This week is Thanksgiving week, so after last week’s madhouse of transition and congressional issues, I am ready for a break. While many people think Thanksgiving was first started by Ben Franklin and George Washington in 1789, a formal “Day of Thanksgiving” in November was first declared by John Hanson, Maryland Statesman and first President of the United States in Congress Assembled” under the Articles of Confederation, in 1781, eight years prior to Washington’s proclamation. While there were several days of thank giving and fasting issued by earlier leaders like John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay and Samuel Huntington, none of them resembled the last Thursday in November proclamation made by Hanson as the Treaty of Paris negotiations were being finalized.
A few other reasons for giving thanks: My son Adam is currently learning huge life lessons during a service trip in Haiti with a few classmates from his school. The reports we are getting from the ground are amazing and humbling. He has his camera (and as some of you may know, he has a great eye) so I hope he is using it to take some great pictures.
Sports thanks: Delaware won 19 straight games to win its first NCAA Field Hockey Championship. And Messiah College (PA), defeated both Babson and Tufts over the weekend to win the D III title. Both Babson and Tufts snuck by Hannah’s team earlier this year in close hard-fought battles. And Jimmy Johnson is celebrating again and giving thanks after winning his 7th NASCAR championship last night.
Finally, one more “Big League” giving of thanks to Metallica, who on Friday released it 10th studio album Hardwired to Self-Destruct. And having heard it all, it is ridiculous. I cannot wait for the tour!
Activities are limited this week, but today Gina McCarthy speaks at the National Press Club and look for ethanol RVOs for 2017 perhaps tomorrow.
Last week, my colleague Bracewell LLP’s Jeff Holmstead and NAM’s Ross Eisenberg sat down for an in-depth discussion with E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi on the impact President-elect Trump could have on U.S. EPA, climate regulations, the Obama administration’s new methane rule and the future of the electric power grid. With all the transition talk, I also included our Bracewell PRG election analysis one more time in case you missed it last week.
And special kudos to my colleagues Dee Martin and Salo Zelermyer, who last week were 2016 Hero Award Honorees at the annual Recognizing Heroes Awards Dinner & Gala. Martin and Zelermyer were honored for helping young women who had been abducted by terrorists abroad and escaped from their captors make it to the United States safely and legally.
See you shortly at the National Press Club where Gina McCarthy will give her final address as EPA Administrator. We still have a couple extra tickets at our Bracewell tables with Holmstead and Segal if you are interested in attending… Let me know quickly. And if you need a preview, E&E News veteran Rod Kuckro has an in-depth interview with Gina that is detailed and Interesting.
Have a great Thanksgiving and travel safely… Call with questions.
“Master of Puppets, to me, is the greatest modern heavy metal album ever made. Pound for pound, song-wise, musically, sonically, production – it’s just fantastic…that is the template for every great heavy metal album.”
Corey Taylor of Slipknot interviewing Metallica
PRG ELECTION ANALYSIS
Bracewell PRG Election Update – The 2016 election results have significant implications for companies across a wide range of industry sectors. From environmental policy to financial services to tax reform, President-elect Trump has committed to sweeping action on a variety of fronts, and will have a Republican-controlled House and Senate to work with on priority issues. Nevertheless, the GOP-led Senate is not filibuster-proof, and many of the finer points of Trump’s agenda remain unclear. Accordingly, it is important for interested stakeholders to begin thinking through how their own priorities will track with the next President and Congress. The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP (PRG) has prepared this post-election report to identify some of the key issues slated for action in Washington next term. Our team of lobbyists, lawyers and strategic communications professionals combines decades of experience working on these issues in the private sector, on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies—and stands ready to help our clients make sure their voices are heard by policymakers and the public. For further details on the election results, click here.
