I hope everyone enjoyed some slower times in August. While I was able to get away a little, it just seemed like we were busy every week doing something from Iran to the Clean Power Plan to the Alaska visit.
And this week gets crazier for me personally. While my girls are already well into the school year and their field hockey schedules, Adam heads off to boarding school on Wednesday in Charlottesville. He is very excited and has been bouncing off the walls the last two weeks. I can also confirm for the record that his sisters are very pleased with departure.
Well now that the break is over and Congress readies itself to reengage as we run toward the next big thing (on the environment, at least): the late-year Paris UN Climate meetings. On that, I would suggest one look at the Iran deal for how it might play out. Of course, Iran and nuclear weapons is a little more significant for global security issues, while any climate treaty will likely have significant economic impacts if implemented without much hope of slowing global warming.
But before we get to that cheery note, we have a lot to get to in Congress: the Pope is coming to DC and the SEJ Conference will be October 5-8 in Norman, Oklahoma.
It will be a busy week this week as people come back, but get ready for the pace to really pick up next week. Generally, this week is all about Iran, but tomorrow our Friends Amy Harder, Darren Goode, and Kate Sheppard talk energy politics at 9:30, while later in the week House Science goes to town with several hearings including two on the Clean Power Plan’s impacts, and finally, House Energy will vote in Subcommittee Thursday on lifting the ban on crude exports. Remember former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold is one of your best experts on the topic. You can get him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also today, our friends at Morning Consult have launched a new feature where they will profile a Washington DC Insider, and I was honored that they asked me to be the inaugural issue profile. Just remember, you can’t believe everything you read: http://morningconsult.com/2015/09/frank-maisano-earns-his-media/
Finally, with the NFL launch this weekend and the high school/college football launch last weekend, I would just like to remind you that we are only 30 days from hockey season… Don’t want that to get lost in all the hoopla over BYU “Doug Flutie” passes, unhappy San Antonio HS players blasting a HS official from behind because they were losing and, well…anything about Tom Brady.
IN THE NEWS
EPA Delay GHG Plan Publication Date – Following the August 3 announcement of the President’s Plan to regulate GHGs from existing power plants, EPA said the intended to publish the rule in the Federal Register by this past week. But at the end of August, they announced that wasn’t happening, suggesting a late October publication was more likely. While many initially speculated that this would be done purposely to avoid having a stay issued before Paris after opponents sued over the rule, others suggest another problem cropped up as well: the overall complexity of the rule is so challenging that they were never going to make that labor day weekend deadline in the first place.
States Ask for Immediate Stay – Sixteen states led by West Virginia told the federal court they needed an immediate stay of the Clean Power Plan, not when the rule is published in the Federal Register in October. “With EPA’s response to this Court’s briefing order, it is now clear that the States will suffer months of irreparable harm before they can possibly obtain a stay under the ordinary statutory procedures,” the states wrote. Publication makes a rule official, starting the clock for both compliance and legal challenges.
NYT Emails Exposé Details GMO Debate Using Third Parties – Over the weekend, our friend Eric Lipton of the New York Times struck again with a nicely-written piece on detailing the efforts by advocates on both sides of the GMO debate to use third party advocates. While the tactic isn’t really new or surprising (I know if it being used by both sides all the way back to campaigns surrounding the Kyoto Climate Treaty in 1997), Lipton uses email to underscore the elaborate details of what has become a high-stakes fight with the US Senate getting to consider legislation the House passed this summer to limit states from imposing labeling requirements on GMO foods.
Stonyfield CEO Responds to NYT – Stonyfield CEO and Just Label It Chair Gary Hirshberg said “big biotech companies like Monsanto and big food companies like General Mills and Pepsi have spun the science to fight our right to know what’s in our food and how it’s grown. Nine out of ten Americans — regardless of age, income or even party affiliation — simply want to decide the right to know if GMOs are in their food, the same right held by consumers in 64 other nations. The Senate and the Obama Administration should look at all of the science — including clear and convincing evidence that GMO crops have fueled an explosion in weed killers linked to cancer — not just Monsanto’s “science” and reject legislation passed by the House to block state and federal GMO labeling.”
