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Democrats are launching a new push to revive a stalled effort to force oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments for projects in their countries.
Happening today: Ten Senate Democrats led by Ben Cardin will urge the Securities and Exchange Commission in a letter to "promptly" re-issue the disclosure regulation that's required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.
They lost the last round big time: In February, Congress and the Trump administration, backed by some major oil companies (like Exxon) and business groups, nullified a 2016 version of the rule with a resolution passed under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
Why it matters: Cardin joins human rights groups who say the transparency law is a key weapon against the "resource curse" —the corruption, conflict and poverty that often afflicts energy-producing nations in Africa and elsewhere. Cardin, who co-authored the Dodd-Frank disclosure mandate with then-GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, also says the disclosures will give needed info to investors.
Regulation status? It's complicated: The CRA, a product of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America that Republicans are giving a heavy workout for the first time, bars regulators from issuing another rule in substantially the same form.
Bloomberg has new information that's emerging about the nuclear energy startup founded by Google's Mike Cassidy, who previously headed Google's Project Loon and, the story notes, remains an advisor to the tech giant.
What's new: Bloomberg's Brad Stone noticed Apollo Fusion, Cassidy's company that's outside of Google, has now revealed a little more about its vision on its website, touting plans for modular reactors of varying sizes for villages or large cities.
The federal nexus:
The company, according to the website, is working with the Energy Department's Idaho National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on R&D.
The White House announced last night that it's nominating Dan R. Brouillette to be deputy secretary of Energy, the number two slot at the Department of Energy.
Why it matters: The lack of high-level deputies has slowed work at agencies and made it tougher for Congress to work with them. Brouillette is the first nominee picked for one of the major Senate-confirmed slots at the energy and environment agencies.
It also matters because...Brouillette knows his way around the agency at the Capitol. He's currently a top official at USAA, which provides a suite of insurance and financial services to military families. Brouillette is a former chief of staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and before that served at DOE early in the George W. Bush administration, where he was assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs from 2001 to 2003.
The country's biggest coal producer is out of bankruptcy. Peabody Energy said Monday that it has emerged from Chapter 11 and cut its debt by over $5 billion over the past year.
Headwinds: "Nationwide, about 60,000 coal-mining jobs, or more than 40 percent, have disappeared since 2011. U.S. coal production last year hit its lowest level since 1978," the Associated Press reports in its piece on Peabody's reemergence.
CEO on Trump's plan: CEO Glenn Kellow tells the Financial Times that he's pleased with Trump's efforts to help the coal industry, including plans to kill EPA's carbon emissions rules for utilities. Kellow believes it could prevent some coal-fired plants from closing.
Electric vehicles: Wired magazine explores how designers are looking at new ways to ensure electric vehicles aren't too quiet, jeopardizing safety.
Oil and gas: The federal Energy Information Administration has released new data on the collective size of capital spending increases by U.S. oil producers.
Renewable snacks: North American Windpower reports that 7-Eleven has inked a deal with TXU Energy to buy wind power for its stores in Texas.
LNG: Industry officials are warning that global liquefied natural gas markets could have a supply shortfall in a few years as low prices have stymied investment, Reuters reports.
Congress: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear from Energy Department officials and industry reps about cyber threats to energy delivery systems. More info here.
White House: President Donald Trump meets this afternoon with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in the Oval Office.
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