L’Shana Tovah to all… Last night at Sundown began the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning the “beginning the year.” It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days which culminates next Wednesday with Yom Kippur. I’m thinking about tomorrow too as it has been 17 years since the terror attacks on 9/11 in NYC and DC.
Maybe a New Year or Day of Atonement is an appropriate transition to the Saturday Women’s US Open final. I am a big fan of Serena and think she and Venus have done fabulous things for tennis. While I agree with her that the umpire was wrong and will likely never get another important match (I have some experience in officiating as you all know), I still have problems with her meltdown which has completely overshadowed the first ever grand slam win by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who by the way has a great story. My take: She is definitely a role model and should have swallowed the umpire’s terrible call on the coaching warning and tried to overcome it. After Serena let down her mental game – impacted by a bad umpiring decision – Osaka, who had the upper hand in the match, taking the first set 6-2, finished her off. Lots of columns and opinions on this in the media from great sports reporters like Christine Brennan and Sally Jenkins, but bottom line for me is, the umpire was terrible, you have to deal with it. BTW, Novak Djokovic blasted past Juan Martin del Potro for a straight set win 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 on Sunday for the Men’s title that was much less controversial.
Before we look at this week, just a word about Sunday’s Washington Post article about EPA staff leaving in droves. First, my friends Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin wrote a very good story, but I am shocked it made it to the front page/above-the-fold Sunday. As one who has watched EPA for many years, it seems likely that this EPA staff would be expected to leave as they are. In other words, it should not surprise anyone. The staff at EPA has be experienced and aging for some time and we expected this type of exodus. Many thought it would happen sooner, but perhaps the Obama EPA’s second-term aggressiveness on environmental policy may have kept some there a little longer. I’m sure it is also partly ideological: certainly is not surprising to think that some of the EPA retirements are driven by the Trump approach. Finally, the Trump team all along has said they were going to reduce staff at EPA. In fact some have wanted to reduce it much more that 8%. The fact that it is only down by about 1,000 employees is not really that much given the on-going planning/reorganizing. We have great experts on this, so happy to discuss.
Light schedule this week as Congress looks for the exits for the Midterm elections on tap and the Jewish holidays. On Wednesday, the votes begin on the budget. Majority Leader McCarthy told the media the House will vote on the final first minibus which contains Energy and Water budgets. Both chambers will only be in town for a few days, with the House and Senate out until Wednesday for Rosh Hashanah. POLITICO adds the schedule leaves just seven working days when both chambers are in session before the Sept. 30 funding deadline. More budget mini-buses in the coming days…
Also today, in a special edition episode of our great Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop, Scott Segal tackles the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule with Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and former EPA Air office head Jeff Holmstead. Check out the details here.
The biggest story this week is out in the Golden State where Gov. Jerry Brown is hosting big climate summit. Beyond the summit, there are a ton of political and policy events running sidebar including one from our friends at C2ES and many more. Speakers include Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg and many more. I have discussed this with some of you already and I am happy to do more should you need comment, historical perspective and climate policy background.
Finally, sad news to lose our friend Sam Bodman who served as Energy Secretary during the Bush Administration, who passed away over the weekend at 79. Hurricane Florence is growing and is expected to potentially hit the North/South Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday. We’ll will keep an eye on it and stay safe. Call with questions. Best,
c. (202) 997-5932
“Sam had a brilliant mind, and we are fortunate that he put his intellect to work for our country as Secretary of Energy. I am proud that he was a member of my Cabinet, and I am proud that he was my friend.”
Former President George Bush and former first lady Laura Bush mourned the loss of former Energy Secretary Sam Bodman in a statement marking his passing on Saturday.
ON THE POD
Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – In a special edition episode of The Lobby Shop, Bracewell PRG Co-Head Scott Segal takes the reigns with an interview of President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, Karen Harbert, and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.
