By Emily Holden (@emilyhholden)
Today’s Washington Brief:
- Republicans governors from Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota and Wyoming say the EPA's carbon emissions rule is a dangerous overreach and litigation is on the table, Houston Chronicle's Collin Eaton reports.
- Politico Pro's Kenneth P. Vogel and Darren Goode have more on the Koch brothers' new super PAC, which is expected to spend $13 million on energy-related issues ahead of the midterms. In comparison, Vogel and Goode found Koch operations in 2012 donated $1.5 million to the American Energy Alliance for similar work.
- In global news, turmoil in Iraq is feeding calls in Washington for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and exports of crude oil, Houston Chronicle's Jennifer A. Dlouhy reports. And the Russia-Ukraine natural gas fight is amplifying talks about LNG exports, Washington Examiner's Zack Colman reports.
Today’s Business Brief:
Today's Chart Review:
EPA Was Fourth Most Lobbied Agency in 2013
from PBS NewsHour
Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern):
Tuesday: International Energy Agency webinar on medium-term oil market report @ 5 am
Tuesday: Energy Department meeting with update on Quadrennial Energy Review at NRECA @ 8 am
Tuesday: Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition forum on vehicle fuel from waste @ 8:30 am
Tuesday: Oil and gas cyber security summit in Houston @ 8:45 am
Tuesday: International Association for Energy Economics conference in New York @ 9 am
Tuesday: Senate Agriculture hearing on bio-based manufacturing jobs @ 10 am
Tuesday: House Oversight hearing on Chemical Safety Board @ 10 am
Tuesday: Senate Appropriations energy and water markup @ 10 am
Tuesday: American Public Power Association expo in Denver @ 10 am
Tuesday: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and Platts webcast and Q&A on oil and gas @ 11 am
Tuesday: Environmental Law Institute seminar on greenhouse gas leadership @ Noon
Tuesday: Government Services Administration Green Building Advisory Committee meeting @ 2 pm
Wednesday: Platts Transmission Planning and Development Conference @ 8:30 am
Wednesday: International Association for Energy Economics conference in New York @ 9 am
Wednesday: Senate Environment hearing on climate change with past GOP EPA administrators @ 10 am
Wednesday: House Appropriations energy and water markup @ 10 am
Wednesday: American Public Power Association expo in Denver @ 10 am
Wednesday: EPA's Holmstead and DOE's Tierney talk on EPA power sector proposal at BPC @ 10 am
Wednesday: Environmental and Energy Study Institute talk on grid-strengthening technologies @ 10 am
Wednesday: Bipartisan Policy Center talk on EPA power sector proposal @ 10 am
Wednesday: Senate Environment hearing on climate change @ 10 am
Wednesday: Senate Energy markup on Keystone XL, FERC nominees @ 10:30 am
Wednesday: ACORE teleconference on renewable energy investment @ Noon
Wednesday: House Natural Resources hearing on energy jobs @ 2 pm
Thursday: Platts Transmission Planning and Development Conference @ 7:30 am
Thursday: Senate Armed Services hearing on defense energy nominees @ 9:30 am
Thursday: House Energy hearing on EPA's power plant rules @ 9:30 am
Thursday: House Agriculture hearing on Clean Water Act agricultural exemptions @ 10 am
Thursday: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions webinar on water and energy @ 2 pm
Thursday: Senate Energy hearing on natural gas exports, consumption and transportation fuel @ 2:30 pm
Friday: House Natural Resources hearing on permitting/rights-of-ways for energy infrastructure @ 9:30 am
17-21: Natural Gas
OPINIONS, EDITORIALS, PERSPECTIVES
24: Los Angeles Times
25: New York Times
RESEARCH REPORTS, ISSUE BRIEFS, CASE STUDIES
28: Energy Research and Social Science
29: Geothermal Energy Association
1) The Reality Behind Obama’s Power Plant Pollution Limits
from Houston Chronicle by Josh Lederman (AP)
President Barack Obama’s new pollution limits for power plants have set off an avalanche of information about what the rules will cost, how they will affect your health and how far they will go toward curbing climate change. There’s just one problem: Almost none of it is based in reality. That’s because Obama’s proposed rules, which aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 30 percent by 2030, rely on states developing their own customized plans to meet their targets. Among the options are switching to cleaner fuel sources, boosting efficiency to reduce demand for electricity and trading pollution permits through cap-and-trade. At the earliest, states won’t submit plans until mid-2016; some states could have until 2018. So the true impact won’t be known for years.
2) Fate of Obama Centerpiece Rule Might be in His Successor's Hands
from E&E by Jean Chemnick
Reining in U.S. power plants' greenhouse gas emissions may be one of President Obama's top priorities, but it'll be his successor who'll have to finish the job -- or try to undo it. The proposal for curbing carbon emissions from existing power plants that U.S. EPA rolled out on June 2 set in motion events that won't be wrapped up by the time a new president is sworn in January 2017.
