Friends,

Exciting times in the sports world with the Final Fours and Opening Day.  All my Michigan teams let trips to the Four slip away.  Michigan fell to Kentucky on a clutch last-second shot.  Michigan State made some very un-Izzo-like mistakes/turnovers losing to UConn.  Finally, Ferris State, despite dominating the game, was ousted 2-1 in a 2OT thriller by perennial hockey power house North Dakota in the Frozen Four.  Congrats to our friends at Wisconsin who won perhaps the best game of the tourney to date, beating top-seeded Arizona in OT in the West Final.  Arizona’s loss, couple with the Florida shattering Dayton glass slipper, prevented the Miller brothers (Sean and Archie) from making it to Dallas.  Ceremonies begin next week for hoops in Texas Stadium and the following week for Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

Pay attention tonight and tomorrow as the NCAA Women play for a trip to the Four in Nashville.  Tonight, women hoops powers Baylor and Notre Dame start at 7:30 while top-seeded and multi-year champ Connecticut takes on Texas A&M.  Tomorrow, the Maryland Lady Terps (after bouncing top regional seed Tennessee) take on Louisville (featuring Native American sisters Shoni and Jude Schimmel), while Stanford and North Carolina battle for the final spot.

Home openers today for the Orioles in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Texas and Detroit (with Miguel Cabrera’s new MEGA contract).  The Washington Nationals open up in NY at the Mets today and return to open in DC on Friday.  The Cubs, who are still tied for first, open in Pittsburgh today.  Hopefully they won’t be out of it by time they return home to take on the Phillies Friday.  Finally, since it is Opening Day, a new day for Spring after our long winter, a new season for our hopes for summer, I thought it was a great time to highlight FOOD.  Yes, our friends at USA Today released its Top 10 Ballpark foods for your dining pleasure.  While I agree with many including the Yankees’ Meatball Parm and The Nat’s Ben’s Chili Bowl, one they miss is AT&T Park’s Gilroy Garlic Fries.

On to the issues… The UN issued another report today prepping the climate negotiating table for a new treaty round in Paris in 2015.  If you read the report or even just listen to the new coverage, you might think you were watching the movie Noah.  Fortunately, this specific report has continually been somewhat alarmist in an effort to spur much more difficult political action among nations.  So while you hear that food prices will be higher, temperatures will rise 9 degrees and many things, I would remind that much of this is highly-suspect.  One interesting sidebar though that won’t please the ethanol industry:  the report warns that growing crops to make ‘green’ biofuel harms the environment.

What is not suspect is the impacts of the recent EPA announcement of what water fall under US jurisdiction.  This rule will have wide and broad impacts on all forms of development literally redefining the landscape of federal water pollution regulation and impacting laws governing wetlands fill, water discharge permits, oil spill liability, spill contingency planning, hazardous substance spill response, and more.  For those of you following last week’s announcement, my colleagues with expertise in the area have started a series of blog posts regarding the impacts and issues with the proposed rule.  If you have questions or need background info, please contact my colleague Lowell Rothschild at 202-828-5817.  Lowell and the team will continue to address this issue going forward, so don’t hesitate to check in with them.

Lots of action in Congress this week, especially on budget issues with Energy’s Moniz and EPA’s McCarthy both up Wednesday morning and Moniz and Jewell up Thursday.  Also our friends at the Wall Street Journal are hosting their ECO:nomics Green Business Forum on Wednesday to Friday in Santa Barbara.  Speakers will include AEP‘s Nick Adkins, Edison International’s Ted Craver, Statoil’s Helge Lunde, DOE Loan Guarantee expert Peter Davidson and many more.