SoCo Rolls Out New NEST Products for Improved EE – Following its big move into the natural gas business recently with its acquisition of AGL resources, Southern continued its move to an “all-of-the-above” with a major energy efficiency announcement, rolling out the new NEST third-generation product line — the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Protect and Nest Cam — which will be available to Southern Company system customers. Southern CEO Tom Fanning said by offering customers innovative tools to create a truly connected home, Southern Company and Nest will help families better manage their energy use and improve their quality of life. Residents in Georgia can already get the Nest Thermostat at no cost when they sign up for Georgia Power’s Smart Usage Rate plan. In addition to retail locations and Nest Pro installers, select Nest products will be available through over 40 energy and enterprise partners, including subsidiaries with Southern Company.
CRUDE Report Says Export Ban Would Keep Gas Price Lower – Prices at the pump for American drivers have been substantially discounted because U.S. crude oil is kept in America, and that will continue to be the case as long as the export ban remains in place, according to a new study released today by The CRUDE Coalition. The study also reports that since the domestic oil boom, domestic gasoline prices are no longer tied to European pricing. The study by the consultancy Baker & O’Brien examines historical relationships between the prices of crude oil and gasoline, undermining the assumptions of a study just released by the Energy Information Administration, as well as the assumptions of several pro-export studies that had argued gasoline prices would drop if the export ban were lifted. The study also provides further evidence that domestic gasoline prices would in fact rise if crude-export restrictions are lifted. The report followed an EIA report that was less certain about price impacts. More info here.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Reporters to Talk Climate, 2016 – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge, Climate Nexus hosts a moderated discussion about how climate change and clean energy will factor into the 2016 election season. Panelists will include POLITICO’s Darren Goode, Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal, George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication Director Ed Maibach and Kate Sheppard of HuffPost.
Forum to Offer Paris Climate Preview – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Joseph Aldy, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) to discuss current and expected Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, to take place in Paris later this year. The Paris 2015 conference–the next conference under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in 1992–is highly anticipated around the globe but is yet another step on the longstanding pathway to coordinated global action. As was determined in Durban, South Africa in 2011, the goal of negotiations is an agreement with legal force that is applicable to all. Each country has been subsequently charged with arriving in Paris with predetermined climate goals, in the form of an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). Following an overview of the content and purpose of the INDCs, the expert panel will discuss comparability between already submitted INDCs, those yet to come, and the accompanying Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) processes.
NRC Commissioners Head to House Energy – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the House Energy Committee’s Subcommittees on Energy & Power and Environment & the Economy will conduct an oversight hearing on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Witnesses will include Commissioners Jeff Baran, Stephen Burns, William Ostendorff and Kristine Svinicki.
Forum to Look at Energy Storage – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the Korea Institute of Energy Research, and the Global America Business Institute will hold an energy roundtable discussion on Wednesday at noon focused on renewable energy storage. Matt Roberts, Executive Director of the Energy Storage Association will be the speaker.
RFF Seminar to Look at Scarcity, Conservation – Resources for the Future will hold its September First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. conservation and scarcity. Environmental policies typically reflect an assumption that today’s scarcities will be tomorrow’s scarcities. Yet in the past, many social and technological innovations have radically altered the nature of scarcity, often reducing environmental impacts in the process. Several current trends (in agriculture, materials use, energy, and water) suggest that, with the right policies and investments, the human footprint could peak and decline in coming decades. The seminar will feature the release of a new report from the Breakthrough Institute, Nature Unbound: Decoupling for Conservation, and discuss several of its key themes: how humans destroy nature, how they save nature, and what this implies for conservation. Panelists will include Linus Blomqvist of the Breakthrough Institute, Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University and George Mason University fellow Thomas Lovejoy.
House Science Panels Tackle GHG Rule – The House Science will hold two hearings on Thursday and Friday on the impacts of the Administration’s GHG plan. On Thursday, the Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Energy will hold a joint hearing examining vulnerabilities of America’s power supply. Witnesses will include University of Colorado Boulder expert Daniel Baker, Nadya Bartol of the Utilities Telecom Council, EPRI’s Richard Lordan and M. Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University. On Friday, Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on State perspectives of how EPA’s Power Plan will impact power plants.
