Tuesday, January 29, 2013

U.S. Congress in 2013: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Our series previewing the U.S. Congress in 2013 continues this week with an overview of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and possible Committee agenda items this year that relate to Mississippi River Basin water issues. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over several Federal issues important from a Mississippi River Basin perspective. This is particularly true of its Subcommittee on Water and Power, which has jurisdiction over irrigation, water resource reclamation projects, including those related to flood control purposes, energy development impacts on water resources, groundwater resources and management, hydroelectric power, low head hydroelectric power, and energy related aspects of deep water ports. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee is also the authorizing committee with oversight of the Interior Department, and as such will be involved in the confirmation process for the new Interior Department Secretary nominated to succeed soon-to-be-departing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will chair the Committee for the first time this year, succeeding Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who did not seek re-election in 2012.  Alaskan Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski returns as the Committee's Ranking Member.  Energy development, and whether that energy will be exported or remain within the U.S., will be the top priorities on the Committee's agenda in 2013.  A progressive Democrat, from a state that is powered largely by renewable energy, Wyden is widely known for his ability to work with Senate Republicans, and has expressed a desire to work toward "bipartisan, common sense policies" on energy during 2013.  Bipartisan consensus is something that the Committee could not achieve during its 2012 energy debate, when the issue of offshore energy (i.e., oil and gas) revenue sharing with states was divisive.  To achieve consensus, Wyden will need to forge agreement, in particular, with Murkowski and fellow Democrat Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who both favored offshore energy revenue sharing with states.

Apart from those energy development issues, possible water resource topics that might be on the Committee's agenda at some time during 2013 include:
  • impacts of rising sea levels on coastal domestic infrastructures
  • shale gas development and production, and their impact on water resources
  • domestic and global water supply issues
Additionally, some time during the Spring, the Committee will likely hold hearings concerning the Obama Administration's budget proposals for the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

Below is the complete Committee member roster, listed alphabetically by party.  The listing highlights the four new Committee members (italicized) and those from Mississippi River Basin states (underlined) (links to Congressional Internet home pages for the Committee's nine Mississippi River Basin members are included).

Majority Members
Minority Members
The Committee office is located at Room SD-304 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-6150
Telephone: (202) 224-4971
Fax: (202) 224-6163

To view previous coverage of the 113th Congress' Senate and House committees, see:
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Senate and House Agriculture Committees
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

No comments:

Post a Comment