We are returning from a bizarre weekend that capped the first week of the new Trump administration. Whew!!!! Let’s just leave it at that…Hope you had a good chance to enjoy all-star Sunday with the NHL All-Star Classic and the NFL’s Pro-Bowl. Seriously, whoever thought of the 3-on-3 tournament deserves an award. The play was phenomenal and the ceremonies announcing the top 100 players of all-time were just as good. Of course, next week gear it up for Super Bowl LI live from Houston on Sunday.
We were all pretty busy last week with discussions of social media blackouts, web page changes and executive orders. I know I spoke with more of you that I have in a long time… BTW, if are writing on the regulations EO today or are thinking about Paris based on what you might have read about the Trump Administration pulling out, feel free to call. We can discuss.
This week, the pace continues as we’ll see votes for Zinke for Interior and Perry for Energy tomorrow in Senate Energy and a vote on Scott Pruitt for EPA at Senate Environment on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the House rolls into Congressional Review Act items today and tomorrow at the House Rules Committee covering the Stream rule, BLM waste prevention rule and Interior’s Methane flaring rule (as well as a couple of other not related to environment). Other hearings on Wednesday include Senate Commerce hearing looking at unnecessary regulatory burdens featuring API’s Jack Gerard and NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, House Transportation on infrastructure featuring FedEx CEO Fred Smith and House Energy panel hearing on cybersecurity of the grid.
On Thursday, Waste Management hosts its annual Sustainability Forum with Dana Perino on Thursday at the WM Phoenix Open, a great PGA event for this week. This year, my friend Toni Beck hosts a panel with Fox News star and former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and Fox News Democrat Contributor Julie Roginsky will address the current political environment and the Trump Administration. WM CEO Jim Fish will also speak.
Finally, with the all the moves on energy and the environment, it is timely and relevant to attend to the two important Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) events on Friday and Saturday. On Friday at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017.” On Saturday, SEJ holds a mini-conference at NYU’s DC Campus looking at covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water Chief Tracy Mehan, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and many more.
Remember, next Wednesday February 8th, The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will release their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook at a Washington, D.C. press event. The Factbook provides insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment. They have also added our friend and new Head of SEIA Abby Hopper to the list of speakers. Mark it down…
Finally, Congrats to our Bracewell colleague Salo Zelermyer who will take over Valero Energy’s Washington DC office. A former DOE Counsel, Salo is a great resource for you and I suspect, he will continue to be one. We wish him well and of course, we will continue to work with him.
“This new administration has promised to aid manufacturers that have had to endure an unprecedented number of regulations which increased the cost of doing business in America, harmed consumers, stifled job creation, and hurt our global competitiveness. Removing SCC calculations as a justification for regulations is an excellent place to start.”
HVACR Trade Assn President Stephen Yurek Urging the White House to Reject the Increase in the Social Cost of Carbon in Rulemakings.
IN THE NEWS
Zelermyer to Head Valero DC Office – Former DOE Counsel and Bracewell expert Salo Zelermyer will head Valero Energy’s Washington DC office the company announced today. Valero said Zelermyer will join the company as Vice President Federal Affairs and Counsel. Zelermyer is currently a Senior Principal at Bracewell LLP, serving in the firm’s Policy Resolution Group for eight years. Prior to that time, Zelermyer was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy. “We are very excited to have Salo join us and lead our team in Washington during this very dynamic time” said Jason Fraser, VP Public Policy and Strategic Planning. Zelermyer will assume his new position with Valero on March 1. Craig Felner, the current VP Federal Affairs, has decided to leave the company to join a government relations consulting firm in Washington, D.C. His last day will be February 10, 2017. “Craig has been a strong voice for Valero while heading up our Federal Affairs team in the Washington D.C. office” said Fraser, “We thank him for all his contributions to the company and wish him well with his future endeavors.”
Bay Resigns From FERC – FERC Chair Norman Bay resigned late last week after President Donald Trump’s replaced him as the agency’s chairman Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. The action leaves the Commission with on two members – a non-voting quorum – that risks federal decisions on multibillion-dollar natural gas pipelines and other infrastructure actions. Among the pipelines waiting for approval are Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover project and the Atlantic Sunrise system by Williams Partners LP. Spectra Energy’s Nexus system and National Fuel Gas Co.’s Northern Access expansion. Commissioner Bay’s resignation only underscores the need to get a new slate of FERC Commissioners in place as quickly as possible. There are numerous actions before FERC that are timely and require action. It must be a priority to get the FERC team in place so these important projects and issues can be addressed.
