While the usual parade and hype around the 87th annual Oscars was fun, I didn’t think that Doogie Howser was particularly good this year. I thought he was much funnier in the past. A media columnist at Forbes hammered the show saying anything that could go wrong did… Anyway, not many surprises at the Oscars with actors, designers and directors from Birdman, Grand Budapest (nice timing for the sequel coming out soon) Boyhood and Imitation Game taking home awards. Perhaps the best moment of the night was John Legend and Common performing their song “Glory” from the movie Selma.
Another blast of snow on Saturday in DC that then gave way to sunny and 50s on Sunday set up a true reminder that Spring Training for Baseball and Spring Lacrosse (at least in our area) are in full motion. Pitchers and catchers are already arriving and full rosters show up in Florida and Arizona this week as well, while the Cubs are still tied for first. In other fun lacrosse news, my daughter’s high school team Severn School is ranked 4th in the nation in USA’s Preseason Top 25 Poll. Of course, their arch-rival, Baltimore’s McDonogh is ranked #1 again, having won 112 straight games. Last year, Severn lost 13-12 in the playoffs. The date to circle on the calendar is April 21st when the teams will first tangle.
As mentioned last Monday, I started the weekend off Friday in with an acoustic show featuring Live’s Ed Kowalczyk playing the band’s smash hit album Throwing Copper as it celebrates its 20th anniversary since release. The show was in a small venue in Annapolis and was really awesome. The next big show is March 3rd when Bush comes to the Filmore in Silver Spring. Everything Zen?
This will be a budget heavy week in Washington with a number of agency heads flooding Capitol Hill. Most prominent in our space include Interior’s Sally Jewell at Senate Energy tomorrow, EPA’s Gina McCarthy at House Energy & Commerce Wednesday and House Approps Interior/Enviro Subpanel on Thursday and DOE Secretary Moniz at House Approps on Energy/Water on Thursday. John Kerry also hits the House Approps State/Foreign Ops subpanel on Wednesday, while those of you looking at train car rules and infrastructure will want to hear Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday at House Approps’ Transpo panel. If you want to see Foxx, you’ll want to check out Senate Environment & PUBLIC WORKS on Wednesday, who will have state transpo officials and businesses from around the nation to discuss the upcoming highway bill. Finally on Thursday, House Oversight jumps into examining the impacts of EPA air and water regs on States featuring AGs from Montana and Arkansas.
Finally, in Houston on Thursday and Friday, Platts will hold its 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference. The event will feature a number of key LNG players including Philip Olivier of GDF Suez, Bill Allen of Dominion Cove Point and my Bracewell colleagues Kevin Ewing and Kristin Gibbs, among several others.
Call with questions.
IN THE NEWS
Arctic Drilling Rolls out – In the unusual Friday afternoon time slot, this time the Department of Interior released first-time draft safety standards for Arctic oil and gas drilling. The proposal includes a requirement for oil companies to keep a second rig standing by to drill a relief well as well as submitting integrated operations plans that address all phases of the exploration program, have access to Source Control and Containment Equipment and “have the necessary equipment, training, and personnel for oil spill response on the Arctic OCS.” The proposal is likely to take more than a year to finalize but includes much of what Shell has been undertaking with Interior ahead of the company’s Arctic drilling plans.
Murkowski Weighs In – Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was reserving judgment on Interior’s new draft regulations for oil and natural gas activities in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas. She added if this administration is truly committed to developing our Arctic resources then it’s imperative that the Interior Department provide clear direction to Shell and the other leaseholders in the region on how they can proceed. Murkowski: “It’s important that any changes to existing regulations covering the Chukchi and Beaufort seas allow companies the flexibility to respond to changing conditions and for the deployment of new drilling technologies.”
How Much is Up There – Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Dozens of wells have been safely drilled in these areas since the 1970s. Interior estimates its new proposed regulations will add up to $1.4 billion over 10 years to the cost of development.
