Energy Watch: What's Happening This Week in Congress

The Hill reports on the action taking place on energy this week in Congress:

In the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee is marking up GOP legislation that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a permit for the tar sands pipeline within 30 days.

Transportation Bill

The Senate Finance Committee is marking up the portions of
its Transportation package preparing for a fight over vastly increased offshore drilling and opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will include provisions to approve the tar sands pipeline; Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) filed an amendment to approve the pipeline and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling; Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) filed an
amendment to mandate major offshore leasing expansion.

Renewed every five years, the Federal Transportation Bill funds the nation’s infrastructure. The House version, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012 looks more like an oil drilling bill and less like a true proposal to fix our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

"Not only will this scheme further our nation’s dependence on oil, thereby exposing the economy to more risk from volatile oil
prices spikes, but the payments from oil and gas leases won’t arrive in the treasury for years to come. At best, they will generate a few billion dollars in revenue, yet the gap in transportation funding is much larger," says Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). 

On the Democratic side, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and John Kerry (D-MA) are floating a plan to extend the renewable energy production tax credit through 2013.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) filed an amendment for the Finance markup that would repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil companies.

House Democrats, at the Energy and Commerce markup, plan to offer an amendment that would bar U.S. exports of oil from the Keystone pipeline.

"The pipeline can’t wean us off oil no matter how much tar sands are pried out of Canadian soil. But at least we don’t have to add insult to the environmental injury that this pipeline will cause," says Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) in a statement.

"At least we don’t have to acquiesce to Transcanada’s vision of the U.S. as the mere middleman between Alberta and Asia. I hope we can all agree – if the pipeline is built, the oil and the refined fuels should stay here," he says.

Solyndra continues

After receiving GOP threats to pursue contempt charges, the White House sent them hundreds of more internal documents related to Solyndra.

During the course of the investigation, the White House has turned over about 1,500 pages of documents, and 185,000 pages have been submitted by federal agencies.

Most Anti-Environmental House Ever

The League of Conservations Voters, which annually scores Congress on enviromental votes – for and against – released the 2011 National Environmental Scorecard today.

"The 2011 National Environmental Scorecard is a sad testament to the radical nature of the U.S. House of Representatives in the first session of the 112th Congress," says Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. "We applaud those members who opposed the multitude of attacks on vital public health and environmental protections in 2011. However, it’s deeply disappointing that so many members chose to put corporate polluters and other special interests ahead of the health and well-being of their constituents."

The House voted over 200 times in 2011 on bills that would endanger clean energy, roll back key environment protection, and public health.

A major indicator of the change in landscape in the House for 2011 is that the average lifetime score of members defeated in the 2010 election cycle was 73% while the average 2011 score of the House members who replaced them is 15%, says LCV.

"In 2011, the House Republican leadership unleashed a truly breathtaking and unprecedented assault on the environment and public health, the breadth and depth of which have made the current U.S. House of Representatives the most anti-environmental in our nation’s history," says LCV President Gene
Karpinski. "LCV is grateful to the Obama administration, allies in the Senate and House, and the millions of people across the country who helped to ensure that the House leadership did not succeed in gutting our nation’s cornerstone environmental and public health protections in 2011."

While the House voted against the environment a shocking number of times, both the U.S. Senate and the Obama administration stood fast against the vast majority of
these attacks. Indeed, not only did our cornerstone environmental protections emerge from 2011 largely unscathed, the Obama administration also made major progress through administrative actions to protect our air and water, says LCV.

For over 40 years, LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health and energy issues.

Here’s the 2011 LCV Scorecard:

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Comments on “Energy Watch: What's Happening This Week in Congress”

  1. Sterlingsilverq

    I don’t understand why these things are even talked about in Washington… this is totally ridiculous. Private Property can sort out all the big problems with externalites. But there’s no doubt all these dumb Politicians who can’t see the root of all these issues and all the wasted time are getting loads of money for pushing the legal gun certain ways. Orrin Hatch is an old dinosaur well versed in Political Cronyism- and he says he’s the most Conservative in Washington.
    He thinks the Government should be blowing up computers without due process- this is what happens when you spend half a lifetime in Washington.


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