House Energy Panel to Take Up Export Ban – the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Panel on Energy and Power will vote Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on Joe Barton legislation to lift the 40-year-old crude oil export ban. A good resource on this topic is topic is former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold who testified before the same panel earlier this year raising concerns about such a move. You can reach Lippold at email@example.com
CSIS Forum to Look at Civil Nuclear Agreement – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a discussion on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. looking at the road ahead for the U.S.-ROK civil nuclear energy agreement. This event will look at the challenges and issues with the implementation of the 123 agreement, the outlook for it in Congress, and the overall context of the agreement. This event is on the record and open to the public. Panelists will include Gary Samore, Executive Director of Research at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Sharon Squasonni, who serves as Director and Senior Fellow of the Proliferation Prevention Program at CSIS.
Forum to Addresses Air Capture – The U.S. Energy Association holds a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at air capture technology’s role in decarbonizing global energy systems. In order to meet targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit the most severe effects of climate change, levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere must not exceed 450 parts per million. While fuel switching, energy efficiency, and conservation are critical pillars to reduce CO2 emissions, they are insufficient to deal with fugitive emissions or cancel out past emissions. Air capture, or the technological ability to remove CO2 from air at least 1000 times more effectively than biomass presents a promising option to achieve the IPCC’s goal. This presentation will outline strategies for economically deploying air capture and discuss its role as one of the sustainable solutions to climate change. The speaker at USEA will be ASU’s Christophe Jospe, who runs the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at ASU.
Trauzzi to Address CHP Conference – The Combined Heat and Power Assn (CHP) will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting on September 14-15th at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The theme of this year’s conference is CHP: Providing Resilience and Security in an Uncertain Energy World. With the changing landscape of energy generation in the U.S. and the strain on an aging electric grid, energy solutions that are not only cost effective and efficient–but most importantly resilient–are needed to secure our energy future. This conference will highlight the ways in which combined heat & power is the best answer for our resilient energy needs while also providing numerous other benefits. The conference will feature a number of new elements including CHP Association’s inaugural Solution Summit aimed at fostering meaningful discussion among attendees on ways to increase CHP deployment. In addition, there will be a trade show to highlight companies and organizations working in the industry, and a full day conference that will explore the conference theme of resilience. E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi will be the keynote speaker.
WCEE Forum to Look at Enviros View of NatGas Fracturing – Next Monday, the Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment (WCEE) launches its Lunch & Learn Series, which will aim to bring you perspectives from all sides of this issue. The first will be an environmental viewpoint from NRDC and EPA on hydraulic fracturing. Speakers will include NRDC’s Sharon Buccino and EPA’s Caroline Ridley. I suspect a few of our good natgas WCE members may have some tough questions.
CIBO to Hold Annual DC Meeting – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will also be meeting in Washington on Tuesday September 15th ahead of their October annual meeting. The agenda includes GHG discussions, along with rule on Methane, Coal ash, and WOTUS.
NJ to Host Lawmakers on Crude Exports – Next Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., National Journal will hold a forum with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to explore the building momentum around crude oil exports. NJ will pose questions like will lifting the ban make America more competitive or will it increase greenhouse gases by promoting oil exploration? Will it raise energy prices, even though recent studies predict a drop in fuel prices as a result of more American oil in the market? And many more.
Atlantic Council to Look at Iran, NatGas – Next Tuesday, September 15th at Noon, the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion on the future of Iranian energy, particularly natural gas, in a post-sanctions world. The panel of Atlantic Council fellows includes Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, President of SVB Energy International, Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent for Al-Monitor, and Dr. Brenda Shaffer, Visiting Researcher and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. Yeganeh Torbati of Reuters will moderate the interactive discussion on the latest insight on the Iran agreement in light of the pending US Congressional vote, Iran’s energy policy priorities in the near and medium term, particularly as it relates to natural gas, the outlook for foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector and the geopolitical implications of Iranian natural gas development.