Finally, remember tomorrow is April Fools’ Day, so don’t be surprised to hear some crazy stuff.   You may recall last year, I got quite a few of you when I announced that I was ending The Update will a final report like M.A.S.H., Friends or Lost.  Each of those titles are pretty appropriate for our report, but as you know, I could never really give up this fun, weekly task.  So stay alert for the pranksters and call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Methane Emissions Approach Announced – The White House released strategy to cut methane emissions on Friday when Energy Secretary Moniz rolled it out at a DOE advisory board meeting.  The new strategy will take steps to reduce methane emissions from four sources of methane emissions: landfills, coal mines, agriculture, and oil and gas operations. The strategy directs EPA to propose updated standards for methane emissions from landfills and assess emissions from the oil and gas sector, in order to determine whether further regulations are needed.  EPA would also work with the DOE to voluntarily reduce methane emissions, through the Natural Gas STAR program. The strategy also directs Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to gather input on the potential use of captured methane from coal mines, as well as propose updated standards to reduce flaring and venting from oil and gas production on public lands.

NARUC Praises Safety First NARUC President Colette Honorable of Arkansas said NARUC appreciates the White House’s acknowledgement of the ongoing efforts at the State level to improve the safe and efficient operation of our nation’s pipeline infrastructure. For NARUC members, safety is and remains Job No. 1, and as this report demonstrates, States have been true leaders. On a personal note, I would like to thank the Administration for their outreach and leadership in initiating roundtable discussions on these issues as they prepared this report. A safe system is a clean and efficient one, and we look forward to working with the White House and all other stakeholders going forward.

AGA Also Focused on Infrastructure – American Gas Association head Dave McCurdy also praised the effort saying industry shares the goal of a safe, resilient, clean energy infrastructure and natural gas utilities are working with state regulators and key stakeholders to do their part.  McCurdy: “We will achieve this goal in our sector through investments to modernize and expand the grid and by delivering natural gas safely to growing numbers of homes and businesses. Smart, cost effective investments in system modernization can continue, and accelerate, the trend in decreasing natural gas emissions.”  Five AGA distribution company senior executives participated in a recent methane emissions reduction strategy roundtable held by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, part of an ongoing dialogue between the Secretary and AGA leadership about areas of joint coordination.

Bracewell Experts Focused on New EPA Water Rule – For those of you following last week’s announcement from EPA about a new proposed waters of the US rule, my colleagues with expertise in the area are starting a series of blog posts regarding the impacts and issues with the proposed rule.   The rule will literally redefine the landscape of federal water pollution regulation, impacting laws governing wetlands fill, water discharge permits, oil spill liability, spill contingency planning, hazardous substance spill response, and more. It will impact municipalities, states, and industry of every type, from natural resource extraction like energy and mining, to construction and development and beyond.   The first few will identify the breadth of the rule and examine if there is indeed anything new (or if the rule is just a recitation of the existing law).  Next week, we’ll follow up with some more posts addressing the rule’s impacts and policy implications.  The first post went up Friday.  The three more have been posted since.  If you have questions or need background info, please contact my colleague Lowell Rothschild at 202-828-5817.  Lowell and the team will continue to address this issue going forward, so don’t hesitate to check in with them.

Forbes Praises Cabot as #5 on Most Trustworthy Companies – Last week, I mention that our friends at Cabot Oil & Gas were named the 5th Most Trustworthy Company in America.  I mention it again because often, Cabot is attacked by anti-natgas activists who have been less than honest about the company, Dimock and natgas drilling in general.  Forbes released its list and it is in the current issue out this week.  The list was developed James Kaplan, director of proprietary ratings for investment adviser GMI Ratings, after the failure of corporate superpowers Enron and WorldCom.   Each year, GMI Ratings provides Forbes with a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America. To develop the ranking, GMI reviews the accounting and governance behaviors of more than 8,000 publicly-traded companies in North America. In assessing each company, GMI considers factors including high risk events, revenue and expense recognition methods, SEC actions, and bankruptcy risk as indicators of a company’s credibility.  Cabot scored #5 just one point behind UnderArmour.  Tops on the list was oil and gas equipment developer Oceaneering International.  Other familiar names include Accenture, Wynn resorts, Tyson Foods and Nordstrom.

