Legislative Activity

Senate Energy Committee Hearing on Hydrocarbon Agreement

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on Tuesday, October 1 to consider two bills that would implement the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement between the United States and Mexico. The hearing produced a bipartisan result, as Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expressed support for legislation, including S. 812, which would implement the agreement and endeavor to improve coordination between the two countries in developing energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

FERC Nominee Withdraws From Consideration

Mr. Ron Binz, President Barack Obama’s nominee to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), withdrew his name from consideration after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and key Republicans on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee announced their opposition. Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will continue to chair FERC until a replacement is nominated and confirmed, or until the end of the 113th Congress when he will be forced to step down.

This Week’s Hearings

  • Tuesday, October 8: The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is scheduled to hold an executive session business meeting to consider the nominations of Mr. Michael Connor to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Interior, and Ms. Elizabeth Robinson to serve as Under Secretary of Energy.

Regulatory Activity

NRC Staff Issues Yucca Mountain Report

Staff for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded that it is possible to complete part of its work on the license review process for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository site within one year. The staff reported that it will not be able to complete the entire license review process within one year, particularly in light of the government shutdown, but did express that with focused effort the commission staff should be able to complete a full safety and environment impact statement review within one year. The NRC was ordered to complete its regulatory review of the Yucca Mountain site by a majority panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on August 13.