska Drilling Fight
Republicans aim to attach ANWR proposal to tax overhaul effort

As the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee prepares for a high-profile hearing Thursday on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, Republicans are preparing to argue that improvements in drilling technology over the past decade will minimize potential damage to the environment.

That assertion will rile committee Democrats, who plan to raise the specter of oil spills as well as an invasion of drilling infrastructure and manpower in an area described by environmentalists as one of the most pristine habitats on the planet.

GOP Hopes to Undercut Offshore Regulator, Say House Democrats
Republicans are taking aim at an agency created by President Obama after BP oil spill

Republican lawmakers are trying to undermine the federal regulatory agency responsible for overseeing the safety and environmental concerns of offshore oil and gas operations, said Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee at a Wednesday hearing.

The complaints stem from a provision in the committee Republicans’ recently released draft bill that would direct the Interior secretary to look for potential “inefficiencies or duplication between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement,” which both regulate aspects of offshore drilling.

Uncertain Costs for Renewed Nuclear Waste Push in Nevada
The controversial Yucca Mountain plan would spur a $260 million spending increase, but the math is muddled

A House bill to restart the process of making Nevada’s Yucca Mountain a permanent repository for nuclear waste would increase spending by $260 million over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday in a report that acknowledges some uncertain numbers.

The CBO’s score could be a hurdle for the Yucca bill by forcing its backers to offset the cost by cutting other federal spending under pay-as-you-go budget mandates. The bill moved out of the Energy and Commerce Committee with surprisingly bipartisan support considering how the issue had divided Capitol Hill while Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada was majority leader. Reid didn’t seek reelection in 2016.

Senate Energy Committee Eulogizes the Late Sen. Pete Domenici

Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., opened Tuesday’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing by extolling the contributions of former Sen. Pete Domenici, who died last week. Several other members on the committee followed suit and offered their remembrances of the late New Mexico Republican....
Five Top Energy and Environment Priorities as Congress Returns
Energy bill, drinking water, Yucca, nominations and WOTUS

With lawmakers returning to kick off the fall working session, energy and environment policies won’t be high on their to-do list, but their champions aim to fill any floor schedule gaps with measures that could provide some legislative accomplishments.

Here are five priorities they will push this fall:

Fred Upton Might Join Bipartisan Climate Caucus

A House caucus that supports legislation to combat climate change may be joined by key Republican energy influencer who would raise its credibility among GOP lawmakers.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the former Energy and Commerce chairman who leads the committee's energy panel, is considering joining the bipartisan 48-member Climate Solutions Caucus, a group equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

House Passes Delay for EPA's Obama-era Ozone Standards

The House on Tuesday passed, 229-199, a bill to delay the compliance date for Obama-era ground level ozone standards.

The measure (HR 806) now heads to the Senate, where its fortunes do not appear as clear after Senate Democrats expressed strong opposition to similar language appearing in legislation before the Environment and Public Works Committee.

House Takes Up Bill to Delay Ozone Rule Compliance

House Republicans plan to vote this week on a measure that would delay the compliance date for an Obama-era ground level ozone standard that they say would put an undue economic burden on industry.

The bill (HR 806) would also give legal cover to the Environmental Protection Agency as its administrator, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, looks to replace the current standards with levels more flexible for states and their economic development plans.

Trump Stances Could Affect Cross-Border Energy Trade

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April to impose a tariff on Canadian softwood lumber, the administration and its supporters heralded the move as an equalizing measure meant to bolster domestic timber production.

For Trump, the tariff was the latest move meant to build on his “America First” campaign platform. The action his administration took amounted to a tariff in the form of an import tax totaling around 20 percent for softwood lumber imports from Canada. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross estimated the measure could result in $1 billion a year from Canadian lumber imports, which make up about one-third of the U.S. lumber market.

'Clean Coal' Tax Credit Gets a New Bipartisan Push in Senate

As investors give up on a Mississippi carbon-capture coal plant and the Trump administration continues to push for “beautiful clean coal,” a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to expand a tax credit in hopes of spurring investment in the costly technology.

The measure, with co-sponsors ranging from climate hawk Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., to coal-state stalwart Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., would extend and enhance a tax credit, known as Section 45Q, that rewards facilities that capture carbon emissions for either storage or enhanced oil recovery purposes.

DOE Must Improve Its Cyber Defenses, Say House Appropriators

The Department of Energy is the lead agency for combating cyber threats to the electric grid, but House appropriators are expressing concern that it is not doing enough to prevent hacking of its own operations, according to the House Appropriations’ full committee report on its fiscal 2018 Energy-Water spending bill.

The committee’s $37.6 billion draft bill would direct DOE, within 180 days of enactment, to create a cybersecurity implementation plan with the aim of strengthening DOE’s “cyber posture,” according to the report released Tuesday.

Congress Unnerved by Energy Grid Hack

For months, Sen. Maria Cantwell has been warning in letters to the Trump administration and colleagues that Congress needs to do more to keep the nation's energy supply safe from cyberattacks. Now it appears she has a widespread attack to bolster her admonitions.

Reports from Bloomberg and The New York Times last week indicated that Russian-backed hacking groups may be responsible for recent targeted cyberattacks to nuclear power plants and grid operation system manufacturers, threatening the electric grid and the economy it supports.

Efficiency Measure Falls Off House Energy-Bill Express
10 minor bills passed, mostly by voice vote

The House passed Monday a passel of energy infrastructure and efficiency bills that were marked up last week, although the chamber left out the only one with a small hint of controversy, a measure to encourage the development of energy-efficient federal office buildings.

In total, 10 bills were on the House docket under suspension of the rules, with most passing by voice vote. Two of the bills required roll call votes and were passed 400-1 and 402-1, respectively.

Nuclear Waste Deadlock Hurts Industry, Say Senate Appropriators
‘What I see is a big downward slope for the industry’

Leaders on the Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee agreed Wednesday that the fiscal 2018 spending bill needs to include a path forward on the nation’s nuclear waste stalemate — or risk accelerating the industry’s decline.

In a hearing to examine the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s fiscal 2018 budget request, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, California’s Dianne Feinstein, questioned the viability of the nuclear industry if a nuclear waste policy stasis takes hold of Congress.

Energy Bills Move Out of House Panel
Slate of 11 measures marks first movement for Energy and Commerce

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a slate of 11 bills centered on energy infrastructure and efficiency initiatives.

The bills were all advanced on voice votes and mark the first energy-related legislation to move out of the panel in the 115th Congress, although much of the legislation was packaged into last Congress’ broad energy policy bill.

Energy, Interior Nominees Caught in Budget Crossfire
Energy and Natural Resources hearing becomes forum on Trump budget cuts

Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee used a Thursday confirmation hearing for a deputy Energy secretary and two other regulators to question elements of the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

The confirmation hearing for Dan Brouillette to be Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s deputy included questions from senators seeking clarity from the nominee about his views of some of the more controversial proposals in the Trump budget, including the plan to draw down by half the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Trump Budget Would Allow ANWR Drilling, End Oil Revenue Sharing
Fault lines are clear on contentious energy policy proposals

BY JEREMY DILLON AND ELVINA NAWAGUNA

The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal pitches a variety of legislative changes to boost federal revenue from the oil and gas industry, including the sale of oil and gas drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ending a revenue sharing program with states that allow offshore drilling.