Friends,

Well, it sounds like the President was a big hit at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.  I, of course, missed this year because I was sitting in the rain at a lacrosse game (so unfair, but you do what you have to do to make sure you can go to the Caps game).  Anyway, President was solid with his jibes at Donald Trump, GSA, Mitt Romney, the secret service and Hillary Clinton texting.  Not to be outdone, host Jimmy Kimmel also blasted away on a bunch of folks, including the President, telling him “there’s a term for guys like President Obama. Probably not two terms.”  Kimmel also skewered Keith Olberman who didn’t take it so kindly.   Anyway, it seems a good time was had by all at one of DC biggest nights.  In fact, one of my colleagues celebrating a birthday dinner with his wife at Café Milano was showered with stars at a pre-dinner dinners, rubbing elbows with new Redskins Draft pick RG3, Reece Witherspoon, Mayor Bloomberg and Ivanka Trump, among others.

With Congress out this week (must be an election year), there is less action in DC, but that hasn’t slowed the firestorm around EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz, the former enviro advocate that has been under fire after controversial comments about “crucifying” the oil & gas industry.  Dr. Al, EPA and the Administration apparently have had enough and Armendariz just resigned.  More detail on this below. 

We are still hearing a lot about gas prices despite a slight price drop, which has consumers feeling a little better.  It must be all the hard work politicians and the President have done in the last three weeks to lower the price… (I hope I don’t need to mention that I’m kidding).  Also with Congress out, many of you may focus on the DC Court of Appeals which will hear arguments regarding NRC’s mishandling of the Yucca Mountain application on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., its second Yucca case in as many weeks.

Also, check out the new CNN iReport on drilling in Dimock.  Remember, EPA has released three sets of water samples already in Dimock, PA, most in late Friday afternoon releases, that say the water doesn’t possess a threat to human health and the environment, are consistent with literally thousands of pages of water quality data accumulated by state and local authorities and have no relationship to oil and gas development in the area. 

Finally, today the President is scheduled to speak to the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades during their 2012 National Legislative Conference.  Of course, the unions have taken him to task over the Keystone Pipeline decision so that might be a little uncomfortable.  Certainly, the President’s opponents at RNC and other places are already making hay over it, as evidenced by a HuffPost piece from RNC Chair Reince Priebus.  Not too often HuffPost and Union leaders side with RNC, especially in even-numbered years.

We’re talking energy politics, Dr. Al, hockey playoffs (Caps/Rangers looks to be a great epic battle) and the NFL draft (It seems that the Redskins are already ready for the Super Bowl now that RG3 is here). 

By the way, this weekend features a couple of cool items.  Saturday is Cinco de Mayo so you should get out and celebrate.  I’m heading to a great new Mexican Restaurant Poncho & Pepe’s that has taken over the old Jaspers in Crofton on Rt 3 just north of Rt 50 for you “east of DC” folks.  Secondly, NCAA lacrosse men’s and women’s brackets are chosen Sunday night in the run up to the finals over Memorial Day weekend.  And finally, if you’re into battlebots and you happen to be in Indianapolis, head over to the National Tooling and Machining Association’s 2012 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships, a robot combat competition that connects students with local manufacturers to build robots designed to do battle.  (there should be a TV show on that!)

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
C. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

EPA Regional Admin Under Fire, Resigns – Last week, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz under fire for remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe his approach to enforcement, resigned today at Noon.  Armendariz, often at odds with many folks in his region over recusals and other issues as well, was the EPA ‘s top environmental official in Texas and the parts of the Southwest.  Over the weekend, Armendariz sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson saying he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Armendariz was particularly under attack for his aggressive attack on Range Resources in which the EPA had to completely backtrack.  Of course enviro groups that love his work had already started online petition efforts to support Armendariz, but after but EPA’s top enforcement official and Administrator Jackson both rejected his view and offered only lukewarm support for Armendariz, the writing seemed to be on the wall for him in this contested  election year.   Senate Environment Ranking Member Jim Inhofe, who assailed Armendariz in a floor speech last week exposing the issue, said it was only right for Armendariz to resign today, but  he isn’t backing down just yet because “his resignation in no way solves the problem of President Obama and his EPA’s crucifixion philosophy.”  Inhofe: “Armendariz was just being honest: his choice of words revealed the truth about the war that EPA has been waging on American energy producers under President Obama.   Inhofe added he will continue his investigation into the situations surrounding EPA’s apparent crucifixion victims, saying “the American people deserve to know why, in at least three separate cases, EPA tarnished the reputation of companies by accusing them of water contamination; then when the results of their study did not turn out the way they hoped, and they had no definitive evidence to make that link, they quietly walked back their accusations.”