Energy Legend Schlesinger Passes – The nation’s first Energy Secretary James Schlesinger passed away late last week at 85 from pneumonia.  Before taking over the Energy Department under President Jimmy Carter upon its creation in 1977, Schlesinger, a Republican, had served as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, one DOE’s predecessor agencies.  Schlesinger also served as President Richard Nixon’s CIA director in 1973 and as secretary of defense from 1973 to 1975.  Despite failing physical health, Schlesinger showed he maintained his sharp intellect and wit at a conference sponsored by SAFE focused on the 40th anniversary of the Arab oil embargo.  At the event, Schlesinger wowed the audience of experts and business leaders with his discussion of the 1973 embargo and how it reshaped U.S. energy policies.

UN Report Condemns Green Biofuels – The United Nations will officially warn that growing crops to make ‘green’ biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices according to a leaked draft of a report that went to our friends at Britain’s The Telegraph.  The report condemns the widespread use of biofuels made from crops as a replacement for petrol and diesel. It says that biofuels, rather than combating the effects of global warming, could make them worse. The draft report represents a dramatic about-turn for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its previous assessment on climate change, in 2007, was widely condemned by environmentalists for giving the green light to large-scale biofuel production. The latest report instead puts pressure on world leaders to scrap policies promoting the use of biofuel for transport. The summary for policymakers states: ‘Increasing bioenergy crop cultivation poses risks to ecosystems and biodiversity.’

Marshall Study Examines Defense, Security Claims of Warming – Speaking of UN reports, the George C. Marshall Institute released The Climate of Insecurity todayIn this new Policy Outlook, Institute President Jeff Kueter considers claims that climate change will result in conflict.  Recently the State and Defense Departments have reiterated their belief that environmental factors can precipitate armed conflict and the IPCC 5th Assessment Report endorses this view.  Drawing on his 2012 study of the issue, Kueter evaluates the claims and concludes again that the linkage between climate and conflict is overstated.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Appropriations/Budget:

Wednesday

  • House Approps Panel on Energy budget.  Moniz Testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • House Energy Committee Energy Panel on EPA budget. EPA’s McCarthy testifies. 10:00 a.m.

Thursday

  • House Resources on Interior budge.  Interior Sect Jewell testifies. 10 a.m.
  • House Energy Committee Energy Panel on Energy budget.  Moniz Testifies.  10:00 a.m.

Refiners International Meeting to Hear from Rice – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will hold its annual International petrochemical conference in San Antonio today and tomorrow. The International Petrochemical Conference is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry.  The meeting consists of sessions covering key political, economic, and environmental issues affecting the petrochemical industry.  The sessions emphasize global competitiveness in the petrochemical business and are presented by recognized experts in the areas of petrochemical markets, economics and politics. Speakers will include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among many others.

Transportation Summit Set – The Transportation Energy Partner’s Energy Independence Summit 2014 will be held on Sunday to Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  The Summit will feature educational sessions and presentations from the nation’s leading clean transportation experts on Federal funding and incentives to promote alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure; successful alternative fuels and vehicle projects across the country; and innovative state and local policies and programs that are advancing markets for cleaner fuels and vehicles.

Building Summit to Look at Efficiency – The 2014 Building Energy Summit will be held tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center.  Building owners, energy experts, and technology pioneers will converge to address the challenges and opportunities surrounding the need for more energy efficient buildings. Join us for the 2014 Building Energy Summit and be a part of the revolution that is permanently changing the way we manage and operate buildings. The 2014 Summit brings together leaders from both the public and private sector to debate and discuss energy efficient technologies and solutions, energy policy, funding and incentives, alternative sources of energy, and more.   The Summit will combine keynote presentations by industry leaders and energy experts, educational breakout sessions for hands-on learning, case study presentations demonstrating real projects and real results, and networking opportunities for collaborating with colleagues and solution providers. Speakers will present case studies of some of the most efficient buildings in the country. Learn what major corporations, building owners, tenants, governments and governmental agencies are doing to support energy efficient operations and significantly reduce energy costs.