Wash Times Has Special Section on RFS Reform – The Washington Times had a special section last week which detail need for renewable fuel standard (RFS) reform. Among the writing on the issue were key comments from Senators who raised concerns about the current RFS and why it needs to be fixed. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the federal mandate for corn ethanol is “both unwise and unworkable” adding roughly 40% of corn in the United States is currently used for fuel, which increases the price of food and animal feed while also damaging the environment. Additionally, oil companies are unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for some gas stations and older automobiles. Feinstein: “Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) added that the RFS is outdated, created when energy consumption relied heavily on foreign imports. Cassidy: “It was thought that the Renewable Fuel Standard would be good for our environment by decreasing the carbon footprint. But in the last 10 years, our energy landscape has changed dramatically. We now have more domestic oil than almost ever before, and the drawbacks of the RFS greatly outweigh its benefits.” Finally, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said while a well-intentioned idea, the “promised environmental benefits of the RFS have yet to be realized” and in fact, “may well be hurting” the environment. Udall says we need a forward-looking plan that offers “visionary reforms to put us on a cleaner and more sustainable path. The changes represent a giant step forward to combat the urgent threat of climate change, cut pollution, and protect our planet for future generations.” There is much more from Congress on the need for reform HERE.
IN THE NEWS
MIT Tool Helps Building Planning Reduce Climate Emissions – A new software tool from researchers at MIT was rolled out last week to help architects or engineers design a new building to better reduce climate emissions. Often, it’s done only at the end of the process — if ever — that a lifecycle analysis of the building’s environmental impact is carried out. And by then, it may be too late to make significant changes. Now, a faster and easier system for doing such analyses could change all that, making the analysis an integral part of the design process from the beginning. The new process, described in the journal Building and Environment in a paper by MIT researchers Jeremy Gregory, Franz-Josef Ulm and Randolph Kirchain, and recent graduate Joshua Hester PhD ’18, is simple enough that it could be integrated into the software already used by building designers so that it becomes a seamless addition to their design process. Lifecycle analysis, known as LCA, is a process of examining all the materials; design elements; location and orientation; heating, cooling, and other energy systems; and expected ultimate disposal of a building, in terms of costs, environmental impacts, or both. Ulm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH), says that typically LCA is applied “only when a building is fully designed, so it is rather a post-mortem tool but not an actual design tool.” That’s what the team set out to correct with this new tool. To the researchers’ surprise, they found use of their LCA system had very little impact on reducing the range of design choices. “That’s the most remarkable result,” Ulm says. When introducing the LCA into the early stages of the design process, “you barely touch the design flexibility,” he says.
Senator Unveil Advance Nuke Blueprint – A bipartisan group of senators led by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), a comprehensive blueprint for the U.S. to once again lead the world in next-generation nuclear power. The bill (S. 3422) would direct the Department of Energy to establish specific goals to align the federal government, national labs and private sector in efforts to accelerate advanced nuclear technologies. The language echoes the Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act (S. 1457) from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Booker, which the Senate energy panel approved in March. It would also require DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop a 10-year strategic plan that supports advanced nuclear R&D goals. NELA addresses the lack of domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which will be needed to fuel most advanced reactors being designed. NELA establishes a program to provide a minimum amount of HA-LEU to U.S. advanced reactor developers from DOE stockpiles until a new long-term supply is developed. NELA also initiates a long-term power purchase agreement pilot between the DOE and utilities to procure nuclear power and reauthorizes nuclear engineering scholarships to maintain a robust pipeline of nuclear engineering talent.
EIA Report Says CO2 Emissions Continue to Drop – Newly released Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. CO2 emissions from energy dropped by roughly 1% last year. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 7 of the past 10 years, and they are now 14% lower than in 2005. Last year, emissions from electricity production fell by 4.6%. The shift toward natural gas from coal lowers CO2 emissions because natural gas produces fewer emissions per unit of energy consumed than coal and because natural gas generators typically use less energy than coal plants to generate each kilowatthour of electricity. Electricity generation from renewable energy technologies has increased; these technologies do not directly emit CO2 as part of their electricity generation. In EIA’s emissions data series, emissions from biomass combustion are excluded from reported energy-related emissions according to international convention.
