OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior’s ex-drilling chief in focus

ON TAP FRIDAY: Friday will bring an appearance by Michael Bromwich, the outspoken attorney who led the overhaul of Interior’s troubled offshore drilling branch after the 2010 BP oil spill.

Bromwich, who left Interior in late 2011, now heads a crisis management and strategic advisory firm. He’ll make remarks at the National Press Club Friday along with other experts.

The appearance by Bromwich, who also served in the Justice Department, arrives as House Republicans have been escalating their attacks on Obama administration offshore drilling policies that Bromwich had a hand in crafting.

At Interior, he wasn’t shy about trading punches with Capitol Hill Republicans, so if recent history is any indication, Friday’s event could be colorful.

House Dems strike back at GOP’s Solyndra report

House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats said in a memo Thursday that Republicans’ new report on the ill-fated Solyndra loan guarantee plays fast and loose with the facts.

The Democrats called the GOP report — which blasted the Obama administration over its handling of the solar panel maker — a partisan and one-sided hatchet-job that mischaracterizes the record developed in the panel’s inquiry.

“It cherry picks documents, omits important exculpatory evidence, and contains unsubstantiated insinuations. Republican politicians have spent over a year making wild allegations that the Solyndra loan was influenced by campaign contributions. There is not a shred of evidence to support these inflammatory accusations,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee’s top Democrat, and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.

The Democrats’ memo pounces on the GOP report’s absence of specific evidence to substantiate GOP claims that the Obama administration steered financing to Solyndra because a major investor was a donation bundler for the Obama campaign.

“The report is remarkably silent on the influence of campaign contributions. This is a tacit admission that the record before the Committee does not support the false claims that the Republican leadership of the Committee and prominent national Republicans have been making for months about the Solyndra loan guarantee,” the memo states.


NEWS BITES:

Report knocks oil companies on risk disclosure

Major oil companies are doing a lousy job disclosing environmental and financial risks linked to deepwater drilling and climate change, according to a new report.

The report by the sustainable investment group Ceres calls for companies to improve disclosure in their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Mindy Lubber, the group’s president, said recent industry accidents show the need for investors to have better information.

“As the BP Gulf spill, the Total gas leak in the North Sea, and several other recent mishaps show, the risks of extracting oil and gas from remote places by ever-more-complex methods are profoundly real, even before considering how climate change and carbon emission mitigation can impact these projects,” she said in a statement.

Safety reporting for more than half of deepwater drilling operations by 10 major oil companies is either “poor” or nonexistent.
 
Of the 50 deepwater drilling projects evaluated, 29 earned a “poor” or “no disclosure” rating from Ceres. Four got a “good” ranking.
 
The group used SEC disclosure reports filed in the first quarter of 2011 to draw conclusions for its report.
 
Eight of the 10 companies evaluated “provided minimal or no information about safety or environmental statistics,” the report said. The report found the same for information on investments in safety-related research and development.
 
Ceres looked at Exxon, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, Marathon, Shell, Suncor and Total in the report. BP earned favorable marks, and Eni and Total also fared well compared with the others on drilling risk disclosure.

Senate panel backs Navy biofuels funding

The fate of a Navy biofuels testing program appears to be caught between two committees.
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $604.5 billion defense programs spending bill Thursday that included money for the program.

But the Senate Armed Services Committee in May passed a Defense policy bill with an amendment effectively barring the Navy from buying biofuels.

That amendment, introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), forbids the Navy from purchasing biofuels when they cost more than conventional fuel.
 
Neither Senate Appropriations Committee staff nor Senate Armed Services staff immediately returned requests for comment on the path forward for the program.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these E2-Wire stories that ran on Thursday . . .

— Report: White House budget analysts feared Solyndra loan risks

— Senators: Arab Spring shows need for strong oil-disclosure rule

Wind-energy credit resurfaces in Senate tax plan

— House GOP slams administration for limiting federal drilling

— Lawmakers push EPA to waive corn ethanol requirement

— GOP probe: Solyndra a ‘cautionary tale’

Democrats fight GOP report on Solyndra, ask how much investigation cost

— Dem lawmaker proposes carbon tax legislation

— Ethanol groups to Congress: Try not to ‘out-guess’ markets

— Murkowski, Wyden plan Alaska visit with energy gavel uncertain


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