The week ahead: High-profile hearings and, perhaps, a Senate showdown

This week will bring high-profile Senate hearings on energy policy, as well as a potential floor showdown over Environmental Protection Agency rules to curb toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants.
 
On Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee will gather for a hearing on tax reform and energy policy that won’t be as dry as it sounds. Harold Hamm, the billionaire oil exec who chairs Mitt Romney’s energy advisory team, is among the witnesses.
 
On Wednesday the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a closely watched hearing with Allison Macfarlane, President Obama’s nominee to replace outgoing Democrat Greg Jaczko atop the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
 
The panel will also hear from Kristine Svinicki, the Republican NRC member nominated for a second term by the president.

On Thursday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gathers for a hearing on competitiveness and collaboration between the United States and China on clean energy.
 
The relationship is a little sour these days — each side is accusing the other of unfair trade practices with respect to green-energy goods.
 
On May 30 the Commerce Department announced a preliminary decision to impose new tariffs on wind energy towers from China, escalating an ongoing trade fight.
 
On the Senate floor, a vote will occur as soon as this week on Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-Okla.) resolution to overturn EPA regulations requiring curbs in mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired power plants.
 
Critics of the regulations say they’ll hurt the economy and result in lost jobs, while backers call the allegation overblown and say the rule will provide vital public health protections.
 
There’s plenty happening off Capitol Hill, too. Among the events to watch:
 
On Tuesday, June 12, the Brookings Institution will hold a forum on the “challenges and opportunities” of Arctic energy development. Speakers include Carlos Pascual, the State Department’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs.
 
June 13 and 14 will bring the annual Energy Efficiency Forum, sponsored by Johnson Controls and the United States Energy Association. Speakers will include White House energy aide Heather Zichal and Gina McCarthy, EPA’s top air pollution regulator.



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