Wyden Weighs In On Train Car Rule – The pace of the oil train rule seems to have sped up after several recent incidents, including a fiery crash in West Virginia. The DOT rule, which was “amtraking” along (that means late and slow) at OMB, seems to be getting the attention of a number of Democrats that want some action. House transportation top Democrat Pete DeFazio has already weighed in on this and now Sen. Ron Wyden said the rule should address the potential risks of newer rail cars involved in two derailments in addition to the older cars still in use. My colleague Lowell Rothschild is the best expert to discuss the overall status of the DOT rule and its policy impacts. Look for members of both parties to increase the heat on getting a new rule moving. Feel free to connect with him if have questions at 202-828-5817 or firstname.lastname@example.org
President to Get Keystone Legislation – After years of delays and obstruction, our friends at POLITICO report that Republicans plan to officially send the White House their Keystone XL legislation tomorrow, setting up an expected presidential veto soon afterward.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
National Govs Meeting in DC – You may have noticed it from the talk on the Sunday Shows, but the National Governors Assn is holding the 2015 NGA Winter Meeting over the weekend and today. During the meeting, governors will discuss issues affecting states and share best practices that lead to innovative solutions. The Governors meet with President Obama today.
POLITICO Hosting State Solutions Conference – In light of the NGA being in DC, POLITICO is hosting its 5th annual State Solutions conference all day today. The conference will feature a series of conversations with governors from across the country focusing on innovative approaches their states have taken to address complex problems.
Climate Conference Set – The Climate Leadership Conference 2015 will be held today through Wednesday at Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. The Climate Leadership Conference is an annual exchange for addressing global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community convene to explore market transformation, share energy and climate related solutions, and provide support for those addressing climate change in their operations. Speakers include Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, and National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone.
Forum to Look at NatGas Global Markets – The Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum in its Rome Auditorium today at 4:00 p.m. featuring SAIS alumnus Nikos Tsafos and a senior commentator to look at global markets for natural gas.
Forum to Oil, Latin America –Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy will host presentations from two distinguished IADB experts focused on oil markets and Latin America. Dr. Ramon Espinasa and Dr. Osmel Manzano. Will offer an oil market overview and impact on consumers and producers in the region.
Whitfield to Lead Energy Forum – Faegre Baker Daniels’ and FaegreBD Consulting’s will host its annual energy and environmental symposium tomorrow afternoon at the Ronald Reagan Center. This year’s event will focus on energy security, and speakers and panelists will examine energy imports/exports, grid reliability and cybersecurity, among other topics. The featured keynote speaker is Rep. Ed Whitfield, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, as well as our friend Brendan Williams of AFPM.
Heller to Headline Geothermal Event – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. The program will provide an update on the US and international geothermal industry featuring release of the 2015 Annual Geothermal Industry Update and presentations and panel discussions by key leaders in US and international development, finance, technology, policy and regulatory issues. Nevada Sen Dean Heller will lead a list of speakers.
Jewell Heads to Senate Energy – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for the Department of the Interior. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will testify.
Kenderline to Address NatGas Roundtable – Tomorrow at Noon, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host Melanie A. Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis of the Department of Energy will be the guest speaker at the next luncheon.
RFF to Look at Climate Engineering – Resources for the Future will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. to look at climate engineering. On February 10, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released two major reports on climate engineering (also known as geoengineering), to help inform the ethical, legal, and political discussions on climate “intervention.” At this seminar, a panel of experts will first review the reports’ major findings and then consider their political and economic implications. The release of the reports comes at a critical moment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent Fifth Assessment Report suggests that the window for addressing global warming is fast closing. This year, the international community is working toward a post-Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The United States has already announced new bilateral cooperation with China and India on renewable energy development and climate action. Climate engineering has long hovered on the fringes of these conversations. Panelists will include NRDC’s David Goldston, former House Science Committee Chair Bart Gordon, EDF’s Steve Hamburg, and NOAA’s Admiral David Titley.
Ambassador, Louisa Rep to Focus on Japan, US Energy Issues – The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is hosting a forum on adapting to a new energy strategy for U.S., Japanese, and Asian energy security.” This event will be held tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in 2322 Rayburn. The event will detail the findings of NBR’s two-year program on “Adapting to a New Energy Era” and will feature panel discussions with senior experts on energy security, including Minister Yasushi Akahoshi from Embassy of Japan in the United States and Rep. Charles Boustany.