Forum to Look at Converting Fleets to Alt Fuels – EESI and WIRES will host a briefing coordination with Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) and NAFA Fleet Management Association tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the CVC Auditorium about the strides public and private sector vehicle fleet managers in nearly every state are making in converting to alternative fuels (e.g., biofuels, electricity, natural gas, propane). This is a chance to learn first-hand about why they are converting their fleets, the challenges they face, and the importance of federal and state incentives in overcoming these challenges.

NIEHS to Hold Forum on Vehicle Emissions – The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Institute of Medicine are holding a symposium tomorrow at the National Academy of Sciences focused on the health effects of fine particles from vehicle emissions.  The forum will bring together leading researchers and other experts on the sources, extent, mechanics, and health implications of ultra-fine airborne particles to discuss their origins, nature and potential health effects, and to help researchers identify remaining questions. Please join us to learn about the growing body of research that links petroleum-derived particle pollution to a variety of ever larger serious health problems and premature death. While there has been significant research into the origins and effects of larger particles, there is much less known about the nature and effects of ultra-fine particulates (UFPs).

UVa Expert to Discuss Russian, Energy – The Center on Global Interests will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on how the Kremlin’s energy dependence undermines foreign policy decisions.  In the last 15 years, Russia has become increasingly reliant on oil and gas wealth to sustain its economy. As a result, the major players in Russia’s resource industries have acquired a disproportionate influence over Russian politics. This has undermined the authority of Russia’s foreign policy institutions by allowing a small group of decision-makers, who rarely consult with Russia’s professional foreign policy bureaucracy, to set the domestic and foreign policy agenda.  How should Western officials respond to Russia’s insular policy-making, and how might Western sanctions—including energy sanctions—influence key decision-makers in Russia? Using the Second Chechen War and the 2008 Georgian War as case studies, Emma Ashford will examine the extent to which Russian foreign policy institutions function in an informational vacuum and provide recommendations for how U.S. policymakers can mitigate this problem, particularly with regard to the Ukraine crisis.

Chalk to Discuss DOE EERE Budget – DOE will hold a webinar tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. offer an in-depth review of EERE’s FY15 renewable power budget request, including SunShot.  Deputy Assistant Secretary Steve Chalk and the Directors of the Solar, Wind/Water, and Geothermal Offices will discuss the details of EERE’s FY15 Budget request.

Climate Action Goes to Washington (State) – Continuing its Northwest swing, Climate Desk will host a forum on State action in Washington featuring Governor Jay Inslee tomorrow at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The recent agreement between Washington state, British Columbia, Oregon and California to harmonize their climate and energy policies has the potential to not just accelerate greenhouse gas reductions but also catalyze a strong, clean, and resilient economy.  Inslee, along with distinguished industry and climate science leaders will discuss the future of clean energy as part of Climate Desk Live, a partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Climate Access, and Climate Desk, sponsored by Bloomberg BNA. Hosted by Chris Mooney, the discussion will cover a range of key climate policy issues from coal terminals, to fuel efficiency standards, to carbon pricing, with an eye toward innovation and new energy solutions.

German Energy Issues Discussed – The National Academy of Engineering and the German Research Foundation (DFG) will host a Leibniz Lecture on global energy challenges, looking at Germany’s “Energiewende” and Beyond, tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.  Prof. Dr. Ferdi Schueth, Vice President, German Research Foundation (DFG) and Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Carbon Research will speak.

House Foreign Affairs Panel to Look at Oil Export Ban – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at oil and evaluating U.S. energy trade policy.  Shale plays in North Dakota and Texas, has grown crude production by 50% since 2008.  While domestic refiners are not configured to handle this type of crude, the US is also banned from exporting it to willing buyers abroad.  This hearing will bring together industry parties and experts from both sides in order examine any needed changes to our crude energy policy.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski will testify, as will Michael Jennings of the HollyFrontier Corporation, API’s Erik Milito, Ken Medlock of the Center for Energy Studies at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy and Deborah Gordon of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

WAPA Forum to Look at Nissan Cab – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and Nissan North America will host the April WAPA lunch on Wednesday hosting Peter Bedrosian, Senior Manager, Product Planning for a background session to discuss the all-new Nissan NV200 Taxi. You’ll hear how the NV200 made it to service in New York City in October 2013 and also learn about its passenger-friendly features, including USB charging, anti-fatigue seats, panoramic roof with sky views of the city, reduced odors, improved leg room, more cargo space and other conveniences.

