Australian Prime Minister Addresses Joint Meeting Of Congress

Democrats and Republicans on a House panel are debating over energy spending levels for domestic agencies, clean water rules and guns on federal lands, implementing more than $1 trillion worth of spending bills..”The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $35 billion energy and water projects measure and a $77 billion bill funding the Department of Veterans Affairs and construction projects on military bases by voice votes.

The panel also argued over spending limits for domestic agency budgets as the Obama administration and its Democratic allies warned that additional money will be needed to successfully pass all 12 appropriations bills and get them signed into law.” [ABC News/AP]

European antitrust regulators have accused the Russian energy giant Gazprom of abusing its dominance in natural gas markets.”The antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, took pains to describe the matter in terms of business markets. But the case cannot help but be a test of geopolitical wills, given the tension between Russia and the West over the Kremlin’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Gazprom’s immediate response seemed aimed at elevating the issue to a matter of international relations. Gazprom suggested that it was not subject to the European Union’s antitrust jurisdiction because it is a state-controlled company.” [The NY Times]

Noble Energy has agreed to a settlement of $73.5 million over alleged air-pollution violations in Denver, CO. “The proposed deal, filed in federal court Wednesday, comes after regulators found the Houston-based company’s oil storage tanks were emitting thousands of tons of volatile organic chemicals a year because of undersized vapor control systems, contributing to the region’s ozone pollution problem.

Noble, the second biggest driller in Colorado, has agreed to evaluate, make upgrades and perform inspections of its 3,400 clusters — or batteries — of tanks in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, which stretches from Denver to the Wyoming border.” [US News/AP]