Friends,

Holy cow…I still can’t believe Minnesota stayed alive by winning that playoff football game on Sunday.  NHL All-Star game in Tampa this weekend (with the awesome 3-on-3 format), Super Bowl Sunday is just three weeks away and the Winter Olympics starts right after in South Korea.

We are early today because of a number of events in this short week. The bulk of the oxygen this week will focus on the budget with a Friday deadline to extend government funding.  There is also a lot of activity on the trade issues with NAFTA, aluminum, steel, washing machine and solar issues all seeing discussions.  In fact, in an editorial Friday, the Washington Post hit the President’s approach to trade, saying that it be exceedingly difficult to achieve his goal of tearing down international trade actions.  The Post said not all trade deals were perfect, but “broadly speaking, increasingly free trade over the past 70-plus years has brought tremendous benefits both to the hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in Asia, Africa and Latin America and to Americans who have enjoyed a wider choice of quality products, at lower cost, and high wages in export industries.”

As mentioned, Congress is in town despite the MLK holiday yesterday to deal with the budget. Hearings include this morning’s Senate Energy hearing on the domestic/global energy outlook with IEA’s Faith Birol and a Senate Environment hearing on water infrastructure tomorrow.  House Energy looks at Superfund and House Resources looks at onshore energy burdens on Thursday and Friday, a House Energy panel looks at LNG exports.

The Detroit Auto Show started yesterday (Washington’s policy show starts next week) while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, Heritage hosts a NAFTA forum and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 today.  Thursday, the US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club, the Chamber holds an infrastructure summit featuring INGAA’s Don Santa and RFF hosts author/expert Daniel Raimi for a book event on his new natgas drilling book.  On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the natgas and battery revolutions.

Finally, after last week’s reacts to the new 5-year drilling plan and the Florida removal, public hearings start today with a meetings in Annapolis and Jackson Mississippi.  Richmond hosts tomorrow and Thursday, things move to Dover, DE.  More hearings next week and through the end of February.

One last time: we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and electricity markets.

Finally, you know what today is…  I’ve already had a singing gorilla wish me happy 50th in our morning meeting that to my wife Stacey.  Here is a copy of last year’s POLITICO Playbook Birthday of the Day Q&A.  And I noticed that I have dropped to #2 on Playbook’s Jan 16th birthday list…  Labor Sect Acosta shares the day although I have him by one year.  Damn you, Carl’s Jr.!!!!

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We’ve decided that the best thing for our family and for me and I think, frankly, for North Dakota is for me to seek reelection to the House of Representatives.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer in deciding against running for North Dakota’s US Senate seat and incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.

“Mayor de Blasio turned his back on millions of first responders, police officers, firefighters and other public employees who depend on their pensions to provide for themselves and their families in retirement. Government pension managers have a responsibility by law to seek the greatest return for their investors and pensions that invest in oil and natural gas companies have historically delivered a higher return than other investments. Deliberately hurting pension holders, like the fine men and women who keep our city safe, is a disgraceful way to score cheap political points.”

API New York Executive Director Karen Moreau, commenting on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement to divest the city’s pensions from oil and natural gas.

IN THE NEWS

White House Names Fannon to State Energy Gig – So much a for a move to the consulting…Our friend Frank Fannon has been nominated to be an assistant secretary of State on energy resources. Fannon worked at Senate Environment under Jim Inhofe and had an instrumental role in the drafting and passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Previously, Fannon was head of BHP Billiton’s DC office and also worked at Murphy Oil Corporation.

ALEC Chair Hit Solar Tariffs – The national chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), North Carolina State Rep. Jason Saine urged the President reject solar tariffs in a letter late last week.  Saine wrote Increasing tariffs on solar panels risks shuttering one of the fastest growing segments of our economy. According to recent estimates, the solar industry is creating jobs at a rate 17 times faster than the broader economy and employs over a quarter of a million people across the country.  He also added for utilities like Duke Energy, which must select cost-competitive resources (whether they be fuel-based or renewable) when selecting new generation resources to meet customer demand requirements, such cost increases may eliminate solar generation from its evaluation processes entirely.

ETAC Pushes Back On Protectionist Coalition Claims – In additional to the ALEC letter from Saine, the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) responded to a letter from the protectionist Coalition for a Prosperous America urging the president to impose a “global tariff” on imports.  ETAC released a letter that strongly encourages Trump to reject the attempt of two foreign-owned bankrupt solar companies, Suniva and SolarWorld, to use the Section 201 trade law process to bail out their creditors and shareholders. “Tens of thousands of U.S. solar industry jobs in the United States now hang in the balance. A decision to impose tariffs and/or quotas on imported solar components may offer Suniva and SolarWorld the short-term lifeline they seek, but it will do so at the cost of undermining virtually the entire rest of the industry, including hundreds of U.S. solar companies that are healthy, productive and providing good-paying jobs in communities across the country.”