Forum to EESI Climate Risks in SW – EESI will hold a briefing on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Southwest and regional efforts to manage these risks. The Southwest is already the driest and hottest region in the United States, and California is in the midst of a historic drought. The draft Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) – the final version is expected soon – projects that the region’s climate may become even more severe. These changes are having substantial adverse effects on the regional economy and quality of life, forcing local leaders to develop creative solutions to combat drought and other extreme conditions. How can the Southwest best address current impacts while also building climate resiliency to manage risk and foster long-term prosperity?   Speakers for this forum are Eleanor Bastian, Legislative Director for Rep. Diana DeGette; Patrick Gonzalez of the U.S. National Park Service; Chris Treese of the Colorado River District; Margaret Bowman of the Walton Family Foundation and Louis Blumberg of The Nature Conservancy.

WSJ to Host ECO:nomics ForumThe Wall Street Journal will host its ECO:nomics Green Business Forum on Wednesday to Friday at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara.  Speakers will include AEP‘s Nick Adkins, Edison International’s Ted Craver, Statoil’s Helge Lunde, DOE Loan Guarantee expert Peter Davidson and many more.  Moderators will include our WSJ friends Joe White, Kim Strassel, Russ Gold and Jeff Ball.

Purdue Biofuel Expert to Address JHU Forum – The Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment program will host a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the Bernstein-Offit Building on first and second generation biofuels – economic and policy issues.  The event will feature our friend Wally Tyner from Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

Forum to Look at Regional Transmission Issues – Americans for a Clean Energy Grid will hold a series of regionally-focused webinars starting Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on what’s going on in the world of transmission running from Fall 2013 to Winter 2014. Each webinar will span one hour, featuring presentations by transmission experts from the region in question and a discussion of environmental, economic, and political issues including planning, siting, and cost allocation.  The next webinar in Americans for a Clean Energy Grid’s series of regionally-focused webinars will focus on the West.  Presenters will include NRDC’s Director of Western Transmission Carl Zichella and Xcel’s Stephen Beuning.

Senate Finance to Mark-Up “Tax Extenders – The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on renewing all of the tax credits for another year until more sweeping tax reform can be passed.  My colleague Mike Pate (202-828-5841) is following closely and can help with your questions.

WRI Head to Address JHU Forum – The Johns Hopkins University’s International Development program will host World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.  Steer will discuss climate change with economic growth, and what to watch in 2014.

WRI to Release World Bank Assessment Report – Following that event at 3:30 p.m., the Sustainable Finance Center at WRI will launch a report assessing sustainable development and effective governance principles in the World Bank’s 2012-2013 portfolio of projects.  The authors, World Bank management, civil society, and academia will discuss the findings in the context of a new World Bank strategy and pressing global challenges. Please register early to confirm participation.  In advance of the 2014 World Bank / IMF Spring Meetings and as the World Bank embarks on major structural reforms, this event will present new analysis that explores how well the World Bank is designing projects to meet future sustainability and governance challenges.  For this report, the World Resources Institute examined the extent to which the World Bank is integrating elements of sustainable development and effective governance considerations into the design of a sample set of 60 projects approved between 2012 and 2013. The report presents ten recommendations for the World Bank based on the findings, which will also have relevance for national governments, other development finance institutions, and civil society organizations.