Who is on the list – With three Republican commissioner openings and quick action needed, who might be tapped? Media reports and FERC experts say McConnell Energy staffer Neil Chatterjee is clearly a top, likely choice. Some have suggested that our Bracewell DC Managing Partner Mark Lewis, who does a ton of FERC Pipeline work, is a good candidate. Other top names include Montana PUC Commissioner Travis Kavulla, NARUC President Robert Powelson, NAERC’s Janet Sena, Greenberg’s Kenneth Minesinger, Crowell & Moring Richard Lehfeldt, (former counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power) and Bill Marsan, general counsel at American Transmission Co.
AHRI to White House: Reject Social Cost of Carbon Increase – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) today called on President Trump to withdraw the Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis. This analysis, commonly referred to as the Social Cost of Carbon, was reached through a closed-door, non-transparent process by an exclusive interagency working group created under the previous administration. “By using the SCC as a basis for cost-benefit analyses to validate unreasonable efficiency regulations — without stakeholder input on the estimates – we believe the previous administration violated its responsibility under the Administrative Procedures Act,” stated AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. Several of the rules affecting the HVAC industry have been issued using these analyses have not adequately considered higher equipment costs for consumers or energy, production costs, and job losses for manufacturers. “To correct these errors and prevent similar issues in future rulemakings, AHRI respectfully requests that the President direct federal agencies to cease using the SCC analysis and prevent its further use in the rulemaking process,” said Yurek.
Consumer Cleaning Product Ingredient Safety Website Completed – Safety data on hundreds of chemicals in the U.S. consumer cleaning product supply chain have been collected and are now available through the website for the American Cleaning Institute’s (ACI) Cleaning Product Ingredient Safety Initiative (CPISI). ACI announced that more than five years of work on the Initiative has been finalized, providing reams of publicly available data on ingredients in cleaning products. ACI conducted an exposure assessment for each of the nearly 600 ingredients on the Ingredient Inventory that are used in consumer cleaning products. In addition to developing a quantitative estimate of consumer exposure, ACI published on its website a description of each ingredient, including the types of products in which it is used; the form of those products; the ingredient’s function within each of those products; the typical concentration range among the products and the most relevant routes of exposure associated with the use of those products.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – Today at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world. The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.
CSIS Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow looking at deep decarbonization scenarios. Speakers Jeremy Bentham, Global Head of Strategy at Royal Dutch Shell; Philippe Benoit, former head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and current Senior Associate (Non-resident) with the Energy & National Security Program; and Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist at the World Resources Institute, will hold a discussion on the topic. Bentham will present Shell’s new Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions. The report explores possible ways in which the world’s energy system could evolve to meet future demand while simultaneously mitigating climate change. Benoit, formerly of IEA, will discuss the IEA’s 450 Scenario, a 2°C scenario in which concentration of greenhouse gas emissions are limited to 450 parts per million CO2. Kaufman will round out the discussion with a comparison of the Mid Century Strategies, prepared for the Marrakech climate talks by the Council on Environmental Quality.
USEA Holds State of Industry Forum – The US Energy Assn will holds its 13th annual State of the Energy Industry forum tomorrow at the National Press Club Ballroom. Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will come together to engage in dialogue and deliver presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry for 2017.
AGA Experts Examine Energy Use, Benefits in NatGas Commercial Sector – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a press call tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to explore the natural gas commercial sector and its many benefits to the U.S. economy. The commercial natural gas market is comprised of more than 5.4 million customers, 99 percent of which is served by natural gas utilities. It represents every day businesses and public activities such as schools, hospitals, police and fire stations, offices, restaurants, grocery stores, retail outlets and public halls. AGA experts will provide an analysis of the EIA Commercial Energy Building Consumption Survey as well as the potential stimulus to the bottom lines of many American businesses through greater use of natural gas. Check in with Jackie Bavaro (firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-824-7204) if you have questions or wan the call-in numbers.
Senate Commerce Looks at Reg Burdens – The Senate Commerce Committee is hold a hearing on Wednesday on reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens. API’s Jack Gerard, Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro, NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, Hoover Institution Fellow Adam White and former EPA counsel Lisa Heinzerling, all testify.
FedEx’s Smith, Others Headline House Transpo Infrastructure Hearing – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on infrastructure. FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Cargill CEO David MacLennan, BMW CEO Ludwig Willisch, Vemeer’s Mary Andringa and AFL-CIO head Richard Trumpka will all testify.
House Energy Opens Hearing Slate with Focus on Electric Cybersecurity – On Wednesday at 10:15 a.m., the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on the electricity sector’s efforts to respond to cybersecurity threats.