DOE Announces Advanced Vehicle Research – The Department of Energy said the selection of 42 projects totaling $80 million to support advanced vehicle technologies that can enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, and enhance U.S. economic growth. This work supports DOE’s goal to invest in early-stage research of transportation technologies that can give families and businesses greater choice in how they meet their mobility needs.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
WAPA, DTF Forum to Highlight Diesel Issues –Today at 11:30 a.m. at Engine Co 12 in NW DC, the Washington Automotive Press Association and the Diesel Technology Forum held a lunch to look at the true ‘state of diesel’ in the U.S. automotive market. Speakers include GM’s Global Diesel Executive Director, Pierpaolo Antonioli and GM’s Regional Chief, Engineer, Mike Siegrist. You will also hear the very latest IHS Markit diesel vehicles-in-use data for the United States; and get details about new research on the benefits of new-technology diesel pickup trucks.
Interior Official Addresses ESA at Heritage Forum – Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will address a forum at The Heritage Foundation today at Noon to discuss the department’s proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.
JHU to Feature Rockefeller Foundation President – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) host a forum next Monday at 12:30 pm in its Kenney Herter Auditorium featuring Dean Vali Nasr and a conversation on affordable and clean energy with the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rajiv Shah.
Field Hearing to Look at Salmon Runs, River Policy – The House Natural Resources Oversight Subcommittee holds a field hearing today at 1:00 p.m. in Pasco, Wash focused on the federal Columbia River power system. The hearing will review a dispute that played out in Congress in the minibus that impacts salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington State. Officials from the Bonneville Power Administration, Washington Association of Wheat Growers and Nez Perce Tribe will testify.
SF CLIMATE EVENTS Tomorrow:
- PRI: https://www.unpri.org/events/pri-academic-network-conference-2018/2835.article
- C2ES: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayors-and-business-advancing-climate-action-tickets-48701062188
- Land-Energy Nexus: https://globalclimateactionsummit.org/events/the-land-energy-nexus-in-climate-change-mitigation/
- Defenders of Wildlife: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/panel-event-developing-large-scale-renewable-energy-responsibly-tickets-48487265717
- The Diesel Technology Forum webinar: https://www.dieselforum.org/webinar/carbon-cutting-industrial-size
- Wilson Center w/Gina McCarthy: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/global-climate-action-summit-women-policy-leaders-driving-change-global-climate-policy
- NPR/Climate One w Gina McCarthy: https://climateone.org/events/lets-talk-solutions-global-climate-action-summit
Forum to Look at Southern Gas Corridor – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosts a conversation about the Southern Gas Corridor and European energy security tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. In the wake of new developments in constructing and completing the Southern Gas Corridor, a key priority project for European energy security, our expert panel will discuss the progress already made, challenges still ahead, and opportunities for the future.
Forum to Look at Smart Cities in Latin America – The Inter-American Dialogue holds a discussion tomorrow on smart cities in Latin America.
Methanol Forum Set – Argus hosts its Methanol Forum Wednesday and Thursday in Houston at the Westin, Memorial City. Issues include trends in the methanol industry, the potential impact from crude and natural gas markets, regional perspectives, including in-depth analysis of China and the emerging Indian market and the outlook for methanol derivatives including biodiesel and olefins. Our friend Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute is among the speakers.
BioEnergy Conference Set – The Mid-Atlantic Bioenergy Council (MABEC) holds a conference and expo at CityView in Philadelphia Wednesday through Friday.
Coal Council Meets in Norfolk – On Wednesday and Thursday, the National Coal Council meets in Norfolk for its Fall meeting to discuss coal-related issues. Lou Hrkman of DOE will speak.