Forum to Discuss Greenland, Energy Development – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., GWU’s IERES and Department of Geography will host Inuuteq Holm Olsen of the Embassy of Denmark to discuss Greenland’s goals with Arctic Energy development and its future plans.  Largely, but not only, due to the effects of climate change, the Arctic is becoming a hot spot on the global agenda. Similarly along those lines, Greenland is seeking to develop its natural resources as it develops politically. In that context, the forces of globalization have reached the Arctic including new emerging powers.

Book Event to Look at Future Energy Shortage, Demand – The Institute of World Politics will hold a book lecture with author David Archibald for his book Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century will be Nasty, Brutish, and Short on Thursday at 4:00 p.m.   Baby boomers enjoyed the most benign period in human history: fifty years of relative peace, cheap energy, plentiful grain supply, and a warming climate due to the highest solar activity for 8,000 years. The party is over-prepare for the twilight of abundance.

Chamber to Hold Aviation Summit Featuring Airline CEOs – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting 13th Annual Aviation Summit on Thursday in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  This forum will bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. This year we will examine one of the least understood topics in aviation: the true costs of flying.  Among the many confirmed speakers will be Delta CEO Richard Anderson, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza, JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger, former FAA Administrator and Aerospace Industries Association head Marion Blakey and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, among many others.

Forum to Discuss Tax Reforms – AEI and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center will hold a forum on Friday at 9:00 a.m. focused on the US corporate income tax.  Most argue the tax is deeply flawed, particularly in its treatment of foreign-source income. At this event, Eric Toder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and AEI’s Alan D. Viard will present a report, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, explaining that the current corporate income tax system bases tax liability on two concepts that defy easy definition — the source of corporate income and the residence of corporations. Toder and Viard call for structural reform that would either find an internationally agreed-upon way to define those concepts or restructure the tax system so that it no longer relies on them. They will outline two options: seeking international agreement on how to allocate multinational corporations’ income among countries or replacing the corporate income tax with taxation of dividends and accrued capital gains of American shareholders at ordinary income tax rates. Martin A. Sullivan of Tax Analysts and Pamela Olson of PricewaterhouseCoopers will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both ideas.

House Resources to Look at California Energy Independence – On Friday at 9:30 a.m. in 1334 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will conduct an oversight hearing on domestic opportunities to reverse California’s growing dependence on foreign oil.  Since 2000, California has experienced a surge in foreign oil imports. Today, California gets 50% of its oil from foreign sources and half of those imports come from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz. California’s unemployment is higher than the national average at 8.7 percent, energy prices in California are among the highest in the nation, and California is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that California’s Monterey Shale contains over 15 billion barrels of oil – more than estimates of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.

FUTURE EVENTS

NIST to Host Disaster Resilience Workshop – Next Monday, April 7th, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop at its Gaithersburg Main Campus to look at a community-centered approach to disaster resilience.  Annual losses from natural and other types of disasters in the United States averages $57 billion, with losses from large single events, such as Hurricane Katrina, exceeding $100 billion.  The workshops will explore the role that buildings and infrastructure systems play in enabling communities to protect people and property and recover more rapidly from natural and man-made hazards.

Utility Summit to Feature Moniz, Whitman – Bloomberg New Finance will hold a summit in New York on April 7th through 9thfocused on Changing utility business models.   Speakers include DOE Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, former NJ Gov. and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker, Exelon CEO Christopher Crane, GE CEO Jeff  Immelt, former Duke Energy Jim Rogers and many more.

Energy Bar Conference to Focus on Secure Energy – The Energy Bar Association will hold Its Annual Meeting and Conference on April 8th and 9th in Washington.  The conference will focus on the challenges of generating and delivering energy securely.

FirstEnergy CEO to Address Chamber Leadership Series – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host its CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Tuesday, April 8th at 11:30 a.m. featuring FirstEnergy President and CEO Anthony Alexander.  The electric utility industry is in a time of unprecedented change.  Alexander’s remarks will focus on some of the regulatory challenges and mandates that are making it more difficult for electric utilities to provide reliable, affordable service to customers.  He also will emphasize the importance of a national energy policy that drives economic expansion, creates jobs, and recognizes the high value that customers place on the use of electricity.

