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House Energy & Commerce Focus Leans Towards Energy

For the remainder of this Congressional session, it is unlikely that the House Energy & Commerce Committee will have much time to take up any of the drinking water legislative proposals that have been introduced this year.  Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) outlined the Committee/Subcommittee agenda earlier this week.  Drinking water legislation is generally first considered by the Environment and Economy Subcommittee.  The agenda says that, for the remainder of this year, the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy “…is shepherding legislation to protect jobs and prevent higher energy prices by ensuring the continued beneficial use and safe management of coal combustion residuals…The subcommittee will continue its ongoing investigation into the Obama Administration’s…effort to terminate the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository.”

The E&C Committee direction is also aligning with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) priority legislative actions for the remainder of the year that are likely to see Floor action.  They include:

  • H.R. 2401, the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act.” The legislation would require economic analysis of U.S. EPA proposals and delay the so-called Utility MACT and cross-state air pollution rules. Consideration is expected the week of Sept. 19.
  • H.R. 2250, the “EPA Regulatory Relief Act.” The legislation would give EPA more time to rework its new air pollution limits for industrial boilers and scrap the rules that were finalized in February. Consideration is expected the week of Oct. 3.
  • H.R. 2681, the “Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act.” The legislation would delay EPA emissions rules for cement makers. Consideration is expected the week of Oct. 3.
  • H.R. 2273, the “Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act.” The legislation would stop EPA from regulating coal ash as a hazardous substance and empower states to create their regulatory programs. Consideration is expected in October or November.

Although no specific legislative initiatives are identified in the agenda, it does say that the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations “…will continue its Regulatory Reform Series…and launch a series of hearings to identify wasteful or duplicative programs in the Federal bureaucracy.  [Separately], A top priority…will be improving our nation’s cybersecurity to protect our infrastructure – including the electric grid defense capabilities, sensitive government network systems, and other key systems – from growing threats and vulnerabilities.”