Giuliani to Address Shale Insight – The 2015 Shale Insight Conference will be held in Philadelphia on September 16th & 17th Over the past five years, the conference has built a reputation for strong programmatic content, including an impressive speaker roster of nearly 100 industry experts, political figures and concurrent technical and public affairs session panelists who share their expertise. Attendees at the 2015 conference will hear from featured presenters, including: Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and former mayor of New York City, as well as Robert Bryce, journalist, author and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Forum to Look at Ozone Rule – On Wednesday, September 16th at 8:30 a.m., Our Energy Policy is holding an expert panel discussion at the National Press Club on the impacts of EPA’s proposed new standards for ground level ozone on the dynamic energy sector. EPA is expected to announce a new standard for ground level ozone, a smog-forming pollutant. Referred to by some in industry as “the most expensive regulation ever,” the controversial rule will likely reduce the existing standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 or 70 ppb. There is significant disagreement over the likely benefits, costs and impact on public health and the economy of such a change. The Panel includes our friends Ross Eisenberg of NAM, RFF’s Alan Krupnick, AFPM’s Sarah Magruder Lyle and NRDC’s John Walke. Bloomberg’s Mark Drajem will moderate.
Mexican Energy Officials Headline N American Energy Forum – The Mexico and Canada Institutes of the Woodrow Wilson Center are hosting the Second Annual North American Energy Forum on Thursday, September 17th. Over the past year, two new developments have left their mark on North America’s energy markets. The first concerns the impact of low oil prices on the region’s producers, with revenue affecting existing and future projects. Alongside the issue of price, we have seen major developments in all three North American countries. In Mexico, the first round of oil contracts is underway, with contracts awarded for exploration in shallow water in July of 2015. At the same time, we have seen major new investment plans unveiled in the electricity sector. In Canada, major infrastructure challenges and political change in the province of Alberta have altered the investment environment. In the US, the Interior Department proposal to open a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling has generated a highly charged debate, and new EPA rules on emissions have been the subject of analysis and legal challenge. The objective of the forum is to provide insight and draw attention to the challenges and opportunities that these new developments have created. Featured Keynote Speakers include Mexican Under- Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons, Lourdes Melgar and Mexican Under-Secretary of Energy for Electricity, César Hernández Ochoa.
Brookings Hosts Electricity Book Review – On Thursday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host Institute for Electricity Innovation (IEI) Executive Director and ESCI Nonresident Senior Fellow Lisa Wood for a discussion of the evolving electric power industry and future trends. Brookings Institution Trustee and former CEO of Duke Energy Jim Rogers will moderate the discussion. Wood is editor of “Thought Leaders Speak Out: The Evolving Electric Power Industry,” IEI’s collection of more than 20 essays by electric utility and technology company leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders focused on three distinct and interrelated areas driving this transformation: the evolving grid, the evolving customer, and evolving regulation., Attendees will receive a free copy of the book.
Moral March on DC – Climate Advocates will descend to Washington on September 21 to talk about Climate.
Book to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will hold its September Roundtable on Tuesday, September 22nd featuring Kevin Book, Managing Director of ClearView Energy Partners. Book heads the research team at ClearView, an independent research firm that serves institutional investors and corporate strategists. Mr. Book’s primary coverage areas include oil, natural gas, coal and refined products.
Papal Visit Schedule Set – The official schedule is out for the Papal visit in the United States. Pope Francis will arrive at Andrews AFB on Tuesday September 22, meet with the White House and address a Joint Session of Congress before heading to the UN on Friday. He then travels to Philadelphia before heading back to the Vatican on Sunday September 27th.
UN Climate Talks Set – Climate sidebars will be held at the UN on September 24 and 25. President Obama is expected to attend.
Global Citizen Event Set for NYC – On September 26th in NYC’s Central Park, the Global Citizen movement will hold an event focused on taking action to address poverty, environmental and education issues. The event will feature a concert with Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.
UN General Assembly – September 28th
DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California. Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.
GP Bush , Fox to Headline Border Energy Forum – The Border Energy Forum will be held on October 14 – 16th in San Diego, California and will feature Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as its Keynote Speaker. For more than 20 years, the Border Energy Forum has worked to increase regional development of clean energy projects, promote cross-border energy trade, and advance technologies and innovative solutions for sustainable resource management. Other speakers will include former Mexican President Vicente Fox.