China Imports Actually Increasing – A New piece in RealClearMarkets, Allan Golombek argues unilateral reduction of tariffs last month by China on almost 200 consumer products provides further testimony to the fact that the goal of its trade is not just to increase exports, but also imports. Golombek says after years as the world’s biggest exporter, China is on track to becoming the world’s biggest importer over the next few years, according to a paper prepared by two leading economists for the China International Capital Corporation.

EIA Net Exporter of NatGas – The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the U.S. is now a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time since at least 1957.  Net exports averaged about 0.4 billion cubic feet per day last year, flipping from net inflows of 1.8 billion in 2016.  EIA also said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook for January, which the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to rise from 32% in 2017 to 33% in 2018 and to 34% in 2019, as a result of low natural gas prices. Coal’s forecast generation share falls from 30% in 2017 to slightly lower than 30% in 2018 and 28% in 2019. The nuclear share of generation was 20% in 2017 and is forecast to average 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2019. Renewables provided almost 10% of electricity generation in 2017, and its 2018 share is expected be similar before increasing to almost 11% in 2019. The generation share of hydropower was more than 7% in 2017 and is forecast to be slightly lower than 7% in both 2018 and 2019.  Finally, EIA added that after declining by 1.0% in 2017, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are forecast to increase by 1.7% in 2018 and by 0.2% in 2019. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth and energy prices.

EPA Delays Climate Rule Comment Deadline – EPA will soon announce dates for additional public hearings on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan and extend the deadline to submit comments. As previously reported, additional hearings will be held in Kansas City, MO on Feb 21, San Francisco on Feb 28 and Gillette, WY on March 27.   EPA will keep the record open for an additional 30 days after the last one.

Wind Group Says More Transmission Necessary – POLITICO outlines a new report from the Wind Energy Foundation finds more U.S. transmission lines are needed to meet the growing demand for renewables. Specifically, the report found transmission planners are not accounting for up to 51 gigawatts of potential near-term procurement.  Can send you copy of report if you need it.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show is underway and runs until to January 28th.  The event serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

POLITICO to Host Future of Mobility Event – POLITICO holds an event on “Driverless Cars and the Future of Mobility” today at 10:45 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The United States’ roads and highways will soon be driven by autonomous vehicles, which will fundamentally transform the transportation landscape in this country. This technology has the potential to reshape the communities that we live in and create stronger transportation networks for people of all ages and abilities. POLITICO addressing such questions as: When it comes to mobility, what are the sticking points? Will self-driving cars be a mobility revolution for older Americans and for people with disabilities?

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – This morning at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule which was announced last week.  FERC scrapped DOE’s plan and has now undertaken its own process.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Outlook – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing today at 10:00 a.m. to look at the domestic and global energy outlook from the International Energy Agency’s Fatih Birol.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues –Today at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Today at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings today to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings today in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott), Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on tomorrow and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday.  Other meetings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) and Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future meetings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to look at water infrastructure.  The hearing will feature a panel of witnesses to focus on Federal issues and impacts including Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for water and science Austin Ewell, Idaho Water Users Association executive director Paul Arrington, Contra Costa Water District GM Jerry Brown, Mike DeVries of the Provo River Water Users Association and Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips.

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on tomorrow and Thursday in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Chamber to Host Infrastructure Forum – U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue will headline a summit on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. focused on modernizing America’s Infrastructure. This dynamic, high energy day-long event will serve to jumpstart important conversations on revitalizing America’s infrastructure, ensure that infrastructure is a top policy priority for 2018, and bring together the business community to voice broad industry support.

Senate Energy to Review DOE Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a nomination hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to review the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), and Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary (Environmental Management), both of the Department of Energy.

Small Biz Committee to Look at DOE Energy Assistance – The House Small Business Committee’s panel on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on small business resources at the Department of Energy. The hearing will examine the resources available to small businesses in the energy sector through the Department of Energy.  This hearing will analyze the degree to which these programs are effective at minimizing confusion regarding participation in the federal contracting process and department-specific small business programs.  DOE’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Director Charles Smith will testify.

House Energy Panel to Look at Superfund – A House Energy panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to focus on efforts to reform U.S. EPA’s Superfund program.   Witnesses will Include EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management Barry Breen, Steve Cobb of the land division at Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management, former EPA Superfund director and expert Win Porter, Portland Harbor policy analyst  for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown James McKenna, Debbie Mans of the NY/NJ Baykeeper and expert Katherine Probst.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

House Resources Looks at Onshore Energy Burdens – The House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. examining the Department of the Interior’s actions to eliminate onshore energy burdens.  Witnesses will focus on seismic testing, with drilling proponents vowing to improve the ability to conduct the tests that can find oil under the ocean floor.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

House Energy Panel to Look at LNG – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:15 a.m. looking at legislation addressing LNG exports and PURPA modernization.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

IN THE FUTURE

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – On January 23rd at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum on insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment. Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto Policy, on policy day next Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held on January 23-26th in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday, January 26th at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.