Bracewell Webinar Sees Massive Attendance – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group experts held an election wrap up on Wednesday with more than 500 participants. Here is the audio file from Wednesday’s Bracewell PRG Election Analysis webinar: https://bgllp.sharefile.com/d-sdf9ccd676b94f6f9 Here is a list of the speakers:
- Host/Intro: Dee Martin
- Scott Segal
- Jeff Holmstead
- Salo Zelermyer
- Josh Zive
- Curt Beaulieu
- Paul Nathanson
- Ed Krenik
- Former TX Sen Kay Baily Hutchinson
- Our guest: Doug Sosnick
VIDEO: Election Day Takeaways and What to Expect in the Trump Presidency – Dee Martin and Scott Segal, co-heads of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, discuss their reactions to the surprising results of the 2016 elections and what to expect during the first 100 days of a Trump administration. view video…
VIDEO: Outlook for the Clean Power Plan and Other Environmental Issues – Scott Segal, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and Jeff Holmstead, head of the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell and former EPA Air Office head, discuss how the next President and Congress will confront issues such as climate change, the Clean Power Plan, and other environmental regulations. view video…
VIDEO: Outlook for Energy Policy – Dee Martin, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer discuss what the results of the election may mean for oil and gas, renewable energy, and fuels. view video…
Detailed Policy Papers for PRG Here – There are also written policy analysis papers on the PRG site that details impacts of the election on a number of key issues, including Environment, Energy, Trade, Tax Issues, and Appropriations/Budget.
IN THE NEWS
Interior Rolls out Tougher 5-year Plan – The Obama Administration’s finalized five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program, which sets the lease sale schedule for 2017-2022. Release of the Proposed Final Program, along with the accompanying Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, is one of the final steps in a multi-year process that was initiated in June 2014 to develop a final offshore leasing program for 2017-2022. The plan for offshore oil and gas drilling schedules 10 region-wide leases in the Gulf of Mexico from 2017 through 2022 and another in Alaska’s Cook Inlet in 2021. But the agency dropped its March draft proposal to offer leases in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2020 and 2022. The OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a Five-Year Program that includes a schedule of potential oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing determined to best meet national energy needs, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations. For more information on the 2017-2022 Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including maps, please visit: http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/.
You Need Experts? – If you have additional questions, my colleagues Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638, email@example.com) and Jason Hutt (202-828-5850, firstname.lastname@example.org) are great experts and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the decision, as well as how this decision might be impacted by the new Trump Administration.
Chamber Blasts Interior Plan – Chamber Energy Institute Karen Harbert said today’s announcement limiting offshore energy production is “one of the final nails in the coffin of the Obama administration’s anti-growth energy agenda. With this plan, the administration keeps as much as 90% of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf off limits for exploration, including all areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. In doing so, the administration is ignoring the will of the American people who understand that offshore energy production is good for American jobs, economic growth, and energy security. In particular, this plan is an affront to the people of Alaska and the Gulf States, whose concerns have been ignored by this administration. We call on the incoming Trump administration and the new Congress to immediately rescind and replace this plan and put America back on a path to fully utilizing its offshore energy resources, while continuing with already planned lease sales.”
SAFE Raises Questions about Viability – Securing America’s Future Energy President Robbie Diamond is also concerned about the Impacts it will have on future production. Leslie Heyward can:
IPAA Says Plan Writes off 80% of Federal Lands – Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President and CEO Barry Russell said the offshore plan “places more than 80 percent of offshore federal lands, including the already-planned Atlantic waters, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and even Alaska’s energy-rich waters, off limits for future development. The United States needs more energy, specifically oil and natural gas, to meet its future demands, according to the Obama Administration’s own energy data agency. Instead, this administration is abandoning America’s energy potential and is threatening our role as a global energy superpower. This final offshore program raises serious questions as to why this administration, at the 11th hour, chose to ignore recommendations by its own energy data agency.
“Make no mistake, taking American offshore energy resources off the table for the next five years will eliminate well-paying jobs and reduce the billions of dollars in much-needed revenues that go to fund schools and road repair projects in local communities. Most importantly, locking up our offshore energy supplies will cause U.S. energy prices to rise, limiting the amount of hard-earned wages American families get to keep each month.
