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

Last Updated: December 17 2014
Article by David J. Leiter

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
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions