Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Oil exports stoke Dem angst over omnibus

OIL IS THE STICKING POINT: The oil exports provision in Congress’ omnibus is shaping up to be Democrats’ biggest problem with the massive spending bill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she’s not sure if her conference can provide enough votes for a majority to pass the bill in Friday’s vote.

“No,” she said when asked Thursday if she’s confident Democrats would give the bill enough votes. “We’re talking it through.”

{mosads}Pelosi said the oil provision was “incredible,” but that she’s trying to reassure Democrats that it caused the party to be able to fight off many more harmful provisions, including those to block environmental rules. She also noted the bill includes renewable energy provisions Democrats have wanted.

“The fact that the Republicans wanted Big Oil so desperately really argues voting for the bill because they were willing to concede so much,” she said. “This was their raison d’être.”

The vote Friday will come down to whether Democrats think the extensions of the wind and solar power tax credits outweigh the environmental harm from oil exports.

“I feel that what we did in the bill more than 10 times offsets the damage that exporting crude oil does,” Pelosi said.

Read more here.

NOAA RESPONDS TO SUBPOENA: Federal officials have handed over a series of emails and documents related to climate science research in response to a subpoena from a House committee.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration gave about 100 documents to the House Science Committee this week, the agency said Thursday.

The information — which consists mostly of staff-level discussions officials said — is in response to a subpoena from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the House Science Committee chairman. Smith is investigating the agency’s climate science research, specifically a study that concluded there has not been a 15-year “pause” in global warming.  

Smith and other skeptics of the science behind climate change say NOAA’s research was overly political. He has looked to get information from the agency about what went into the study.

“The documents include discussions that show NOAA front office staff was aware that the study was particularly noteworthy and would likely be the focus of scrutiny and debate,” NOAA spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton said.  

“At the same time, there is nothing in these materials that would support the notion that substance or timing of the paper was politically motivated.”

In a statement of his own, Smith said he was “encouraged” by NOAA’s response to the subpoena.

“I am also glad to see that NOAA has committed to produce additional items as they are identified,” he said. “We will carefully review these documents and expect additional productions from NOAA.”

Read more here.

MOVER, SHAKER: Marvin Fertel will retire at the end of next year as the president of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the group announced Thursday.

Fertel has been at NEI since it started in 1994, and has led the group since 2009.

In that time, Fertel has seen the domestic response to the Fukushima disaster in Japan and efforts on the state and local level to increase the profile of nuclear power, among other developments.

NEI’s executive committee is leading the effort to find a new executive for the group.

NEW BIPARTISAN OZONE BILL: House lawmakers this week introduced a bipartisan bill to weaken the current law on ozone pollution.

The legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider how foreign pollution affects domestic ozone levels before enforcing the new standard, increase the time period between reviews for a potential standard to eight years from the current five and authorize the EPA to take feasibility into account when it changes ozone rules.

“The EPA, when releasing new standards, must ensure that they are achievable, and do not cause significant harm to our economy,” Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.

Latta and Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas), who have both sponsored numerous bills in the past to crack down on ozone regulations, introduced the bill with centrist Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.) and Henry Cuellar (Texas).

ON TAP FRIDAY: The House and Senate will look to pass their final spending bill and tax package. The omnibus spending bill, which the House debated on Thursday, would lift the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports and extend tax credits for wind and solar energy. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Friday, while the Senate will take up both packages.  


A major power plant outside of Chicago will continue to burn coal despite protests from residents and greens, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Officials in the San Francisco Bay Area approved the first part of an effort to cut down on pollution from oil refineries, InsideBayArea reports.

Pennsylvania enforcement officials said a creek in the southwestern part of the state that showed high levels of radioactivity, possibly due to fracking, is safe and the previous testing was wrong, StateImpact reports.


Check out Thursday’s stories …

-Administration unveils ‘historic’ efficiency rules for air conditioners
-Pelosi unsure omnibus can pass
-Agency turns over subpoenaed climate documents
-GOP: EPA may have conducted more ‘covert propaganda’
-Park service under fire for bottled water ban
-Last month was hottest November on record
-Clinton ‘very skeptical’ of Atlantic offshore drilling

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@digital-stage.thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@digital-stage.thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill  

Tags crude oil crude oil exports Nancy Pelosi oil

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