“The administration should allow more access to our vast energy resources, not less. It’s disappointing that this administration, with just two months left in office, has chosen to take the low, politically-motivated path and dictate the nation’s offshore program for the entirety of President-elect Trump’s four-year term.”
Methane Rule Released – The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management said it has finalized its Methane Waste Prevention Rule. Read a fact sheet from BLM here.
Challenge BLM’s Venting and Flaring Rule – Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) immediately challenged BLM’s final rule regulating venting and flaring from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands. In its claim filed before the U.S. District Court in Wyoming, the trade associations call BLM’s rule a broad new air quality regime that goes beyond authority granted by Congress. The trades are represented by Eric Waeckerlin and Kathleen Schroder of Davis Graham & Stubbs. When operating on public lands, businesses already comply with air quality regulations mandated by EPA. BLM’s venting and flaring rule creates duplicative regulation that conflicts with EPA requirements. Authority to regulate air quality was designated to the EPA under the Clean Air Act, yet, BLM has tried to assume this role under the guise of reducing waste from oil and natural gas production.
Global CCS Institute: Global CO₂ Storage Resource Exceeds Need – The Global CCS Institute said global carbon capture and storage resources exceeds what is required to meet future climate change temperature targets at a presentation last week. Presenting at the 13th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Global CCS Institute Senior Storage Adviser, Dr. Chris Consoli, said almost every high emitting nation of the world had substantial storage resources. “A great deal of the world’s CO₂ storage resource has now been assessed. For example, the US Department of Energy (DOE)11 published an atlas last year that estimated between 2,000 and 20,000 billion tons of storage resource in North America alone.” “The International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that approximately 90 billion tons of storage capacity is needed if carbon capture and storage (CCS) is to contribute its targeted 12 per cent of emissions reductions. In 2050, this equates to about 6 billion tons per year. In addition to China, other countries which have been assessed and boast large storage resources are Canada, the United States, Norway, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
API Tags Voters on Energy – API released an election night survey of actual voters across the country, and the findings reveal that more than 80% of voters agree that U.S. oil and natural gas production can help achieve each of their most important priorities: job creation (86%), economic growth (87%), lower energy costs (82%), and energy security (85%). With drivers saving more than $550 in fuel costs and household budgets growing by $1337 due to utility and other energy-related savings in 2015, it should come as no surprise that voters appreciate the positive economic impact of U.S. energy. Americans not only recognize the benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance but they also support actions that would build on our position as the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer.
Study: No Widespread Impacts on Drinking Water – Speaking of API, they also released a new study of hydraulic fracturing which shows finding of no “widespread, systemic” impacts on drinking water from hydraulic fracturing. Report, authored by Catalyst Environmental Solutions, shows that the EPA’s finding of no widespread effects to drinking water quality is supported by state and federal regulatory reviews, and dozens of recent peer-reviewed case studies. EPA’s six-year, multi-million dollar, national study, was released as a draft Assessment report in 2015 and determined that fracking has not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water as it lifted economic fortunes for millions of Americans. The new report by Catalyst, “Quantitative Support For EPA’s Finding of No Widespread, Systemic Effects to Drinking Water Resources from Hydraulic Fracturing,” concludes that: “If there was a significant correlation between impaired drinking water resources and hydraulic fracturing, that connection would be manifested in the areas that EPA evaluated. This finding is corroborated by a large, credible body of case studies and scientific literature.”
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
McCarthy to Address Press Club – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will address the National Press Club on next Monday November 21st at Noon. McCarthy plans to focus on the environmental and public health legacy of the Obama Administration, with an emphasis on efforts to combat the global effects of climate change.
Thanksgiving – November 24
IN THE FUTURE
RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum on Monday November 28th looking at disaster losses and climate change. At this event, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions and author of The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, will explore the human causes of disaster and the new technologies and policy tools available to minimize their impact. In the book, he examines how decisions made today—about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings—determine whether a disaster can be withstood tomorrow.
NatGas Roundtable to Host Resources Staff Director – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Bill Cooper, staff director for the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Senior Policy Advisor on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow.