CNN iReports Video Highlights Positive Impacts on Drilling on Dimock – Speaking of Dimock, supporters of drilling miffed at recent opponent’s CNN iReport that they say mischaracterized the drilling impacts on water and the community have completed their own iReport that CNN has now posted.    The five-minute video talks about the water in the region and has its own “flaming moment” when an interviewee actually lights their creek on fire.  See the video here.  

IER Releases Energy Primer – The Institute for Energy Research has released a comprehensive energy primer that assesses the U.S. production and consumption levels of all major sources. Grounded in IER’s free market-based approach to global energy and environmental policy, “Hard Facts: An Energy Primer” lays out an in-depth explanation of domestically-produced fossil fuel and renewable energy sources.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Offshore Tech Conference Starts in Houston – The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) starts today in Houston at the Reliant Center running Thursday.  The event is the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.  The show offers cutting edge technology, presentations from experts across the industry

and over 2,500 companies offering impressive booth displays. The OTC technical sessions have grown to include new topics, such as standards for jackups and platforms, global LNG, offshore offloading solutions, drilling over 15,000 psi and deepwater cementing.  Also on the agenda are new developments in offshore wind energy and local power generation for offshore facilities. Steve Balint from Shell International is this year’s OTC Chair.

Rendell to Sustainable Cities Workshop – The Environmental Law Institute, World Business Council on Sustainable Development and World Environment Center will hold a workshop today at the Pew Charitable Trusts D.C. Conference Center to look at driving innovation to build sustainable cities.  Many experts envision that cities of the future will utilize more sustainable water, waste, energy, and transportation infrastructures. But, what will drive the innovation needed to create these cities? And, what role will government, industry, and NGOs play in bringing about this innovation?  Focusing on case studies related to sustainable transportation and energy efficiency, the workshop will bring together representatives from corporations, NGOs, and federal, state and local governments to discuss the various technologies and products that corporations have created for more sustainable cities. Participants will also discuss what has driven and will be needed to drive innovation and the expansion of these technologies and products across the country and globe.  Speaker will include former PA Governor Ed Rendell and many others. 

Sustainable Energy Conference Set for Boston – The 3rd Annual Sustainable Energy Conference will be held in Boston today at The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  SEC is designed to advance the knowledge, perspective and networks of all sector leaders and others working to create a sustainable economy, improve economic recovery and growth, reduce operation costs, drive job creation, build sustainable communities and expand the green economy in Massachusetts. This is achieved with interactive panels, roundtable discussions and single-leader sessions on diverse and relevant topics with distinguished Conversation Leaders.  Keynote speaker will be EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding.

Sunstein to Visit NYU Law School for Meeting – The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law will hold a conversation with Cass Sunstein today at 5:00 p.m.  Sunstein is the Administrator of OMB’s OIRA office, where he oversees the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda.  The NYU event will be one of only a few public speaking engagements this spring.

USEA to Host German EE Innovators – The US Energy Assn will host several energy efficiency technology innovators from the German cites of Bottrop and Lingen, Germany for a discussion on implementing efficient technologies for the benefit of municipalities tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. at USEA.  Winner of the InnovationCity Ruhr project, Bottrop has developed a credible plan to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020 while maintaining the city’s quality of life and enhancing its economic competitiveness. Technologies tested in Lingen include biogas-powered sewage treatment systems, hydrothermal carbonization and hydrogen from biogas.  Presenters will include Bernd Tischler, Lord Mayor of the City of Bottrop; Ekkehard Pfeiffer, Head of River Basin Management at the Emscher River Collaborative; Arno Ester of Stadtwerke Lingen GmbH and Purdue University professor Klaus Hermann.  The same panel will also focus on energy from sewage at 2:30 in an event sponsored by the German Embassy, USEA and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

