Again, a couple more interesting items that I wanted to push out given that I will not be sending an update on Monday because will be wearing fire-retardant clothing that day on the Hercules 173 in the Gulf.  Just so you know, I will have my name of my FRC outfit, because I’m kind of a big deal.  Now I just need you guys to give me an offshore rig nickname…or maybe not.

Speaking of drilling, one other thing…It seems the drilling activities off the coast of Cuba are getting close to completing the first well.  It may happen in the next week or so.  Regardless, our friends at Helix are talking more about the containment system that Repsol has contracted in case there is a spill.   If you are covering this issue, don’t hesitate to call as we can provide materials and in some case provide a detailed briefing on the system.

Finally, I hope all of you saw the recent spoof in The Onion on the Natural Gas drilling industry employing all the new college PR grads…  As I told One of my enviro friends: Finally, some help on the way…  Pretty funny stuff.

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

President Announcement Executive Order to Reduce Regs –  Today, the President will order changing or eliminating a handful of regulations that his administration says could have cost the economy $6 billion over five years, part of a regulatory overhaul that will require agencies to periodically scrub their rule books in search of unnecessary mandates. See the EO here.  My colleague Scott Segal, Director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council discussion the implications for energy/environment issues in the statement: “The President has again explicitly recognized that the performance of the economy is directly related to how reasonable our regulatory burdens are.  Unfortunately, in the case of recent power-sector rules, this commitment has not been evident.  The recently-finalized air toxics rule is the most expensive air rule measured in direct costs and has very little incremental health benefits associated with it.  Millions of jobs depend on the recovery of industries that require affordable and reliable electric power.”  Segal: “Today’s executive order deals with periodic retroactive review of regulations.  Even if this is achieved, the real threat for the power sector and manufacturers and workers that depend upon it lies in the rash of new rules advanced by the Administration.  These include air toxics rules for utilities and boiler owners, interstate rules, greenhouse gas rules, as well as rules on waste and water – all coming together to foreclose on some of America’s most dependable options.”   You can call Scott (202-262-5845) or me if you have questions.

Inhofe Introduces Armendariz Legislation – As a fallout of the Dr. Al Armendariz EPA blow up, Sen. Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment Committee introduced a simple two-page bill that will require that the President appoint the EPA’s regional administrators “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”  Currently EPA regional directors are appointed by the President without having to undergo Senate confirmation. Senator Inhofe was joined by Senators John Boozman, David Vitter, James Risch, Jim DeMint, Roger Wicker, Mike Enzi, Thad Cochran, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Jerry Moran, Roy Blunt, John Cornyn,  John Hoeven, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Patrick Toomey, Mitch McConnell, Tom Coburn, John Barrasso, Saxby Chambliss and John Thune.  The legislation will provide an important opportunity to shine the light on recent EPA actions underway at the regional offices, according to Inhofe while establishing better accountability and responsibility.  My former EPA colleagues Jeff Holmstead (202-0828-5852) or Rich Alonso (202-828-5861) , as well as Scott Segal think it is a good idea that will create better accountability.  They are happy to discuss the legislation.

Here are some events for Early next week:

ACC Dooley to Speak at Nat Gas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Calvin Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council as the guest speaker at the next luncheon on Monday May 14th in B-338/339 Rayburn. He will discuss the impact of increased natural gas production on the US chemical industry.  Dooley has been the President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), since September 2008. Prior to joining ACC, Mr. Dooley served as President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and as a member of Congress representing the 20th District of California.

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.

CEI, Others Host Transportation Forum – On Tuesday, May 15, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Independent Institute, and Reason Foundation will host a Capitol Hill briefing on the reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs in B-369 Rayburn at Noon.  A panel of transportation policy scholars will discuss several possible solutions, including returning funding responsibility to the states, replacing fuel taxes with more sustainable revenue-collection mechanisms, and expanding private-sector participation in the provision of transportation facilities.  Panelists include Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation, Cato’s Randal O’Toole and Gabriel Roth of the Independent Institute.

AAAS to Host Science Europe Leader – The American Association for the Advancement of Science will host Science Europe President Paul Boyle Tuesday, May 15 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss how the newly-formed Science Europe will engage in science policy, promote funding collaboration, and improve research conditions in Europe. His presentation will be followed by a discussion with National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh and AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner. The event is co-sponsored by the Washington Offices of Research Councils UK, the German Research Foundation, and the AAAS Center of Science, Policy & Society Programs.

MD to Hold Public Meetings on Climate Change – Maryland continues its public meetings Tuesday on its climate change law in Centreville in Queen Anne’s County.  In 2009, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act that requires the State to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2020. Last week the meetings kicked off in Elkton, MD.  Other meetings will be in Fredrick on May 24th, Annapolis on May 31st and Baltimore on June 5th.