Energy Update (December 6)
The Biden-Harris transition team announced the following economic nominees and appointees this week:
Janet Yellen, Secretary of Treasury
- Served as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014-2018
- Served as the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
Neera Tanden, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Wally Adeyemo, Deputy Secretary of Treasury
- Served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council under the Obama-Biden administration
- First Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Cecilia Rouse, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
- Former member of the Obama-Biden Council of Economic Advisers
Jared Bernstein, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers
- Served as Vice-President Biden’s Chief Economist in first years of the Obama-Biden administration
Heather Boushey, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers
Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council
- Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
- Served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy Director and Acting Director of Office of Management and Budget during the Obama-Biden administration
To view a full list of the selected nominations, appointments, and White House staff, click here.
2021 House Calendar
This week, House leadership announced the 2021 legislative calendar. The 117th Congress is expected to convene at noon on Jan. 3, 2021.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) noted the schedule is always subject to change, especially due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Committee work days may be changed to voting days with sufficient notice. The 2021 schedule seeks to balance voting days, Committee work days, and days for Members to conduct important business in their districts,” Hoyer said in a notice.
To view the calendar, click here.
On Thursday (Dec. 3), House Democrats selected Rep. David Scott (D-GA) as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Scott will take over in January for Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), who lost his reelection last month.
Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will serve as the next Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. She will take over the panel in January following the retirement of current Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY).
To view all the House Committee Chairs in the 117th Congress, click here.
House Republicans selected Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to be the Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She is the first woman to hold a leadership role on the committee.
Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) will serve as the Ranking Member on the Natural Resources Committee. Both lawmakers are expected to embrace nature-based solutions, technological innovation, and the markets to combat climate change.
To view all the House Committee Ranking Members in the 117th Congress, click here.
On Friday (Dec. 4), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced she wants to attach a COVID-19 relief package to the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package currently being negotiated. Pelosi said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also supported a combined spending bill and COVID-19 relief package when they talked on Thursday (Dec. 3). Notably, Congress must pass a spending bill before Friday (Dec. 11) to avoid a government shutdown.
This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers released a $908 billion COVID-19 relief package. The legislation would provide $160 billion in state and local aid, $180 billion in unemployment insurance, $288 billion for small businesses, $82 billion for schools, $45 billion for transportation, and liability protections. The proposal does not include another round of stimulus checks. Pelosi emphasized this proposal played a role in the most recent relief negotiations, which gained momentum this week.
At this point, there are still various key issues that need to be resolved on both the appropriations package and COVID-19 relief deal. Lawmakers may pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to allow more time for negotiations.
Senator Mark Kelly
On Wednesday (Dec. 2), Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was sworn into the Senate after winning a special election against former Sen. Martha McSally (R). Republicans now only have a 52-48 majority in the Senate.
On Thursday (Nov. 3), House and Senate negotiators released the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Notably, major public lands legislation and broad nuclear and carbon capture proposals did not make it into the bill.
The legislation did include $1.4 billion for remediation and cleanup at military sites, including some funding for PFAS research. As expected, the bill includes expanded sanctions against companies involved in building the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. Additionally, the final bill contains a provision that would require the Department of Defense to submit a report on its greenhouse gas emissions.
In the past, President Trump has threatened to veto the NDAA if it contained a provision to rename military bases and facilities that honor Confederate leaders. More recently, Trump said the bill needed to include a repeal of certain liability protections for technology companies (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act). The agreement both includes the provision to rename bases, as well as excludes any language to repeal Section 230.
House and Senate leaders are signaling that they expect the NDAA to clear both the House and Senate by two-thirds majorities, enough to override a veto.
To view the final NDAA text, click here.
To view the joint explanatory statement, click here.
Senate EPW Nuclear Bill
On Wednesday (Dec. 2), the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved bipartisan legislation that aims to boost the U.S. nuclear energy industry.
The legislation, the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act, would create two-year financial credits for existing nuclear reactors deemed at risk for closure. It also includes provisions meant to improve advanced nuclear technology and create a program for a national uranium reserve.