ELI to Release “Harvesting Wind” Book – The Environmental Law Institute will hold forum to celebrate the release of “Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability,” a new book by former ELI Senior Attorney Philip Warburg at the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

Hill Hosts OH Jobs Forum – The Hill will host an Ohio Energy Jobs Summit on Wednesday in the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square.  The forum will feature a half-day, balanced discussion of the economic benefits of energy production in Ohio.   Speakers will include Associate Editor for The Hill A.B. Stoddard, Gov. John Kasich, Reps. Bill Johnson and Marcy Kaptur.  There will also be a state Elected-Officials Panel which will include Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R), Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R), Ohio Senator Lou Gentile (D) (Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee) and State Rep. Dave Hall (R), Chairman of House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.  There will also be a manufacturing jobs and natural gas production panel featuring Mark Kvamme of JobsOhio, Jeff Daniels of The Ohio State University, Jerry James of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council.

JHU Hosts Brazilian Official to Talk Rio+20 – The Johns Hopkins University Center for Transatlantic Relations will host a speech Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Bernstein-Offit Building featuring Alfredo Sirkis, a journalist and Brazilian congressman representing the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Sirkis will discuss sustainable development perspectives for the RIO+20.

DC Court to Tackle NRC Yucca Decision – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the D.C. Court of Appeals will hear arguments regarding the NRC’s mishandling of the Yucca Mountain application. Whereas the first court hearing on last Friday dealt with the payments into the Nuclear Waste Fund, this case is straightforward.  NARUC, along with Aiken County, S.C., and the State of Washington, are asking the court to force NRC to make a decision, yes or no, on the Department of Energy’s June 2008 application to build a nuclear-repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev.   Of course the battle has been waging for some time.  For a full brief, reach out to our friend at NARUC, Rob Thormeyer rthormeyer@naruc.org (202-898-9382)

WCEE to Host Renewable Energy Experts – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a luncheon discussion on Wednesday at the downtown Washington DC office of Deloitte looking at renewable energy featuring Dr. Benjamin Zycher, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, and Heidi Van Genderen, Director, National & Regional Outreach, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).  The speakers are very well respected thought leaders who will examine the challenges and opportunities facing renewable energy, particularly in light of the scheduled 2012 expiration of the wind energy production tax credit. 

RFF to Host Forum to Discuss Speculators, Oil Prices – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold their May First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. to address speculators and oil prices.  Concerns have been raised in the popular press and elsewhere that an influx of speculators drove the price of oil to unprecedented heights in 2008, and that it may now be happening again. Although futures markets play an important role in our economy, do we need more safeguards to prevent financial traders from manipulating prices? Panelists will review the claims and counterclaims, present evidence gleaned from ongoing research, and discuss the still-to-be completed process of reform that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.  Panelists will include RFF’s James Smith, Syracuse University Whitman School of Management professor Jeffrey Harris, American University’s Michel Robe and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy.

Brookings to Release LNG Export Report, Host Panel – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will host the release of the new report on “Liquid Markets: Assessing the Case for U.S. Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas”  Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Senior Fellow and ESI Director Charles Ebinger, lead author, will present the report’s conclusions and recommendations. Following his presentation, Ebinger will moderate a discussion featuring three representatives from the report’s expert task force, including our friend Kevin Book of Clearview Energy Partners, MIT Energy Initiative Executive Director Melanie Kenderdine and Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations.  The boom in domestic natural gas production has raised the prospect of the United States becoming a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Proponents of natural gas exports argue that it would provide valuable foreign exchange income, a strategic asset for U.S. foreign policy, and a source of economic growth and job creation. Some domestic natural gas consumers contend that exporting U.S. gas would increase domestic natural gas prices, resulting in higher prices and reduced competitiveness for domestic businesses. The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings (ESI) has conducted a year-long study into the feasibility and implications of potential U.S. LNG exports.

