There has been—appropriately—much attention given to the election and the impact it will have on control of the U.S. Senate. Given the possibility of a Republican-controlled Senate, we have also seen a flurry of analysis of what impact that change will have on various issues. But, in the energy and environment arena, there is an upcoming shift that will have a profound impact on the direction of public policy that is getting little attention: personnel changes at the White House.
As the 2014 midterm elections come to a close, several key senate races remain too close to call. This electoral uncertainty, however, has not stopped many members of Congress from preparing for a brief but intense Lame Duck session or from looking further down the road to the next Congress. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a memorandum on October 22 predicting that a Republican-controlled Senate would approve House-passed bills to eliminate the need for presidential permits for cross-border energy projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, establish deadlines for federal agencies to approve permits for constructing new natural gas pipelines, and streamline the permitting process for certain mining projects. Majority Leader McCarthy also said that the House will continue regulatory reform efforts that have stalled in the Senate.
On September 12, 2014, the United States (“U.S.”) and European Union (“EU”) both announced expanded sanctions related to Russia and Ukraine. These measures seek to increase pressure on the Russian Government to stop threatening the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In general, the specific sanctions (i) target specific entities and individuals, (ii) limit access to financial markets, and (iii) prohibit certain oil related exports and activities.
The fifth annual United States-India Energy Partnership summit took place in Washington last week. The United States and India created the Clean Energy Finance Forum September 30 after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Obama in Washington for the first time since his election in the spring. The forum will bring together public and private sector officials to consider ways to mobilize financing for India’s expanding renewable energy market. The two countries also announced a $1 billion financing deal between the U.S. Export-Import Bank and India’s Renewable Energy Development Agency to help increase U.S. renewable energy exports to India and help India transition to a low-carbon economy. In the last four years, India’s solar market has grown more than a hundredfold to reach more than 2.5 GW of grid-connected installed solar energy. India is the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer, with 20 GW of installed wind capacity.
A proposed electric transmission line connecting Quebec to New York will receive a key federal approval, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The Energy Department’s decision to issue a Presidential permit to Champlain Hudson Power Express, Inc. focuses attention on the nation’s international trade in electricity, and may suggest increased reliance on power imports.
Pursuant to two Executive Orders — EO 10485 (September 9, 1953), as amended by EO 12038 (February 7, 1978) — no electricity transmission facilities may be constructed, operated, maintained, or connected at the U.S. border without first obtaining a Presidential permit from the Department of Energy. In 2010, Champlain Hudson Power Express, Inc. applied to DOE for a Presidential permit to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a 1,000-megawatt (MW), high-voltage direct current (HVDC) merchant electric power transmission system across the U.S./Canada border.
Washington has rightfully avoided backing a candidate in next week’s [today’s] elections, but it should still use counterterrorism assistance and other levers to push Baghdad on pluralism and KRG oil revenue sharing during the presumably lengthy transition period. On April 30, the Iraqi public will vote in national parliamentary elections, establishing the next four-year term… Keep reading →
It’s hard to imagine two people less alike than Harold Hamm and Heather Zichal, the top energy advisers to the presidential candidates.
Hamm, energy czar for Mitt Romney, is a billionaire oil man who rose to success with only a high school diploma. Raised as a sharecropper’s son, he is now the 35th richest person in America.
Heather Zichal, President Barack Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, is the daughter of a medical doctor. She was an intern for the Sierra Club while at Rutgers University. After graduating, she soared up Washington’s policy ranks to a top White House position in little over a decade. Keep reading →