House Resources To Look at Women in Energy Jobs – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 8th at 2:00 p.m. looking at energy job opportunities for women and minorities.  Women and minorities are already a key part of America’s energy renaissance and their role and importance will only continue to grow. It is estimated that their employment in the energy sector will rise to one-third by 2030 – up from one-fourth in 2010. This hearing will examine opportunities in this sector, what is driving this increase, and identify ways to ensure continued job growth.

Energy, Oil Debate Set – On Tuesday, April 8th at 7:00 p.m. at American University, the French-American Global Forum / French-American Institute for Global Affaires and The School for International Services at American University -Washington, DC. in Cooperation with Le Monde Diplomatique present the fourth and final debate of the Le Monde diplomatique Debates Series – Washington, D.C. on oil and energy and what the future will hold.

Forum to Look at Advanced Transportation – The Information Technology Industry Council will hold an expert panel discussion on Wednesday, April 9th at 2:00 p.m. about the future of mobility, the new technologies and business models that are likely to emerge, and the policies that can help spur even greater innovation. The event will also include a demonstration of Toyota’s new front-drive, zero emission, concept vehicle: the i-Road. Transportation is undergoing a technological transformation. Even as companies compete to introduce new and more efficient fuel technologies, increasing consumer demand for connectivity is turning the vehicle into the next mobile platform. Speakers will include Mary Brown of Cisco Systems, Toyota’s Andrew Coetzee and IBM’s Riz Khaliq.

Book Forum To Discuss Sci-Fi Thriller – On Wednesday, April 9th, the Future Tense Book Club will meet at the New America Foundation to discuss Shovel Ready. The novel, by New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh, imagines a near-future New York City that is decaying while the wealthy who remain take refuge in an alternate reality. Our guide to Sternbergh’s engrossing dystopia: a garbage man turned hit man. In a conversation on Slate, Sternbergh’s editor, Zack Wagman, described the book as “noir, detective, sci-fi world-building, speculative dystopia, and just out-and-out thriller.”

Center for Offshore Safety Holds Forum – On April 9th and 10th, the Center for Offshore Safety will hold its 2nd annual safety forum in Houston at the Westin Memorial City.  The Center is focused on promoting the highest levels of safety and environmental protection for offshore drilling, completions and production operations in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The forum’s agenda has been created to provide an update on progress made by the Center and its cross-industry work groups. The agenda is complemented by interactive panel sessions regarding SEMS implementation and industry, auditor and regulator experiences with the recent SEMS audits. Additionally, senior leadership from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard will provide keynote presentations. The forum is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of SEMS, SEMS implementation, SEMS auditing and the work being undertaken by the COS.

RFF to Discuss Shale Gas Development – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday, April 10th at 12:30 p.m. to discuss shale gas development.  RFF will host three distinguished scholars researching the benefits and costs of shale gas development as experienced by local communities. Hunt Allcott (New York University) will present his work on boom-and-bust cycles related to oil and gas development; James McElfish (Environmental Law Institute) will examine how impact fees collected in five Pennsylvania counties are being used in the local economy; and Lucija Muehlenbachs (University of Calgary and RFF) will present recent analyses on the impacts of shale gas development on property values and truck traffic and accidents in Pennsylvania.

WCEE to Look at Honey “Bee” Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a brown bag lunch on Tuesday, April 15th at Noon at Cassidy & Associates for a look at what threatens and nurtures bee colonies .  Dr. Mary Purcell-Miramontes, National Program Leader for USDA-NIFA will provide an overview of colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive suddenly disappear.  She will discuss how the disappearance is threatening many commercial fruit crops in the US and what is known about the causes of the disorder.  Also joining us will be Larry Marling, a local beekeeper and provider of home and office beehives. He will discuss considerations with home beekeeping and the enjoyment you may get from having your own backyard hive.