RFF Forum to Look at Biofuel Impact on Food Prices, Poverty – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at Noon taking on the topic of effects of biofuel policy on food prices and poverty.  More than 40% of US grain is now used to produce biofuels, which are used as substitutes for gasoline in transportation. Biofuels have been blamed universally for recent increases in world food prices. Many studies have shown that these energy mandates in the US and EU may have a large (30-60%) impact on food prices. In this paper we show that demand-side effects – in the form of population growth and income-driven preferences for meat and dairy products rather than cereals – may play as much of a role in raising food prices as biofuel policy. Because of new land that can be brought under farming, the rise in food prices is likely to be much smaller than predicted by other studies. However, biofuels may increase aggregate world carbon emissions, due to leakage and conversion of new land for farming.  Presenters will include Ujjayant Chakravorty, University Professor and Canada Research Chair at the Alberta School of Business and Department of Economics Fellow at the Toulouse School of Economics.  Chakravorty also heads the Institute for Policy & Social Research at the University of Kansas.

Conference to Highlight Asian Americans in Energy – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will hold its first annual conference Friday at EEI featuring with a series of distinguished speakers. They will share insights about energy projects in Asia, U.S. and China relations, and global flows of capital and personnel.  Speakers include Tseming Yang, Deputy General Counsel, US EPA (keynote) Gary Zheng, CEO, Lubbock Power & Light; Colin Tam, CEO, Crystal Vision Energy Ltd.; Sarav Periasamy, President & CEO, Peri Software, Inc.; Jimmy Rhee, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Rachelle Chong, Former Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission. Speakers will address the value of diversity in maintaining and growing a workforce for clean energy.  

WRI to Release Climate Book Based on International Weapons, Trade Regimes – The World Resources Institute will launch Building International Climate Cooperation on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.  The effort will focus on lessons from the weapons and trade regimes for achieving international climate goals. This new book, coauthored by Ruth Greenspan Bell and Micah S. Ziegler of WRI, Barry Blechman and Brian Finlay of the Stimson Center, and Thomas Cottier of the World Trade Institute, explores the question of what the climate change community can learn from the experiences of other regimes that have had some success and by their nature require global action.

JHU Forum to Look at Global Oil Consumption – The Johns Hopkins University Energy, Resources and Environment Program Global Leaders Forum will host a speech Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Rome Building Auditorium featuring Leonardo Maugeri, a research fellow at the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Maugeri will discuss the unnoticed revolution in global oil markets, looking at the new trend of global oil supply outpacing consumption.

Robot Battle Contest to Highlight Manufacturing – The National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) will head to Indiana for its annual mayhem in the ring contest featuring robot gladiators collide at the 2012 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships at the Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis on Saturday and Sunday.  NTMA created the NRL, a robot combat competition, to introduce a new generation of Americans to manufacturing.  This is the second year in a row that the National Championships will be held in Indianapolis.  Schools participating include Bloomsburg (PA) Area High School, Cambridge Springs (PA) High School, Centerville (OH) High School, Conneaut Lake (PA) High School, Dunwoody (MN) College of Technology, Milford (OH) High School, N. St. Paul (MN) High School, Plum (PA) Senior High School, Prosser Career Education Center (IN), Slinger (WI) High School, Somerset County (PA) Technology Center, Springboro (OH) High School, Penn State University-University, University of South Florida, Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua (OH), Wright State University in Dayton and Celina, OH.  NTMA founded the NRL to help change misperceptions about manufacturing and attract a new generation of students to well-paying technical careers.  The program partners teams of middle school, high school, and post-secondary school students with local NTMA manufacturers to work together to build robots designed to do battle.  The result is not only a destruction-driven face-off of incredible machines, but also an opportunity to develop high-tech skills and cultivate the interest of a new generation of students who will determine the future of manufacturing.  The National Championship matches will feature student teams who have competed in NRL-sanctioned competitions across the U.S.  Clashes begin Saturday, May 5 with preliminary rounds followed by quarterfinals, semi-finals and final rounds that will take place through Sunday, May 6.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Kelliher to Headline NE Energy Conference – The Northeast Energy and Commerce Association and the Connecticut Power and Energy Society will host the 19th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition May 7th and 8th in Boston at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel looking at energy policy at the crossroads.  The two-day conference will bring together public officials and energy industry leaders to discuss and debate the key issues facing the industry. With the economy remaining slow to recover and the end of incentive programs supporting certain types of resources, policy makers and industry participants are faced with some hard choices. More than ever, the need to balance long-term policy considerations against near-term economic consequences is driving much of the decision making in our industry. This conference will consider how these conditions are shaping the energy landscape in New England.  Joseph Kelliher, Executive Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs for NextEra Energy and a former FERC Chairman, will lead off the conference discussing federal regulatory issues and their impact on our region. Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England Inc., will provide his outlook on issues affecting the wholesale power markets in the region.