3) Republican Governor: Legal Action Likely Against EPA’s ‘Dangerous Overreach’
from Houston Chronicle by Collin Eaton
Litigation is “on the table” in the Republican fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly proposed rules to dramatically cut states’ carbon emissions by 2030, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday. “There’s a very good chance of litigation not only initiated by the states, but the industry is another,” Jindal said at a press briefing at the Petroleum Club in downtown Houston. “This is such a dangerous overreach in terms of the potential threat to our economy and our ability to restore those manufacturing jobs, I absolutely do think litigation needs to be on the table.” Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were flanked by the governors of North Dakota and Wyoming in a brief press conference aimed at blasting the EPA’s proposed rule to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next 15 years.
4) Enviros Assert GOP Senate Takeover Wouldn't Yield Changes in Climate Policies, Voter Attitudes
from E&E by Jennifer Yachnin
Republicans may be bullish on their prospect of winning a Senate majority in November -- and even exceeding the six-seat pickup they need to claim control -- but environmental activists assert a potential wave of climate science skeptics won't dramatically change the dynamic on Capitol Hill. In a memo published last week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee boasted it could pick off as many as 15 Democratic seats this cycle.
5) Kochs Launch New Super PAC for Midterm Fight
from Politico Pro by Kenneth P. Vogel and Darren Goode
During a closed-door gathering of major donors in Southern California on Monday, the political operation spearheaded by the Koch brothers unveiled a significant new weapon in its rapidly expanding arsenal — a super PAC called Freedom Partners Action Fund. The new group aims to spend more than $15 million in the 2014 midterm campaigns — part of a much larger spending effort expected to total $290 million, sources told POLITICO....During breakout sessions Sunday at the St. Regis, Freedom Partners research director Karen Steward joined veteran Koch aide Nancy Pfotenhauer, now a senior adviser to the group, to talk about its expanded spending on energy-related issues, which is expected to include more than $13 million in spending ahead of the midterms.
6) IEA Sees Spread of Shale Revolution Before End of Decade
from Wall Street Journal by Sarah Kent
The shale boom that has transformed the oil industry in the U.S. will spread beyond North America before the end of the decade, sooner than previously expected, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday, while at the same time warning of significant aboveground risks to conventional supply over the next five years.
The use of techniques such as "fracking" to unlock previously inaccessible oil reserves in the U.S. have transformed the country's oil industry, putting it on track to become the world's largest oil producer by 2020, according to the IEA. However, a mixture of legal, political and investment constraints have meant shale production has been slow to spread to other countries.
7) Cyber Technology Gap Divides Financial and Energy Sectors
from E&E by Peter Behr
The electric power industry has a related threat-sharing organization, the Electricity Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ES-ISAC), set up under the same presidential directive. However, ES-ISAC currently does not match the analysis capabilities and future potential of the Financial Sector ISAC, energy sector and government officials agree. "The rigor, maturity and complexity of what is being done in the electricity sector are significantly less than in the financial sector," said one ISAC participant not authorized to speak on the record about the programs.
8) Political Spotlight Returns to Energy Panel This Week with Votes on FERC Nominees, KXL Pipeline
from E&E by Hannah Northey
The arcane but powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will once again spark political conflagration this week as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee casts its vote on Norman Bay, President Obama's second contentious pick in recent months to lead the agency. The Senate committee Wednesday is scheduled to vote on Bay and the renomination of Cheryl LaFleur, the agency's acting chairwoman whose term expires this month, as well as a bill fast-tracking the stalled Keystone XL pipeline. The confirmation vote arrives amid ongoing negotiations that have pitted Republicans and pro-energy Democrats hoping to keep LaFleur at the agency's helm against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is staunchly backing Bay, a former prosecutor from New Mexico who now leads FERC's Office of Enforcement.
9) 'Win-Win' Deal Reportedly Struck on Leases in Hotly Contested Colo. Plateau
from E&E by Phil Taylor
A decadelong battle over whether to drill for gas atop a wildlife-rich plateau in western Colorado could be nearing a resolution, with environmentalists, industry, Colorado's governor and the congressional delegation reportedly backing a proposed settlement. While far from final, the proposal is aimed at resolving one of the longest-running public-lands feuds in the Centennial State. At issue is the Roan Plateau, an area blessed by an abundance of natural gas as well as major herds of mule deer and elk and genetically pure Colorado River cutthroat trout.
10) Cable TV Boxes Become 2nd Biggest Energy Users in Many Homes
from Los Angeles Times by Ralph Vartabedian
In the middle of the night, when most Americans are sound asleep, their lights and appliances off, a power hog is wide awake and running at nearly full throttle: the boxes that operate their cable or satellite television service. The seemingly innocuous appliances — all 224 million of them across the nation — together consume as much electricity as produced by four giant nuclear reactors, running around the clock. They have become the biggest single energy user in many homes, apart from air conditioning.