Forum to Look at Climate Risks in Latin America – The Inter-American Bank will hold a dialogue seminar on Wednesday to look at climate risks in Latin America. The discussion on these questions will include climate and energy experts. There will also be a presentation of the Inter-American Development Bank’s new report, “Stranded Assets: a Climate Risk Challenge.”
CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.
WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open. In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments. An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.
Former NRC Commissioner Heads Discussion on Nuclear Waste Documentary – The George Washington University’s Elliot School will hold a forum and screening on the documentary film “Containment” Thursday at 5:00 p.m. “Containment” by Peter Gallison and Robb Moss is about the effects of nuclear waste cleanup left over from the Cold War. Among the speakers will be former NRC Commissioner Allison Macfarlane, who now heads the Center for International Science and Technology Policy in GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with AP’s Seth Borenstein, Politico’s Elana Schor, John Siciliano of the Washington Examiner, BNA’s Amena Sayid and several others.
Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.
IN THE FUTURE
JHU to Host McNally Book Event – The Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS program will host Bob McNally next Monday at 5:00 P.m. to discuss his new book, “Crude Volatility – The History and Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices.” World oil prices have fallen drastically over the last two years, spurred partly by the rise of tight oil production in the US, and by OPEC’s failure to cut production. Recently, in an effort to raise oil prices, OPEC is attempting to regroup and has agreed to lower its production. Will it succeed? This is one of the questions to be discussed at this energy forum which will also review the history of oil prices. Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director at Clearview Energy Partners will serve as the commentator.
Forum to Look at RGGI Issues – The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center, and Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a webinar next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. States participating in RGGI are engaged in their 2016 program review to evaluate the emissions trading system and consider potential changes. In the course of this review, the idea of an emissions containment reserve (ECR) mechanism has been proposed to address a common issue confronting cap-and-trade programs worldwide: the prices for emissions allowances tend to be significantly lower than program designers anticipate in advance, making mid-course corrections necessary for it to perform as intended. This webinar will bring together experts and representatives from states, electric generators, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to consider this new approach for ensuring that the RGGI emissions trading program functions as designed and examine the finer points of how such a reserve might work and be implemented. Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and UVa’s William Shobe.
Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Wednesday, February 8th. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance team up for the fifth time to identify key U.S. energy statistics and trends.
Reporters Look at Enviro Priorities – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday February 8th at Noon at the DC Bar to look at the environmental priorities of Congress and the new Administration. Although these issues played a minor role in the election, they pose numerous challenges for federal policymakers. What will be the environmental priorities of the new administration? What environmental legislation might be enacted by the 115th Congress? Our friends John Siciliano of the Wash Examiner, Inside Washington’s Jeremy Bernstein and Josh Kurtz of E&E News will address these and other issues.
Energy Efficiency Day Set for Hill – The Alliance to Save Energy will host Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) on Wednesday, February 8th at 2:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen. The event returns to Capitol Hill for a dialogue on the keys to driving energy productivity and prosperity in the 115th Congress. This year promises to be pivotal for both protecting the important policy and regulatory gains we have enjoyed in the past decade, but also and importantly, for securing innovative policies, funding and programs that advance energy efficiency in this new political environment. As we have seen over the last eight years, energy efficiency policies and initiatives have a proven track-record of increasing energy productivity and delivering a strong return on investment. GEED will highlight policies and initiatives that are proven to increase energy productivity and have a strong ROI, while also identifying new legislative opportunities that fit within the 115th Congress’ and the incoming Administration’s focus areas of economic growth, tax reform and aging infrastructure.
Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on February 9-10th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources. Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.
CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday February 16th at 10:00 a.m. with President of RBN Energy Rusty Braziel, ESAI Energy’s Managing Principal of Petroleum & Alternative Fuels Sarah Emerson, and IHS Energy’s VP of Oil Markets (Midstream and Downstream) Kurt Barrow on where U.S. domestic and global oil and gas markets are heading in 2017. We enter the new year with higher oil prices, but also the continued questions around the implementation of and compliance with announced OPEC and non-OPEC supply cutbacks, resurgent U.S. production, enormous stocks, potential increases from Nigeria, Libya, and elsewhere, still-enormous stocks, and various forecasts of new demand growth.
RTOs Speak at Grid Forum – WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Speakers include Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), as well as Midcontinent ISO’s Clair Moeller, Southwest Power Pool’s Mike Ross and Craig Glazer of PJM Interconnection.
RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on February 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports. At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion. Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.
ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market. Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.
CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas. CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world. A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak. See the list here.
Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes. Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure. Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.
GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.
Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel. More on this in the future.