Heritage Forum to Look at Implications of Middle East Oil Disruption – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum in its Lehrman Auditorium on Tuesday, May 8th at 12:00 Noon to look at the potential implications of oil disruption in Saudi Arabia.  If an “Arab Spring” uprising completely disrupted Saudi oil production, the U.S. and the global economy would face a massive economic and strategic crisis. A crisis in Saudi Arabia would have drastic implications for the United States, its economy, and the whole world.  The U.S. must plan ahead and develop pro-active, multi-layered preventive and responsive strategies to deal with political threats to the security of oil supply. These would combine intelligence, military, and diplomatic tools as well as outline domestic steps the United States should take in such a crisis. A distinguished panel of experts will discuss strategic threats to oil supply; policy options available to the United States and to the oil consuming and producing states; and examine lessons learned from other Heritage Foundation energy crisis simulation exercises.  Heritage’s energy expert David Kreutzer will Ariel Cohen of Heritage, Bruce Everett of the Tufts University Fletcher School and Simon Henderson of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Chamber to Discuss Economy, Data – The US Chamber will hold a first quarter report for its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series on Wednesday May 9th at 8:45 a.m. to look at the first quarters economic data.   The briefings led by Martin Regalia, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Will focus on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.  In addition to Regalia, speakers will include GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem and Dan Meckstroth, Chief Economist and Director of Economic Research at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).

Nebraska Hearings Set for new Pipeline Route – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold four hearings between May 9th and May 17th in O’Neill, Neligh, Albion and Central City to discuss the new path for the Keystone Pipeline.  The meetings will be one opportunity for the agency to meet with interested persons and discuss where the pipeline review process stands.  NDEQ says they will have detailed maps available, so that people can get a clearer idea of where the corridor is proposed.

Wilson Forum to Look at China, US Energy Issues – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum on Wednesday, May 9th at its Ronald Reagan Building offices to discuss the current state of US-China clean energy relations in the wake of recent trade investigations.  While significant progress has been made under the clean energy cooperation agreements signed by Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama in the fall of 2009, The United States and China may be on the verge of a clean energy trade war.  The seven new bilateral clean energy initiatives launched in 2009 focused on many key technology areas and including renewable energy, advanced coal technology, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, and have propelled numerous other collaborations within the private sector. However, at the end of last year the United States initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into China’s practices in the solar and wind sectors, and the Department of Commerce recently decided to impose duties on Chinese solar panels.   In the meantime, election year politics and a slow economic recovery are fueling competitive tensions. President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would establish a new trade enforcement unit to speed investigations of unfair trading practices by China. Beijing has (not surprisingly) responded with its own investigation into American clean energy support programs. This comes as the U.S. renewable energy industry is increasingly divided over China’s role. The event features leading experts from government, industry and academia including Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, Georgetown University prof and Wilson Center Fellow Joanna Lewis and Jigar Shah of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s State of the Industry Series continues on Wednesday May 9th at 2:30 p.m. in the Gold Room looking at “Clean Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends.”  The BCSE forum is an educational briefing with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus focused on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available clean energy technologies. The moderated panel discussion with Q&A will give attendees an overview of the investment and market trends in clean energy industries.  Panelists will discuss 1) Commercial dynamics impacting the energy sector, 2) New innovations in the power sector and the benefits to consumers, 3) Opportunities and challenges to more widespread deployment and job creation, and 4) How Congress can support the business community in creating jobs and increasing domestic competitiveness.   Speakers include Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, George Williams of Sempra Energy, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Joe Allen of Solar Turbines.

Detroit Good Jobs Conference will Tackle Clean Energy, Auto Jobs – Following their event in Philadelphia, the 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Regional Conferences will continue in Detroit on May 10-11th.  The regional meetings reflect the character and uniqueness of their locations and will bring together thousands of labor, environmental, business, elected and community leaders working in their area and around the country to promote, preserve, and build coalitions that create good jobs and preserve our economic and environmental future. The Regional Conferences provide a renewed focus on networking opportunities and showcase the best and most innovative ideas and strategies in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  See the agenda and speakers here.