Climate Summit Set for SF – The Global Climate Action Summit will be held in San Francisco on Wednesday through Friday. The forum will bring leaders and people together from around the world to support action on climate change. It will also feature action by states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action. It will also be a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement. States and regions, cities, businesses and investors are leading the charge on pushing down global emissions by 2020, setting the stage to reach net zero emissions by midcentury. Speakers include Gov. Jerry Brown, UNFCCC head Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Canadian Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna, musician Dave Matthews, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Alec Baldwin, Jane Goodall, Andrea Mitchell, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
SF Wednesday/Thursday/Friday Events:
- Paris Mayor: https://www.c40.org/events/cities4climate-the-future-is-us
- Atlantic Council: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/events/upcoming-events/detail/california-stories-grounded-perspectives-on-climate-policies-and-actions
- Harvard School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/2018/08/12/childrens-health-the-measure-of-success-when-addressing-climate-solutions-a-discussion-of-what-we-know-what-we-dont-know-what-we-need-to-know/
- C2ES Meeting Paris: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meeting-the-paris-goal-strategies-for-carbon-neutrality-tickets-48699807435
- Oil/Autos: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oil-autos-transition-planning-for-a-low-carbon-future-tickets-48741670649
- Stanford Woods Institute: https://woods.stanford.edu/news-events/event/2009-epa-endangerment-finding-even-stronger-evidence-2018
- ELI: https://www.eli.org/events/breaking-news-uncertain-future-californias-vehicle-emission-standards
WCEE to Host Forum to Highlight Women in Energy Stories – Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s (WCEE) Career Building Section hosts a reception and discussion at USEA about challenges and opportunities for women working in energy. Our friends Vicky Bailey and Sheila Slocum Hollis will share their expertise on overcoming obstacles, discuss skills required for convening stakeholders, and bring examples of leading towards practical solutions for the real world.
Forum to Look at AVs – Axios hosts a conversation on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the Long View Gallery looking at how autonomous vehicles and transportation technology will impact the future. Speakers will include Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella and SAE International CEO David Schutt.
Senate Enviro Looks at Advanced Nuclear – Following last week’s introduction of bipartisan energy legislation, the Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on advanced nuclear technology. The hearing will look closely at safety and associated benefits of licensing accident tolerant fuels for commercial nuclear reactors.
House Science Panel Look at EPA Glider Truck Rule – The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees hold a joint hearing on Thursday examining the underlying science and impacts of glider truck regulations. Witnesses include regulation, risk, economics expert Richard Belzer and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer.
Senate Energy to Look at European LNG – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the role of U.S. LNG in meeting European energy demand.
House Oversight to Look at Disaster Response –The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. evaluating Federal disaster response and recovery efforts. FEMA Administrator Brock Long Army Corps of Engineers Scott Spellman and Lynn Goldman of the Milken Institute will testify.
Post to Host Space Forum – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., The Washington Post along with American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) will bring together key government officials, renowned scientists and leaders in the field of space exploration for a program examining the many factors shaping American leadership in space, the new “space race,” the future of space tourism and exploration that could lead to a future beyond Earth. Speakers include VP Mike Pence, NASA head Jim Bridenstine, Bill Nye and many more including current and former astronauts.
ABA to Host SCOTUS Enviro Event – Friday at Noon, the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and the Section’s Constitutional Law Committee will hold an in-depth review of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions effecting environmental issues. Panelists will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s environmental jurisprudence and his potential impact on the Supreme Court.
Electric Cars on Display on National Mall – National Drive Electric Week launches in Washington on Sunday with events from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW). At the event, you will learn about electric vehicles and see the latest models on the National Mall.
IN THE FUTURE
Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Next Monday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Plant Oil Powered Diesel, Inc. is hosting a panel discussion on the carbon tax, featuring industry, environmentalist and citizen views. More on the panelists as we get closer next week.
CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.
Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on September 20th at 11:00 a.m. From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy. National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.
Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday September 21st in Norfolk at the Hilton Main. The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.
CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard. The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.
Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.
EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building. The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.
SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint. Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.
Shale Insight Set For Pittsburgh – Shale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns. SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators. You can see the agenda HERE.