CSIS Paper to Look at Trade Issues – On Wednesday morning, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will release a new paper, Opportunities in Strengthening Trade Assistance, the final report of the CSIS Bipartisan Task Force on Trade Capacity Building. The task force, co-chaired by Reps. Charles Boustany and Jared Polis, met in 2014 to determine how the U.S. government can best implement TCB programs that build physical, human, and institutional capacities across the developing world and allow countries to benefit from trade and investment opportunities. CSIS’s new paper highlights the critical role that TCB can and should play in an evolving U.S. development agenda. The report distills lessons from past TCB efforts and builds a practical.
McCarthy Heads to House Energy, Approps – EPA Head Gina McCarthy will visit the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for EPA. Then on Thursday, McCarthy will head to the House Approps Panel on Interior and the Environment.
Kerry Hits House Approps Subpanel on Budget – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations reviews the State Department’s fiscal 2016 budget on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies and while ISIS, Iran and Other Foreign affairs topics will be on the agenda, expect some discussion of global warming and international climate efforts.
RFF to Discuss AB 32 Legislation – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday assessing progress under California’s AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Program. At this RFF seminar, experts from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will examine the market, emissions, and economic data behind California’s successful climate agenda as detailed in their recent report: Carbon Market California: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Golden State’s Cap-and-Trade Program, Year Two. Presenters from RFF, EDF, and California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, will discuss the current and future direction of the state’s climate policy, including the status of accomplishments such as putting a carbon price on transportation pollution and establishing a climate dividend for ratepayers. Speakers will include EDF’s Tim O’Connor and Derek Walker, as well as PG&E’s Ray Williams and Melissa Lavinson.
Forum to Look at EERE Budget – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 210 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute — in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus – will host a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal released by President Obama on February 2. The Administration’s overall $4 trillion budget proposal provides a renewed focus on addressing climate change, and would invest $7.4 billion in clean energy technology programs across all agencies, led by the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture. This briefing will focus on the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), whose budget would increase 42 percent over 2015 enacted levels, to $2.7 billion. Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will give an overview of the EERE budget requests, explain the Office’s budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years.
CSIS Forum to Look at Latin America, Oil/Gas – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the CSIS Americas Program will host David Voght and John Padilla, Managing Directors at IPD Latin America, on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss recent developments in Latin American oil and gas markets. Carl Meacham, Director of the Americas Program at CSIS, will discuss the political implications of these shifts in the energy landscape. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.
Forum to Address Mexico Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on Mexico’s energy reform and its exciting promise and challenges. The event will feature a conversation with Juan Carlos Zepeda, the head of Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), Mexico’s upstream oil and gas regulatory agency charged with playing a key role establishing and overseeing the rules of the road governing Mexico’s reform process. He will chart the progress CNH has made to date implementing the reforms, offer a real-time update on the energy reform regulatory infrastructure, and explain the efforts CNH has undertaken to ensure the regulations provide for energy sector transparency. The Atlantic Council’s David Goldwyn will also provide commentary.
Australian Ambassador, US Trade Rep to Discuss Free Trade – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Pacific Partners Initiative will also host an armchair discussion with H.E. Kim Beazley, ambassador of Australia to the United States and Deputy U.S. trade representative Wendy Cutler. The discussion will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Australia-U.S Free Trade Agreement and consider the achievements of the past decade.
Moniz Heads to House Energy Approps – The House Energy and Water Appropriations panel will examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for DOE on Thursday withEnergy Secretary Ernie Moniz testifying.
Bracewell Experts to Lead Platts LNG Conference – Platts will hold its 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference Thursday and Friday in Houston, Texas. The event will feature a number of key LNG players including Philip Olivier of GDF Suez, Bill Allen of Dominion Cove Point and my Bracewell colleague Kevin Ewing and Kristin Gibbs, among several others. Issues covered will include North American exports from Canadian and US East, West, and Gulf Coast facilities, with focus on regulatory questions, timelines and contracts; Global competition and export capacity in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Russia focused on growth outlook and competitive forces/differentiators. They will also look at issues like regional demand and pricing.
Conover, Louda to Talk CHP at Webinar – On Thursday at Noon, the Combined Heat and Power Assn and Grayling will hold a joint webinar looking at state energy efficiency programs and how many of them impact combined heat and power. The webinar will feature speakers from CHP Association, Grayling, and experts in state energy efficiency policies. Speakers will include Our friends Dale Louda of the CHP Association and former DOE official Dave Conover.
