By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and Neal Martin
Despite the August recess, members of Congress have been working steadily on energy and environmental issues the past few weeks.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) held his sixth annual National Clean Energy Summit. Participants included Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, Acting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD), former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and former Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA). Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spent part of August touring wildfire-ridden parts of California, tying the disaster to global warming. On Monday, Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) hosted Assistant Energy Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson in a roundtable discussion on Energy Department collaboration at Union College.
Liberal, conservative, and government groups have been taking stances on hot button issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and the role of states in climate action. The State Department released the Interior Department’s official comments on the Keystone XL pipeline; the latter agency said work should be done to mitigate light and noise impacts on species and environments.