“We can further reduce our emissions and strengthen our security by incentivizing new technologies that allow for nuclear power to be used beyond the electricity sector,” outgoing EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) said.
This week, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced legislation that would mandate two oil and gas lease auctions in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico annually. The legislation would codify mandates laid out in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, a law that requires the Department of Interior to schedule and hold regular lease auctions in the Gulf.
On Thursday (Dec. 3), Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) introduced a bill that would extend the tax credit for carbon capture products and implement a direct pay option.
The legislation would extend the date for projects to begin construction in order to receive the Section 45Q credit by 10 years – to 2034.
To view the Accelerating Carbon Capture and Extending Secure Storage through 45Q (ACCESS 45Q) Act, click here.
Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced legislation this week that would force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to come up with new plans to protect marine mammals from the impacts of climate change.
The legislation, the Marine Mammal Climate Change Protection Act, would direct NOAA to develop climate impact management plans for marine mammals at risk due to the climate crisis.
Last week, Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) and Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced the Electric Vehicle Mobility Area Planning (EV MAP) Act. The bill would create a $10 million grant program to help electric utilities, cities, and towns identify ideal locations for electric vehicle (EV) chargers.
“Our bill ensures that both communities and the private sector can identify priority areas to make the best investments in the EV industry,” O’Halleran said in a statement.
“This growing market is taking action to lower emissions and combat climate change while bolstering our transportation economy and opening up new, good-paying jobs for Arizonans. It’s a win-win-win,” he added.
The measure could be included in a broader infrastructure package expected in the next Congress.
To view the legislation, click here.
On Tuesday (Dec. 1), the Department of Energy (DOE) issued guidance which aims to increase the domestic supply chain of critical earth elements.
The guidance directs the agency’s Loan Programs Office to broadly interpret Title XVII and Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan programs to boost manufacturing, recycling, and recovery of critical minerals.
The U.S. imports over 80 percent of its rare earth minerals. The guidance comes in response to a September executive order (EO) that directed agencies to expand U.S. production of rare earth minerals.
To view the Federal Register Notice, click here.
This week, the Senate confirmed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) nominees Allison Clements and Mark Christie. The confirmation ensures a 3-2 Republican majority on the commission at least until June, when former Chairman Neil Chatterjee’s term ends.
If Republicans maintain control of the Senate and block a Democratic nominee to replace Chatterjee’s seat next year, they could ensure a 2-2 partisan deadlock throughout President-elect Biden’s term.
Last week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water chief David Ross sent a memo to regional administrators that laid out an “interim strategy” to address discharges of PFAS. The memo includes a call for permit writers to “consider and incorporate” practices to control discharges of PFAS “when appropriate.”
To view the memo, click here.
 Quiñones, Manuel & Koss, Geof. “Negotiators release NDAA: What’s in and what’s out.” E&E Daily, 4 Dec. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/264e857e/o9-w0l-V4EaAFk06Ly-jxA?u=https://www.eenews.net/eedaily/2020/12/04/stories/1063719901
 Richards, Healthier. “Gulf lawmakers push periodic drilling auctions.” E&E Daily, 4 Dec. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/c071f844/iRnGV3aI-EiWwRbY1KS6kw?u=https://www.eenews.net/eedaily/2020/12/04/stories/1063719875
 Hotakainen, Rob. “Bill seeks to help marine mammals hit by climate change.” E&E Daily, 30 Nov. 2020.https://link.edgepilot.com/s/71fc1b4e/gnhrynxEbkK5Oo4mZzW1ow?u=https://www.eenews.net/eedaily/2020/11/30/stories/1063719387
 Joselow, Maxine. “Bipartisan bill aims to boost charging infrastructure.” E&E Daily, 30 Nov. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/9b22377e/3RVM0tDtUUiHNspdobDR9Q?u=https://www.eenews.net/eedaily/2020/11/30/stories/1063719385
 Wolff, Eric & Cammarata, Sarah. “DOE issues guidance calling for critical minerals projects.” Politico Pro, 1 Dec. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/eae41b07/1JWQHCYQik658eB50o-G7A?u=https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2020/12/doe-issues-guidance-calling-for-critical-minerals-projects-3985621