WCEE to Host Discussion on Energy Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch panel next Tuesday, November 29th at the Solar Foundation on energy storage and its role for the solar and energy industries. As solar costs continue to decline, increased emphasis is placed on energy storage. Get a primer on different types of energy storage applications and which ones are economically viable now, why energy storage is critical in the long-term and lessons learned from real projects that are currently operational. Kerinia Cusick from Distributed Energy Innovation will give an overview of the storage activities around the globe and Chris Cook from Solar Grid Storage will talk about solar and storage integration.
NPC Newsmakers to Host Forum Energy Tax Credits – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host a forum Tuesday, November 29th at 2:00 p.m. in the Zenger Room to discuss extending energy tax credits provisions. More on this next week when panelists are finalized.
Senators Headline Rachel Carson 75th Celebration – EESI will host a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene on November 30th. Leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress will all speak at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event. Participants include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Tierney and several newly-elected environmental champions. They will be joined by environmental leaders including Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign; Zoe Ackerman, Rachel Carson Council; and others. Confirmed award-winning authors include Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream; Jennifer Ackerman, The Genius of Birds; Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats; Melanie Choukas-Bradley, A Year in Rock Creek Park; Susan Cohen, Shorewords, and Bob Musil, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters and Washington in Spring. Their books will be available for purchase and personal signing.
Forum Looks at State RPS Implementation – The 2016 National Summit on Renewable Portfolio Standards will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Dupont Circle Hotel. The forum focuses on developments and trends related to state RPSs and to network with many of the people from across the country who are most engaged in implementing and analyzing state RPSs. The annual Summit is hosted by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), with funding support from the Energy Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.
CSIS to Look at Renewable Energy – On Wednesday, November 30th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the outlook for the electric power sector and the future role of renewables. The U.S. electric power sector is in the midst of a transition. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) both produce annual outlooks that asses long-term trends in renewable energy, which help understand the changes to this sector. Doug Arent and Wesley Cole will outline the scenarios developed by NREL Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ethan Zindler will summarize the key findings of the BNEF study published earlier this year.
USEA to hot Coal Council Head on Carbon Capture – The United States Energy Association will host a forum on Wednesday, November 30th at 2:00 p.m. featuring National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellucci. At the event, Gellucci will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks: Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”
WRI Hosts Book Launch of Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change – On Thursday, December 1st at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a book event looking at climate change and its impacts on Bangladesh. Like most developing nations, Bangladesh emits a fraction of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet it is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, facing increasingly severe flooding, droughts and cyclones. Climate scientists estimate that rising sea levels alone will displace 18 million people by 2050. David Hulme will launch his co-authored book, Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change: Keeping Our Heads above Water, and discuss the findings of the book with a participants and a panel of experts.
Wilson to Launch Report Launch on Climate, Migration, Conflict – On Friday, December 2nd at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center the launch of a new report with USAID called “Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World,” which goes beyond the headlines to explore these connections. A panel of experts from across the lanes of climate, migration, and conflict will discuss practical advice for policymakers and how to think about these interlinked dynamics. Climate change and migration present major challenges to societies that policymakers have a responsibility to grapple with, but their relationship is rarely direct, conflict is not a common outcome, and migration is not always evidence of failure.
AGA to Host NatGas Roundtable with New Board Chair – On December 2nd at 9:00 a.m., the American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media roundtable for Pierce H. Norton II, President and Chief Executive Officer of ONE Gas, Inc. and AGA’s Chair of its Board of Directors for 2017. Norton will Be joined by AGA head Dave McCurdy. Norton became the first president and CEO of ONE Gas, Inc. after it separated from ONEOK Inc., in January 2014. Prior to ONE Gas becoming a stand-alone publically traded company, he served as executive vice president, commercial, of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners.
Saudi Oil Minister to Address CSIS Forum – On Friday, December 2nd, CSIS is hosting His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to reflect on a career that spanned more than six decades in the Kingdom’s energy work, including 21 years (1995-2016) as Minister of Petroleum.
Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on December 8th and 9th at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas. Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry. Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.
AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.