UC-Boulder Forum to Look at Climate, Extreme Weather – On April 16th, the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a forum on how scientists can forecast where extreme events will occur and their severity.   Kathleen Tierney, Director of the CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center and Kevin Trenberth from the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will join facilitators Dr. Anne Gold of CIRES and Deb Morrison of University Colorado Boulder in an interactive panel discussion.  These experts will cover what communities and governments can do to increase resiliency to extreme weather events and how the scientific community can help prepare citizens and government.

INGAA Head Santa to Discuss Report – ICF International will host our friend Don Santa, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), on April 17th for its April Energy Breakfast.  Santa will discuss the INGAA Foundation’s new report on dynamics and issues affecting midstream infrastructure development. The report discusses the needs for midstream pipeline infrastructure in North America through 2035 to meet the booming production of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and petroleum.

GEA Event Set – The Geothermal Energy Association holds its International Geothermal Showcase on April 22nd at the Ronald Reagan Building. The Showcase will bring together the key government and industry leaders who will be making decisions about building thousands of new megawatts of geothermal power around the world.  has currently confirmed attendance from government and industry leaders representing 20 countries.  It will serve as an opportunity to explore and learn from each other about the best policies and approaches to expand the use of geothermal power domestically and abroad.  In addition, GEA will be releasing its “2014 U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production” report at the International Geothermal Showcase.

FWS to Hold Final Wind, Wildlife Training – On April 23rd at 2:00 p.m., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its final bimonthly training broadcast covering emerging issues and providing direction for wind energy facility planning, development, and operations to avoid impacts to wildlife and their habitat.  The final broadcast of the series will focus on the latest and greatest in research. Host Christy Johnson-Hughes will be joined by Cris Hein of Bat Conservation International and Chad Le Beau and Wally Erickson of WEST, Inc. to share research results and conclusions related to bats, grassland birds, and sage grouse.

FERC’s Clark, Congressional Members Address Hydro Conference – The National Hydropower Association will hold its annual conference in Washington, DC on April 28th through 30th at the Capital Hilton.  The event provides a forum for industry, legislative and regulatory agency staff to exchange knowledge and expertise pertinent to the hydroelectric industry.  FERC Commissioner Tony Clark will be a keynote speaker.  Others will include Reps. Diana DeGette, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden.

WCEE Lunch to Focus on Energy Dependency in Ukraine, Others – The WCEE Brown-bag Luncheon Series will hold a forum on Friday, May 2nd at Noon on the politics of energy dependency, with specific focus on Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.  The event will feature Margarita M. Balmaceda, Professor of diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The event looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compared these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependence on Russia, as well as politically independent transit states.  Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (“oligarchs”), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy took in the region – and these states’ own political development.

PBF, Valero Speaker to Headline Platts Conference – Platts will hold its 3rd Annual North American Refined Products conference in Houston at the Marriott West Loop on May 20th and 21st.  The event explores supply and demand for refined products from the North American PADD regions and the opportunities and challenges in those markets.  Keynote speaker will be Todd O’Malley of PBF Energy.  Other speakers will include Valero’s Richard Grissom.

Kasparov to Speak at Cato Dinner – The Cato Institute will announce its Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty at its 2014 Biennial Dinner on May 21st at the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The keynote address will be presented by Garry Kasparov, former Chess champion, Russian Pro-Democracy leader and Global Human-Rights activist.  The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The prize carries a cash award of $250,000.

Hurricane Forum To Discuss Forecasting – On May 15th at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas (South Houston), the 25th Annual Hurricane Symposium will be held looking at the latest forecasting technologies, incident management tactics and risk mitigation programs.  Speakers will include National Hurricane Center former Director Bill Read, KPRC Local 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley, Port of Houston’s Captain Marcus Woodring, Hospital Corporation of America Executive Director of Emergency Services Allen Johnson, our friend and Houston Chronicle SciGuy Blogger Eric Berger, University of Miami’s Dr. Sharan Majumdar, Houston Airport System Safety and Emergency Management Manager Steve Runge and Spectra Energy’s Thomas McNulty.