Here are five pieces of energy legislation that are likely to occupy Congress’ time before they directly address climate change. [National Journal]
- Energy Efficiency: The House has started a bipartisan caucus aimed at passing energy efficiency legislation—bills that would require buildings that provide the same amount of light and heat with less fuel, for example.
- Offshore Drilling: Murkowski, the panel’s ranking Republican, has introduced a bill with Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana that would expand offshore drilling, give coastal states a taste of the profit, and require some of the money to go toward development of renewable energy.
- Nuclear Waste Storage: Proposals to build an interim “medium-term” nuclear-waste dump were also stalled until this year, as the most likely site for such a facility is New Mexico. But Bingaman, the New Mexican who chaired Senate Energy and Natural Resources, was not a fan. Now that he’s retired and been replaced by Wyden—whose state has a closed nuclear-power plant that still stores radioactive waste—plans for a “medium-term” nuclear-waste storage dump are suddenly on the move.
- Ethanol Reform: There’s growing opposition to the provisions of a 2005 law mandating that oil refiners blend an increasing share of plant-based ethanol into the nation’s gasoline mix…. Given those pressures, there’s a growing coalition of strange bedfellows—the oil industry, environmentalists, food manufacturers, and antipoverty groups—pushing for the law to be reformed. To that end, Upton and Waxman are working on a series of white papers aimed at opening up the issue for debate and, they hope, legislative action.
- Hydropower: In January, House Republicans brought to the floor a bill to speed construction of small hydropower plants in the Pacific Northwest…. Wyden has introduced a companion measure in the Senate. Members of both parties in both chambers are optimistic about its prospects.
Could the cooler spring have something to do with the dramatic Arctic sea ice loss seen this year? Scientists think so. [Guardian]
Dave Roberts writes of the non-inevitability of fossil fuels, and how important it is to say this explicitly. [Grist]
More on Sen. Whitehouse’s “straw poll” of the U.S. Senate on the idea of pricing carbon. [LA Times]
A tax on carbon could bring the prices of goods into line with their true costs. [New York Times]
Australia merged its Climate Change Department with several other departments. [The Australian]
Global warming is leading to larger plants, more pollination, and increased allergies. [Fox 11 Reno]
The EPA has created the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel, which will peer-review the agency’s research on fracking. [The Hill]
U.S. shale gas will be exported and used to heat homes in Britain, according to a deal struck yesterday. [Guardian]