Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to China on February 6 by a vote of 96-0. With the confirmation, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-WA) has taken over chairmanship of the Finance Committee and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has taken the gavel for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Sen. Wyden has been outspoken on the need to extend the advanced energy tax credits that expired at the end of 2013.
“I’ve already been on the floor talking about the tax extenders. Clearly if you don’t take steps to address them it could be very damaging to some key parts of our economy,” Wyden said after the Baucus confirmation. “I do feel it is important to make them a bridge to comprehensive tax reform.”
AEE looks forward to working with Wyden on tax extenders and comprehensive tax reform as top priorities. AEE joined over 60 advanced energy business leaders last month in a letter urging Congress to extend critical tax credits as soon as possible. AEE issued a statement congratulating both Wyden and Landrieu on their new roles. Click on the button below to read the comments AEE submitted to the Senate Finance Committee on Energy Tax Reform earlier this month.
In another major move, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced his retirement after four decades in the House. His record includes the climate and energy bill that passed the House in 2009 but failed to move forward in the Senate. With his departure, three democrats may be vying to take his spot as the ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and John Dingell (D-MI).
Congressional posturing around the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations for power plants continues, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) maneuvering to force a vote on the issue, despite the lack of impact it will have on the regulations. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy has declared her agency’s authority to issue the regulations a “done deal.” The regulations could increase opportunities for advanced energy technologies to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, depending on the ultimate regulatory design.
On January 30, President Barack Obama nominated Norman Bay to be the next FERC chairman. Bay has been the enforcement director at FERC since 2009, where he’s led efforts to crack down on energy market manipulation.
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