TOP ENERGY NEWS
CRUDE-BY-RAIL RULE IN THE WORKS. The Transportation Department has announced plans to release a rule-making next week that will seek to strengthen safety standards for crude-by-rail shipments. (Patrick Rucker, Josephine Mason, Ros Krasny, Reuters)
EPA SAYS SYSTEM TO CUT AUTO EMISSIONS IS WORKING WONDERS. EPA released a report on Friday that assesses automakers' success in meeting greenhouse-gas emissions limits laid out by the agency. According to EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, the data for model-year 2012 cars and light trucks indicate the program so far has worked even better than expected. "What we've seen in the first year is we're getting more greenhouse-gas reductions than we anticipated," he told reporters in a press call.
But Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign said EPA's rosy picture is misleading. He noted the auto industry's significant reliance on a feature of the program that awards "credits" for making cars that can run on high ethanol blends, and greener air-conditioning systems, arguing the companies were using those systems anyway.
"The credits act like get-out-of-jail-free cards, letting automakers spew an extra 38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Without them, only Honda would have met the mileage standard for 2012," Becker's group said in a statement.
STEYER STEERS CLEAR OF LANDRIEU ATTACK ... Billionaire anti-Keystone activist Tom Steyer drew plenty of coverage (including in National Journal) for threatening to launch an ad targeting Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's support for the Keystone XL pipeline.
But turns out Steyer isn't targeting Landrieu with his newest ad buy. She was one of five pols (and the only Democrat) on a list of targets Steyer's NextGen Climate Action group listed in an online poll of visitors to NextGen's site.
... AND PUTS MARCO RUBIO IN THE CROSSHAIRS. Instead, the new ad goes after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., with a spot that urges Rubio not to get "taken for a sucker." It repeats Steyer's claim that Keystone is really a sop to foreign companies and nations that would benefit from export of refined products made with Keystone oil.
The ad will run Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press in Miami, Tampa, and Tallahassee, Steyer's group said.
INDUSTRY PROPOSES CHEMICAL ASSESSMENT FIX. The American Chemistry Council today proposed a series of principles to reform the way EPA reviews the health and risk impact of chemicals in commerce. The ACC proposal—which the group said was the result of discussions with various stakeholders—asks regulators to consider criteria for data evaluation and study selection early in the process, increase transparency throughout the assessment, and make the conclusions subject to independent review panels. The proposal comes as the National Academy of Sciences is evaluating EPA's risk-assessment program and Congress considers reforms to the entire chemical-review system. Read the report here.
FRACKING GIANT TO DISCLOSE CHEMICALS. Houston-based oilfield-services giant Baker Hughes announced Thursday evening that it would begin to disclose 100 percent of the chemicals it uses in its hydraulic fracturing formula, not even making exemptions for trade secrets. (Matthew Daly, AP)
LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE LEADS TO BACKUPS IN THE MARCELLUS SHALE. The Energy Information Administration reports that "increasing natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin Marcellus Shale play continues to outpace the growth in the region's pipeline takeaway capacity."
GRIMM REVERSES COURSE ON CLIMATE CHANGE. In an interview that will air on this weekend's installment of the Showtime documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm says that he doesn't think "the jury is out" on climate change, a reversal of his previous position. In an interview with host Chris Hayes, Grimm says that he's done more research and now thinks climate change is real and linked to human activity, but "there's no oxygen left in the room in Washington for another big debate." (Samantha Lachman, Huffington Post)
RUSSIAN GAS GIANT WON'T HALT EUROPEAN SHIPMENTS. Gazprom executives say that the company does not plan to halt the flow of natural-gas supplies to European countries despite the fact that Ukraine has not yet repaid the money it owes to the company. (Selina Williams, Wall Street Journal)
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING
Next week's energy and environment Insiders discussion will ask the question: Will the president punt on Keystone? After the State Department delay in its review of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, speculation is swirling over when a final determination might come. Will the president punt on the pipeline and wait until after the midterms to make a decision? What does Obama have to lose by delaying a final determination, and what does he stand to gain?
NUCLEAR POWER EVENT. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions holds a discussion on a new report, "Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power."
ENERGY AND FOREIGN POLICY EVENT. The Atlantic Council and the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group hold a conference on "American Energy Prowess in a Strategic Foreign Policy Perspective," April 28-29.
REGULATION AND WATER HEARING. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee holds a full committee field hearing on "Federal Regulation of Waters: Impacts of Administration Overreach on Local Economies and Job Creation."