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On Energy Efficiency, It's Once More, With Feeling On Energy Efficiency, It's Once More, With Feeling

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On Energy Efficiency, It's Once More, With Feeling

On Energy Efficiency, it's Once More, With Feeling

Forget the big energy bills of years past (2007, when the last one became law, was political eons ago). Is there any election-year hope for a modest, bipartisan, but thus far rather snake-bitten energy-efficiency bill?


We may find out soon. Next week, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, and Ohio Republican Rob Portman hope to float the latest version of their joint efficiency bill.

It contains measures aimed at boosting--without mandates--energy conservation in commercial buildings, as well as provisions to help manufacturers become efficient and enhance energy-savings at federal buildings.

Last year the bill--which the duo have been pushing in some form for three years--finally made it to the Senate floor. And then it quickly stalled out, falling victim to fights about Obamacare, the Keystone pipeline, and other issues.


There's no guarantee that won't happen again to the bill, which last time received pushback from Heritage Action for America, a conservative group that's influential in Republican circles.

But in mid-January, reporters asked Portman if the bill's sponsors have lined up the filibuster-proof 60 votes. "I think we are there," he said.

We'll see if he gets a chance to prove it.



Ben Geman

P.S. Thanks for taking NJ's latest energy poll. Results are below.


By Clare Foran (@ckmarie)

RAILWAY GIANT PLANS SAFER CARS TO HAUL CRUDE. Reuters reports that BNSF Railway is planning to buy a fleet of up to 5,000 cars to carry crude oil that have enhanced safety features, a move that follows recent accidents including one that involved the railroad in North Dakota.

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Our take: The pace of new regulations remains uncertain, but in the meantime the industry and Transportation realize there's a problem and are seeking to act. On Friday the Transportation and Association of American Railroads announced a new initiative that includes more self-inspection by railroads, use of enhanced emergency braking technology, and more.

FORMER ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL BACKS KEYSTONE. Marcia McNutt, the former head of the USGS, supports approval of the project.

GAS LOBBYING GROUP FILLS OUT ITS A-TEAM. Former Capitol Hill aide Frank Macchiarola will be second in command at America's Natural Gas Alliance.

MEXICO'S CARTELS ARE STANDING IN THE WAY OF A FRACKING BOOM. Nabbings, extortion, murder, and oil theft by the gangs have made U.S. drillers wary of venturing into the shale-rich states of the country.

FUNDING THE FUTURE WITH FRACKING IN NORTH DAKOTA. The state is socking away billions from its shale-oil boom. (Paywall)

SOLAR INDUSTRY, UTILITIES SEEK COMMON GROUND. The solar industry can't decide whether utilities are ally or adversary.

DEMOCRATS DEFEND KERRY ON CLIMATE. Democrats are giving a boost to the secretary of State's claim that climate change is a threat to national security in the face of conservative attacks.

IS THE WATER IN WEST VIRGINIA STILL CONTAMINATED? Previously unreleased testing shows low levels of the chemical MCHM in parts of the state water supply.

STORMS SWEEP ACROSS THE U.S. A storm that brings with it heavy wind and snow has moved into the southeastern part of the country.


POLL SHOWS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR INVESTMENT. Supporters of nuclear energy rallied around the latest National Journal Energy Poll, with 97 percent saying the federal government should be investing in nuclear reactors. Only 3 percent opposed such investment. More than 1,100 people responded to the poll. Officials at the American Nuclear Society, a nonprofit science and educational membership organization, said that some of their members circulated the poll to encourage participation. "We know there's a large community of people who are anti-nuclear and they work hard to get their message out there," said spokeswoman Margaret Harding, "so we try to pay attention when there's a chance to tell our side of the story."


Next week's National Journal's Energy & Environment Insiders discussion will ask, should the U.S. invest in nuclear power? How does nuclear fit into the U.S. energy equation and what, if anything, should Washington do to support its deployment?


ARPA-E SUMMIT. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy holds its fifth Energy Innovation Summit.

DISASTER RECOVERY EVENT. National Journal holds the State of the States Policy Summit, focusing on disaster recovery after weather-related events.

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