Crimean Tussle Front-and-Center in Congress
The notion that U.S. natural-gas exports can eventually help wean Europe off Russian gas supplies will get a high-profile airing on Capitol Hill next week.
Jaroslav Neverovic, Lithuania's energy minister, will be among the witnesses at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday on U.S. gas-export policy.
The hearing will be the panel's first since Louisiana Democrat (and export advocate) Mary Landrieu became chairwoman of the panel.
Check out the whole witness list here.
TOP ENERGY NEWS
By Clare Foran (@ckmarie)
KOCH BROTHERS HOLD MAJORITY SHARE IN CANADIAN OIL SANDS. A subsidiary of Koch Industries, the multinational corporation owned by conservative financiers Charles and David Koch, wields control over more of the Alberta oil sands than any other leaseholder. (Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)
Our take: Opponents of the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline are sure to use the revelation to cast the proposed project as a sop to the Koch brothers.
HOW UKRAINE WILL TURBOCHARGE AMERICA'S ENERGY FUTURE. The new chill with Russia and chronic instability in the Mideast point to increasing bipartisan support for the U.S. to become an 'energy superpower.' (Michael Hirsh, National Journal)
EXXON TO DISCLOSE HOW CARBON RULES' IMPACT. The oil giant, under pressure from shareholder activists, said it would reveal how climate-change regulations could affect its business and investment plans. (Collin Eaton, Houston Chronicle)
BP'S BIG BUY WON'T PAY OFF FOR A WHILE. BP won the rights to look for oil and gas in 24 tracts of central Gulf waters yesterday, but production isn't expected to occur from any of the leased area for about a decade. (Christopher Martin, Bloomberg)
WHITE HOUSE PREPS TO PLUG METHANE LEAKS. White House adviser John Podesta said Wednesday that the Obama administration is getting ready to release an interagency strategy for curbing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane. (Ben Geman, National Journal)
FEDERAL AGENCY PLANS MOVE ON METHANE. Bureau of Land Management officials said they plan to advance regulations to cut down on methane release. (Phil Taylor, Greenwire)
LANDRIEU TAKES HEAT FROM RUSSIA. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the current chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been included on a list of lawmakers targeted for Russian sanctions. (Bruce Alpert, New Orleans Times-Picayune)
BEALE HAD HAND IN CRAFTING AIR REGULATIONS. Republican senators say that John Beale, a former EPA official who defrauded the agency, was instrumental in designing air-quality regulations that the agency has allowed to let stand. (Timothy Cama, The Hill)
HEALTH AGENCY CHIEF RESIGNS AFTER CLASH OVER CAMP LEJEUNE. The acting director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has stepped down after a clash with former Marines who believe their families were harmed by poisoned drinking water at Camp Lejeune. (Mike Magner, National Journal)
SOLAR GIANT SEES FUTURE IN ROOFTOP INSTALLATION. First Solar, the largest manufacturer of solar panels in the U.S., says that it has seen demand for utility-scale solar projects decline. (Christopher Martin, Bloomberg)
NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Should the U.S. response to Russia include expedited approval of natural-gas exports to NATO countries and Ukraine?
A. Yes, lifting LNG export restrictions would eventually lessen Russia's influence in Europe and erode its power to use natural gas as a political weapon.
B. No, the infrastructure isn't in place to ship LNG quickly enough to impact the current crisis, and boosting exports would raise U.S. natural-gas prices.
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING…
WHO SHOULD PAY TO UPGRADE THE GRID? Given that it will cost upwards of $4 trillion over the next 20 years to modernize electricity, gas, and water lines, is it OK to allow utilities to tack on extra charges to customers' bills to pay for those upgrades? How can consumers voice their opinions as part of the process?
"There is no money tree for our infrastructure, and there is no infrastructure fairy. To suggest that utilities are somehow capable of spending millions, billions, and even trillions of dollars to upgrade infrastructure without passing along those very costs is untenable at best." —Brigham McCown, CEO, Nouveau Inc.
GREEN BUSINESS FORUM. The Wharton Club of D.C. holds a Green Business Forum on the Army's approach to energy and sustainability, and an overview of the Army's Renewable Energy Task Force.
OIL AND GAS GEOPOLITICS EVENT. The Institute for Policy Studies holds a discussion on "Petro-Machismo: The Geopolitical Exploitation of Increased North American Oil and Gas Production."