via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.
Executive summary on key policy topics
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction
or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.
-- Karsner to depart Dept. of Energy post:
Alexander "Andy" Karsner, the assistant secretary
of energy for efficiency and renewable energy, will resign from the department
at the end of August, the Department of Energy announced Wednesday. Energy
Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a statement that Karsner "has been
instrumental in accelerating the research and development of cellulosic
biofuels, solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power, as well as advanced
vehicle battery storage and hydrogen fuel cells." Karsner frequently
testified to Congress regarding renewable fuels, and has been an aggressive
supporter of keeping the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) at the levels
contained in legislation signed into law last December. Karsner said June
12 that granting a waiver of the renewable fuel requirement for 2008 "would
be devastating" to the future of the renewable fuels industry.
-- Senate Ag panel hearing on food/fuel
debate set for Aug. 18 in Omaha: I previously reported
that the Senate Ag Committee would hold a field hearing on the food vs.
fuel debate, but the date of the Omaha, Neb.-based field hearing is now
set for Aug. 18. The hearing will focus on food, feed and fuel issues
and will likely come after the Environmental Protection Agency decides
on whether or not to modify the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate.
-- Hearing today on energy issues:
Western hemisphere energy topics, particularly Brazilian ethanol and declining
Mexican oil production, will be discussed during a House Foreign Affairs
subcommittee hearing today. Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) wants the panel
to explore Brazil's development of alternative energies such as sugar
cane-based ethanol and its relationship to the memorandum of understanding
with the US on biofuels signed in March 2007.
-- Energy battles continue in Congress:
A very partisan dispute in Congress continued over dealing
with fuel prices. The Senate on Wednesday rejected the energy tax extension
measure for the fourth time. The White House issued a veto threat. Senate
Republicans insist they be allowed to offer amendments to the energy commodity
speculation bill (S 3268). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
withdrew his previous offer of four amendments for each party when the
GOP leadership would not agree to a vote on the tax-extender measure.
Over in the House, the energy speculation bill pushed
by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) failed to get a required two-thirds
vote for passage on the suspension calendar, failing by a vote of 276-151.
The president announced he would veto the measure anyway.
leadership say they will try one more time today, but many observers
think this contentious issue will be punted to September, when lawmakers
-- Interior details plan to accelerate
offshore leasing if Congress allows: Interior Secretary
Dirk Kempthorne announced Wednesday that he has directed the Minerals
Management Service (MMS) to draft a plan to expedite leasing of oil production
sites that could be exploited should Congress lift a moratorium on offshore
drilling. Kempthorne directed the MMS to begin work on a new five-year
plan governing offshore oil leasing that would encompass all areas that
would be eligible for drilling under a proposal by President Bush to lift
the federal ban. The new leasing plan would take effect in 2010, two years
ahead of the current schedule, he said.
-- Bush to make another energy speech today:
This time President Bush will visit West Virginia to make
comments on the coal industry. On Wednesday, the president again called
on Congress to pass energy legislation that would increase domestic production
before leaving for the August recess.
-- Farm bill implementation funding included
in supplemental proposal: Senate Appropriations Chairman
Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) on Wednesday released details for a second supplemental
measure that will be debated in September. The measure provides funding
for infrastructure, energy initiatives and natural disaster relief. Included
in the $24.1 billion package is $172 million to assist USDA in upgrading
computer systems and implementing the 2008 Farm Bill.
Energy speculation monitoring funds also included.
Of note, the second supplemental would include funds to monitor speculators
-- the Commodities Future Trading Commission would get $13.1 million
for enhanced enforcement and oversight.
-- South Korea court orders TV station
to correct BSE report: A South Korean court today ordered
a leading TV station to air a correction on its report about BSE that
contributed to widespread protests against US beef imports. The Seoul
District Court ruled that the report by MBC, one of the country's three
major broadcasters, on the danger of BSE was partially wrong and exaggerated
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or
retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.