By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and Neal Martin
When the President outlined his Climate Action Plan on June 25, he stressed the importance of federal leadership on emissions reduction efforts. A little over five months later, he signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government to obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. The December 5 directive creates an action item for the Climate Action Plan and builds upon the 2009 Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. A fact sheet on the memorandum can be found here.
In the week after Thanksgiving, the Senate was in recess while the House addressed legislation on patent litigation and private equity fund advisers. Members of the farm bill, budget, and Water Resources Development Act conference committees continued to meet. Many do not believe that all three will be finished by the end of the year, with one or two being pushed back into 2014.
The House this week will consider the Medicare sustainable growth rate. Should they become available, conference committee reports on the farm bill and the budget might also be considered. On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate will resume debate on the National Defense Authorization Act. Across the street, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday on a case questioning the federal government’s authority to regulate new power plant emissions.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) led a November 26 letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging the agency to make its Energy Star program more transparent. The letter said the agency should ensure it is collaborating with stakeholders. Other signatories were Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).