Foxx Hits House Approps Subpanel on Transportation Issues – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation reviews DOT’s fiscal 2016 budget on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Secretary Anthony Foxx testifies with Highway Trust Fund concerns, oil train car rules and infrastructure updates all on the agenda.
AGs head to House Oversight Hearing – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpanel on Interior will hold a hearing looking at U.S. EPA air and water rules and their impacts on states. A number of state attorneys general suing to stop their implementation will testify as well as a number of economists who have done studies outlining impacts. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will lead the hearing with NERA Economic Consultants Anne Smith and David Harrison also on the agenda.
Green Tie Event Set – The 14th Annual Green Tie Affair will be held on Thursday evening at the Capitol Riverfront District The USGBC National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR), the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC), and the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) host one of the premier social events for the clean energy industry. In addition to the usual activities, this special edition of the event will serve as a kickoff for what promises to be a landmark year for sustainable building in our region, as DC prepares to host 30,000 guests for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in November.
IEA Official to Present Oil Market Report – On Friday at 9:30 a.m., CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program will host Antoine Halff, Head of the Oil Industry and Markets Division at the International Energy Agency, to present the IEA’s 2015 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.
Forum Focused on Geopolitics of Energy – On Friday, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a forum on the geopolitical implications of rapid change in energy markets. The AICGS Foreign & Domestic Policy Program will hold for a conference focused on a German and American perspective of global energy markets. Experts from both countries will discuss their work on topics such as the future of fuels and cities, instability and the resource nexus, and energy and statecraft.
Forum to Discuss Solar Jobs – Next, Monday at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Solar Foundation will hold a briefing on the recently released 2014 National Solar Jobs Census. The Census found that the solar industry added 31,000 jobs last year, accounting for 1.3 percent of all new U.S. jobs, and representing a growth rate almost 20 times greater than the national average. Today, 173,807 Americans are employed in the solar industry, almost twice as many as in U.S. coal mining. Speakers for this forum are Solar Foundation head Andrea Luecke, GW Solar Institute head Amit Ronen, DOE’s Mike Carr and SunEdison’s Matt Herzberg.
CP CEO to Address US Chamber Energy Forum – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host their CEO Leadership Series luncheon featuring on Tuesday, March 3rd art Noon featuring Ryan Lance, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ConocoPhillips. Lance will address the current state of the oil industry and challenges it is facing with lower oil prices.
Interior Official to Address Policy Issues at UColorado—The University of Colorado Law School will host Deputy Secretary of Interior Mike Connor for a policy speech on March 10th.
Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 17th at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy. Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.
Forum, Simulation to address Cybersecurity Risks – The 3rd Annual Information and Cyber Governance, Data Analytics and Privacy Briefing will be Held at the National Press Club on March 18th. The program will focus on identifying, protecting and responding to today’s growing internal and external cybersecurity risks. SEC Deputy Director Scott Bauguess and FTC General Counsel David Shonka will headline a number of speakers. During the conference in addition to the moderated Q and A format, the audience will participate in an exercise using a hacking simulator. It has the strategic rigor of chess and the feel of a turn-based card game. The “Game of Threats™” allows executives to better understand the complexity and fast-paced nature of deciphering threats and crafting the proper response, highlighting the importance of making the right move at the right time to thwart the hackers. My Bracewell colleague and expert on cybersecurity Shamoil Shipchandler is a great resource on the issue.
AHRI to Host Annual DC Meeting – The Heating and Air Conditioning trade association AHRI will hold its annual Washington Conference on March 24-25th. More on this as it comes into shape.
WSJ ECO:nomics Conference to Feature Leaders – On March 25th to 27th, the editors of The Wall Street Journal will hold its ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, CA. The event brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, environmental experts, policy makers and leading thinkers at ECO:nomics 2015 to identify and assess the most compelling opportunities — and pressing risks— emerging around the world in businesses impacted by the environment. Through on-stage interviews with leading figures and interactive sessions with peers in diverse industries, participants at ECO:nomics 2015 will debate, discuss and get the inside story on essential issues: investing in innovation, disrupting current business models, the new meaning of sustainability and the future of the environmental movement, where energy policy is heading. Speakers will include Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, WV Sen. Jo e Manchin, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, coal magnate Bob Murray, former Brightsource CEO and current Google exec John Woolard, Dan Yergin, T. Boone Pickens and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute.