Monday, February 18, 2019

Federal News

Trump Selects Bernhardt for Interior Secretary

President Trump last week tweeted that he intends to nominate David Bernhardt to be secretary of the interior.

Bernhardt, who was confirmed as deputy secretary in July 2017, has been acting secretary since the beginning of the year, after the resignation of Ryan Zinke. “It’s a humbling privilege to be nominated to lead a department whose mission I love, to accomplish the balanced, common sense vision of our president,” Bernhardt tweeted in response.

Just days before Trump’s announcement, Bloomberg reported that White House officials were seriously considering former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) to serve as the next secretary.

More: Politico; Bloomberg

FERC, DOE to Hold Joint Tech Conference on Infrastructure Security

FERC and the Department of Energy announced last week they will hold a joint technical conference March 28 at commission headquarters to discuss security practices to protect energy infrastructure.

“The threats against our nation’s energy infrastructure, particularly the electric and natural gas sectors, continue to grow and the responsibility for protecting our energy infrastructure is shared across industry as well as states and the federal government,” FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said. “In light of this shared responsibility, we will join with DOE to explore current threats against energy infrastructure, best practices for mitigation, current incentives for investing in physical and cybersecurity protections, and current cost recovery practices at both the state and federal level.”

“We look forward to building upon our partnership with FERC to jointly discuss and find solutions for the emerging threats facing our critical energy infrastructure,” DOE Assistant Secretary of Electricity Bruce Walker said.

More: FERC

Sens. Reintroduce Bill to Support Carbon Capture R&D

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) last week reintroduced a bill that would support carbon dioxide utilization and direct air capture research, as well as support the development of carbon capture and sequestration facilities and carbon dioxide pipelines.

It would establish a nine-member Direct Air Capture Technology Advisory Board, appointed by the EPA administrator, to advise the agency and the Energy Department on projects to fund.

The bill, dubbed the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, passed the Environment and Public Works Committee last year, but the Senate wasn’t able to vote on it before the session of Congress ended.

More: Politico; Axios

DOE Proposes Rolling Back Light Bulb Efficiency Rule

The Department of Energy last week proposed repealing an Obama administration regulation that expanded the number of light bulbs subject to stringent efficiency standards under existing regulations, effective next year.

Department officials said their predecessors improperly interpreted the 1975 law that allows for such standards. “DOE has since determined that the legal basis underlying those revisions misconstrued existing law,” the department said in its proposal.

The rule redefined the term “general service lamps” to include certain light bulbs that were previously considered to be so specialized that they should not be subject to standard rules, mainly various sizes of bulbs known as incandescent reflector lamps.

More: The Hill

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