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

CHP Spring Forum Set – The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association will hold its Spring CHP Forum on Wednesday, May 16 at the Washington Plaza Hotel in DC. 

WAPA to Discuss Mercedes Mobile Technology – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its May luncheon on Wednesday May 16th at the National Press Club featuring Matthew Wiethoff, Manager of Business to Consumer Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.  Wiethoff will discuss the strategy behind the company’s mobile technology initiatives and what’s in the pipeline.  In October 2009, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services became the first captive auto finance company to introduce an app for customers with iPhones to enable them to make monthly payments.  Since introducing its iPhone app giving customers the convenience to make payments “anytime, anywhere,” Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has received over $68 million in payments via mobile channels through the first quarter of this year — and the number is growing.  Given the strong demand, MBFS continues to build capabilities in the mobile space, having recently enhanced the My MBFS app to include: request a quote from a dealer; payment reminders; and GPS dealer locator capability.

NYU to Host EPA Regional Enviro Conference – EPA and New York University’s Columbia Law School will host its biennial conference on May 23rd in New York that examines key and emerging environmental issues in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Topics will include natgas extraction, as well as air and climate issues.  Speakers will include EPA’s Judith Enck, several state Environmental Commissioners and other experts. 

Geothermal Energy Conference Set – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will be holding the 4th annual GEA International Geothermal Energy Showcase on May 23rd at the Reagan Trade Center in Washington, DC to highlight international geothermal projects, policies, and development in top international markets.  Industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and around the world are expected to participate.   This year, the event will focus on success in the leading countries and geothermal markets. Participants from the countries which are showing the most dramatic growth will be asked to address the event. Discussion will highlight what measures are succeeding in expanding geothermal energy production, with special attention paid to U.S. geothermal exports and financing for international geothermal development.   GEA is inviting representatives from both government and business involved in key geothermal markets including the Caribbean, Central America, Chile, East Africa, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines and Turkey. The program will encourage discussion and interaction about government policies, projects in development, market potential, and opportunities for U.S. companies. Attendees will also hear from U.S. Government agencies involved in export assistance for geothermal companies, and from U.S. companies developing projects overseas.

Segal to Speak at ECOS meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host state environmental agency leaders on June 7-8th at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for the State Environmental Protection in 2012 conference.  This is a critical time for state environmental programs as officials try to balance federal budget cuts with the need to address new, more complex pollution problems.  The meeting will provide a forum for state officials, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and others to explore current challenges in meeting environmental and public health demands in an era of declining resources.  Panel topics will include implementation of federal rules and regulations, state innovation, air and energy, coal combustion residuals, green partnerships, nutrients and other water issues, toxics reform and more.  Speakers will include our colleague Scott Segal.

Nat Gas Vehicles Conference Set – Penn State-Lehigh will hold a natural gas vehicles forum on Monday June 11th hosting clean-air/clean-transportation advocates, industry stakeholders, fleet managers and policymakers.  They will discuss the fundamentals of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, network with other NGV stakeholders, and discuss opportunities and challenges to greater adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The conference will provide a comprehensive discussion on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel in Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Chamber Holds Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Jobs Summit 2012 on Wednesday, June 13th at the Chamber in DC.  , The Summit will bring together governors and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the state of our nation’s job market, outline policies that are needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth, and highlight what policies are working in each participating governor’s state.   A central part of the Summit will be the release of an updated edition of Enterprising States, which will take a comprehensive look at how states are positioning themselves for economic growth and investing in the future.  The bipartisan Governors’ Roundtable will be moderated by Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal, following remarks by Tom Donohue and a research presentation based on the data released in the Enterprising States study.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set for Hill – On June 21st, the Sustainable Energy Coalition – in cooperation with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses – will host the 15th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum on Capitol Hill.  This year’s EXPO will bring together over fifty businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies.  The late morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while speakers throughout the day will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.   As Congress, the Administration, the business community, environmental advocates, and American voters search for options to stimulate the economy and “green jobs,” as well as address issues of national security, higher energy costs, increased reliance on energy imports, and the environmental threats associated with energy consumption, the EXPO will help address the role that sustainable energy technologies might play.  This will include not only the technical aspects of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies but also related issues such as economics, jobs potential, environmental benefits, current and near-term market potential, model programs in the public and private sectors, and institutional, financial and legal barriers.