United States: ML Strategies Energy And Environment Update: Week Of 12/15/2014

ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE

Energy and environmental issues abounded on the congressional as well as international fronts last week, and they will continue to play a prominent role in the last couple of weeks of 2014.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change celebrated its 20th anniversary this December, with international climate negotiations in Lima, Peru December 1-12. The Lima talks mark the 20th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and the 10th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. After two weeks of talks, and more than 36 hours after the talks were scheduled to end, climate negotiators reached a modest agreement this past weekend for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that will be finalized next year in Paris. Under the Lima Call for Climate Action, 196 countries pledged to craft nation-specific plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by early next year, but participants delayed decisions on other significant and divisive measures, including the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Negotiators agreed also to a separate draft negotiating text that will form the basis for the Paris discussions next year.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called December 9 for transformative climate talks, and the Green Climate Fund passed its $10 billion threshold for the year after receiving a $60 million pledge from Belgium. United States Secretary of State John Kerry led the U.S. delegation in the final days of the talks beginning December 10. Environmental groups continue to push negotiators to retain language pledging more than 190 nations to a goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius, as outlined in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

Congress sent the $1.1 trillion CROmnibus package to President Obama's desk late last week. The measure was originally Representative Donna Christensen's (D-VI) legislation requiring the Department of Interior to assemble a team of experts to study the energy needs of the United States' insular areas; the spending bill was added as an amendment. The hybrid omnibus and continuing resolution (H.R. 83) funds the federal government through next September. Most federal agencies receive full treatment under the measure, with the Department of Homeland Security receiving and CR through February.

The bill appropriates $34.2 billion for energy- and water development-related programs for fiscal year 2015, a $100 million increase from last year, including $27.9 billion for the Department of Energy. The measure funds the Yucca Mountain repository. It also continues policy riders from previous spending bills that prohibit the Department of Energy from implementing or enforcing energy efficiency standards for certain incandescent light bulbs and Administration guidance restricting the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from financing coal-fired power plants

The measure would cut the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by $60.1 million compared to last fiscal year, a reduction four times smaller than President Obama's request, primarily due to retaining funding levels for water infrastructure loan programs. The package includes policy riders that would impact environmental regulation, including, within the State Department, a prohibition on U.S. contributions to the global Green Climate Fund. The administration's $3 billion pledge has yet to be included in a budget request, so the language is purely symbolic.

Funding for fiscal year 2015 would be steady or slightly higher for agencies within the Department of Interior, which overall is funded at about $10.7 billion, up from 10.5 billion in fiscal year 2014, but regulatory decisions on the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act will be barred.

Congress approved December 12 the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1847). The measure included several bipartisan energy provisions, including extending a Bureau of Land Management pilot program that hastens the processing of oil and gas permit applications; incentivizing natural gas vehicles by removing a CAFE credit cap for natural gas dual-fueled vehicles; and allowing non-federal hydroelectric development at 11 Interior-controlled projects in the West.

Following the midterm elections, Democrats are picking up some new members in several committees and losing seats in others.

Senate Democratic energy and environment committee assignments, announced last week, are as follows:

Energy and Natural Resources:

  • Ranking Member: Senator Maria Cantwell (WA)
  • New members: Mazie Hirono (HI), Angus King (ME), Elizabeth Warren (MA)
  • Returning members: Ron Wyden (OR), Bernie Sanders (VT), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Al Franken (MN), Joe Manchin (WV), Martin Heinrich (NM)
  • Departing members still in the Senate: Brian Schatz (HI), Tammy Baldwin (WI)
  • Members leaving the Senate: Mary Landrieu (LA), Tim Johnson (SD), Mark Udall (CO)

Environment and Public Works:

  • Ranking Member: Barbara Boxer (CA)
  • Returning members: Tom Carper (DE), Ben Cardin (MD), Bernie Sanders (VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Jeff Merkley (OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Ed Markey (MA)
  • Departing members still in the Senate: Tom Udall (NM), Cory Booker (NJ)

Senate Republicans named December 15 four new members, all moving from the House, to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee: Senators-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will become committee chair. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) will leave the committee.

Senate Republicans named December 15 three new members to the Environment and Public Works Committee: Senators-elect Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) will assume the committee chairmanship.

On the House side, Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) will replace Senator-elect Cory Gardner (R-LA) as the chair of the House Energy Savings Performance Caucus. Mr. Gardner co-founded the caucus with Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) in 2012. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will become a co-chairman of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), following Representative Henry Waxman's (D-CA) retirement.

The Senate will focus on finalizing the one-year tax extenders package (H.R. 5771) and completing a series of nominations issues before adjourning the 113th Congress this week. Energy nominations that remain high on the calendar include Colette Honorable for a spot on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; John Cruden to serve as assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Environmental and Natural Resources Division; Estevan Lopez to head the Bureau of Reclamation; and Christopher Smith to serve as assistant Energy secretary for fossil energy.

The 113th Congress comes to a close this week, and we will do one final wrap up in next week's update before turning our attention fully to the 114th Congress and the final two years of the Obama Administration. In the meantime, stay tuned for energy and environment updates in the next few days.

The weekly Energy & Environment Update from ML Strategies provides an overview of what's happening on and off Capitol Hill and around the world that may impact energy and environmental policies and industry players. Read the update here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.