11) U.S. Stock-Index Futures Little Changed Before Data, Fed Meeting
12) US Oil Exports Soar to New Milestone
from Houston Chronicle by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
U.S. oil exports hit a 15 year high in April, despite broad limitations on foreign sales, according to a report released Monday by the federal Energy Information Administration. The nation sent an average of 268,000 barrels of oil overseas every day in April, an 8.9 percent jump from March. Most of the exported crude came from the Gulf Coast, and much of it landed in Canada. Although a 39-year-old law largely forbids crude exports, there are exceptions for some California crude, Alaska oil and shipments to Canada. Gasoline and other refined products also can be freely sold overseas.
13) Pump Price Climbs as Oil Surges on Violence in Iraq
14) Building Up To Another Oil Shock?
from Wall Street Journal by Alen Mattich
Will Iraq derail the global economic recovery? The latest iteration of the country’s seemingly endless conflict has already started to squeeze oil prices higher. The question now facing investors is how much of an oil shock would it take to stall what looks to be a widespread–if still very subdued–recovery from the financial crisis of 2008.
15) Iraq Turmoil Feeds Calls for Keystone XL and Crude Exports
from Houston Chronicle by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
Unrest in Iraq helps make the case that U.S. regulators should authorize crude exports and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the head of the oil industry’s leading trade group said Monday. The prospect of a civil war in Iraq and the risks of declining production or a shutdown of crude flowing from the country, the second-biggest OPEC producer, are spiking international oil prices. But U.S. oil can play a role pushing those world prices downward, stressed Jack Gerard, head of the American Petroleum Institute.
16) Russian $8.2 Trillion Oil Trove Locked Without U.S. Tech: Energy
from Bloomberg by David Wethe
Even as the decision to stop gas supplies to Ukraine aggravates tensions with the U.S. and Europe, Russia faces a dilemma: it still needs Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM),Halliburton Co. (HAL) and BP Plc to maintain output from Soviet-era oil fields and develop Arctic and shale reserves. Russia will require Western companies to provide the modern drilling and production gear -- and techniques such as hydraulic fracturing -- that are essential to unlocking its $8.2 trillion worth of barrels still underground.
17) Russia-Ukraine Natural Gas Fight Comes to Capitol Hill
from Washington Examiner by Zack Colman
Russian energy giant Gazprom's decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine is expected to amplify talks about natural gas exports scheduled to begin this week on Capitol Hill. The move by the state-owned company comes as Congress' natural gas export discussions, which had recently cooled off following an initial frenzy when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March, are heating up in the House and the Senate. The upper chamber's Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing Thursday, while the House plans to vote on a bill to expedite exports next week, aides confirmed Monday to the Washington Examiner.
18) Europe’s Swollen Gas Reserves Guard Against Repeat of ’06 Crisis
from Bloomberg by Isis Almeida and Anna Shiryaevskaya
The European Union’s biggest gas inventories in three years are cushioning the region from Russian supply disruptions and helping avoid a repeat of previous crises when prices rose as much as fourfold. OAO Gazprom, Russia’s state-run gas company, cut supplies to Ukraine yesterday after a deadline for debt payment expired. The move echoed similar disputes that disrupted shipments to Europe during freezing weather in 2006 and 2009. Europe, dependent on Russian gas piped through Ukraine for about 15 percent of its needs, has tried since May 2 to broker a deal to maintain flows.
19) BP Makes $20 Billion Gas Deal With China
from Wall Street Journal by Alexander Kolyandr
The U.K.'s BP PLC will sign a $20 billion long-term contract to supply liquefied natural gas to southeast China, the company's chief executive said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters at the World Petroleum Congress, Bob Dudley said the 20-year deal will be signed with Chinese state-owned CNOOC in London in front of British Prime Minister David Cameron and Premier Li Keqiang during the Chinese leader's three-day visit to Britain this week.
20) Sen. Markey: Regulatory Oversight Jeopardizes Gas Export Approvals
from Houston Chronicle by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
A decades-old decision by the Commerce Department to abandon congressionally mandated restrictions on natural gas exports could jeopardize current plans to sell the fossil fuel overseas, Sen. Ed Markey charged Monday. Although Congress passed a law in 1975 directing the government to bar exports of U.S. oil and natural gas, the Commerce Department never got further than crude. And when Commerce formally delegated gas export issues to the then one-year-old Energy Department in 1978, it did so citing a much older 1938 law and the regulations born under it — without any mention of the newer 1975 mandate.
21) FERC Staff Gives Environmental Nod to Freeport LNG
from Natural Gas Intelligence by Joe Fisher
FERC staff issued the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Phase II Modification Project and the Liquefaction Project proposed by Freeport LNG and found the projects' impacts would not be significant provided the developer incorporate planned and suggested mitigation measures, Commission staff said.
22) Duke Concerned by Coal Ash Pit Closure Deadlines
from News Observer by Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss (AP)
Duke Energy is expressing concern about proposed legislation requiring the closure of all of its North Carolina coal ash dumps by 2029, a deadline the company says is about half the time it will need. The bill backed by Republican leaders in the state Senate was presented to a key committee Monday and could move to a floor vote later in the week. The measure would require Duke to remove its 100 million tons of coal ash now stored in 33 unlined pits across the state or seal it in place. Duke spokesman Jeff Brooks said complying with the 15-year deadline would place a significant burden on the $50 billion company.
23) EPA Delays Compliance with Renewable Fuel Standard
from The Hill by Tim Devaney
Petroleum companies will get a breather from latest round of renewable fuel standard, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once again delaying the deadline for compliance with the 2013 standards. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a program started under the Bush administration that requires that increasing amounts of renewable fuels that emit lower levels of greenhouse gases be mixed with gas and diesel fuels, eventually reaching 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022. But the EPA said Friday it is delaying last year's compliance deadline for a second time. The original deadline for was set for Feb. 28 for petroleum companies to show their gas and diesel fuels met the previous year's standards. But the agency pushed it back to June 30.
OPINIONS, EDITORIALS, PERSPECTIVES
24) How the Insurance Industry Sees Climate Change
from Los Angeles Times by Eugene Linden
Illinois Farmers has filed nine class-action suits against municipal entities in and around Chicago for losses the company sustained when the sanitation system backed up, spewing geysers of sewage into hundreds of homes, after extreme storms in April 2013. The suit explicitly says that officials in various governments were aware that climate change would bring more extreme weather and yet failed to take steps (such as draining parts of the system) that would have prevented the losses. Regardless of the outcome — courts give governments wide latitude in immunity from lawsuits — it puts an end to the charade that global warming is some scientifically uncertain threat far off in the future.
25) The Koch Cycle of Endless Cash
from New York Times by Editorial Board
It’s not enough, apparently, that some of the wealthiest Americans spend millions to elect their candidates to Congress. Now they are using their fortunes to lobby Congress against any limits on their ability to buy elections. Koch Companies Public Sector, part of the industrial group owned by a well-known pair of conservative brothers, has hired a big-name firm to lobby Congress on campaign-finance issues, according to a registration form filed a few weeks ago. The form doesn’t say what those issues are, but there are several bills in the House that would reduce the role of anonymous big money in campaigns, and restrict the kinds of super PACs and nonprofit groups that the Koch brothers and others have inflated with cash.
26) For Oil Prices, Uncertainty Is As Big A Threat As ISIS
from Forbes by Michael Lynch
For us old-timers (get off my lawn!), the current Iraqi situation generates an bit of frisson. There have been numerous serious disruptions of oil supplies, but only a few major price spikes (this one has become a plateau). Analysis of the change in supply provides some explanation for why prices soar and why they don’t. Will prices respond if and only if ISIS forces (or their allies) approach the oil fields? That is only part of the equation.
27) Louisiana Shrimp Season Threatened by US Ethanol Policy
from Times-Picayune by Larry McKinney
Louisiana's spring shrimp season is officially open, but what should be a time to celebrate the annual kickoff of a key driver of the coastal economy is now overshadowed by a looming threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem. The "dead zone" -- a Connecticut-sized area of low oxygen water that kills off marine life -- continues to grow in size due to U.S. ethanol policy and is threatening this year's harvest and the coastal economy.
RESEARCH REPORTS, ISSUE BRIEFS, CASE STUDIES
28) Hydraulic Fracturing and the Management, Disposal, and Reuse of Frac Flowback Waters: Views from the Public in the Marcellus Shale
from Energy Research and Social Science
Whereas two of every five respondents (40%) indicated having some level of familiarity with the process (scores 5 through 7 on the 7-point familiarity scale), roughly the same percentage (43%) reported being unfamiliar with this practice (scores 1 through 3 on the 7-point familiarity scale)...respondents reported newspapers, the natural gas industry, conservation/environmental groups, and landowner groups/coalitions contributed more to their knowledge about hydraulic fracturing than did regulatory agencies, Cooperative Extension, university professors, or the film Gasland. The pattern of responses differed slightly when it came to whether or not respondents trusted those same sources of information.
29) The Economic Costs and Benefits of Geothermal Power
from Geothermal Energy Association
An examination of recent studies published on the comparative costs of renewable technologies shows that geothermal power is an affordable renewable power resource. Its cost compares favorably with other technologies currently available according to three different analyses published in 2014.