Playing From the Sidelines
That's how Congress should feel today about two separate energy issues fully controlled by President Obama.
Senate proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline held (yet another) press conference urging Obama to approve the project, which has been under review by his administration for more than five years.
Across the Capitol, GOP leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a briefing to pressure the Energy Department to speed up its approval of natural-gas exports.
But, lawmakers have little recourse if they're not satisfied with the administration's response. Not only is Congress gridlocked, preventing most major bills from crossing the finish line, but the laws that an earlier Congress passed have specifically delegated these decisions to the executive branch, for better or worse.
If Congress wants to play—and win—on these issues, it's going to have to come up with a clearer strategy.
P.S. Do you think President Obama will approve Keystone? Click here to take NJ's Energy Poll...
TOP ENERGY NEWS
FEDS LOOSEN SCREWS ON CRUDE-OIL EXPORTS. In the past year, federal regulators have given the green light for crude-oil exports en route to the U.K. and Italy.
- Our take: The approvals raise the prospect of a slow policy change rather than a sharp break with current restrictions.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS ADD PRESSURE FOR GAS EXPORTS. Leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee are urging President Obama to speed up his administration's approval of natural-gas exports.
MCCONNELL PUTS DEMS ON SPOT OVER EPA REGS. It won't be easy, quick, or simple, but the Senate minority leader can likely force a vote on President Obama's climate-change rules.
HOUSE LEADERSHIP MULLS KEYSTONE, DEBT-LIMIT LINK. House Republicans met Tuesday to weigh whether to force a vote on the pipeline along with an increase in borrowing authority.
PRO-KEYSTONE LAWMAKER UNSURE OF STRATEGY. A House Republican at the forefront of the Keystone XL pipeline battle doubts the GOP will try to tether a debt-ceiling increase to White House approval of the project.
GREEN GROUPS THREATEN LOW VOTER TURNOUT IF KEYSTONE APPROVED. The president doesn't have to worry about being reelected, but control of the Senate hangs in the balance as a number of Democrats face difficult races.
ROCKEFELLER: WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENTS ARE LOSING FAITH IN GOVERNMENT. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the political fallout from the Elk River chemical spill is perpetuating the state's sense of fatalism.
HOUSE CONSERVATIVES PUSH CHANGES TO CONSERVATION LAW. A working group in the House has put forward a report that suggests reforms to the Endangered Species Act.
THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT, AS SEEN FROM SPACE. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a photo to illustrate what a year of drought conditions (which have intensified recently) have wrought on the landscape.
CUT THE KILOWATTS, CONGRESS! For Elizabeth Tate, the new director of government relations at the Alliance to Save Energy, it's all about efficiency.
NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Do you think President Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline?
A) Yes, before the 2014 midterm elections.
B) Yes, but after the 2014 midterm elections.
C) No, and he'll reject it before the midterm elections.
D) No, and he'll wait until after the midterm elections to reject it.
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING…
SHOULD OBAMA GREEN-LIGHT KEYSTONE XL? Should President Obama approve or deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline?
"The president should absolutely approve a permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Repeatedly, President Obama has said that approval of this pipeline depends on its contributions to climate change. As last week's final environmental impact statement (EIS) makes clear, building the pipeline would yield fewer carbon emissions than the alternative of transporting the oil via rail." -Catrina Rorke, director of energy policy, American Action Forum
"Keystone XL Exceeds Criteria for National Interest. 875 miles of steel pipeline will support 42,100 jobs. That is nearly 48 jobs for every mile. There will be tradesman, laborers, contractors, carpenters, electricians, truck drivers, pipe liners, welders, architects, civil engineers. The list is long and each one of them is important." -David Holt, president, Consumer Energy Alliance
EPA HEARING. The House Science Committee holds a hearing titled "Examining the Science of EPA Overreach: A Case Study in Texas."
BLM HEARING. The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing titled "Energy in America: the Bureau of Land Management's Red-Tape Runaround and its Impact on American Energy Production."
ENERGY DISCUSSION. The Brookings Institution holds a discussion on "Energy and Security: Strategies for a World in Transition."