Rep. Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who chairs the energy subcommittee of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, is the latest guest on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. Here are a few takeaways:
Paris: He's not calling for the U.S. to abandon the Paris climate accord, a move the White House is considering. Upton notes that it doesn't impose binding emissions requirements.
- "I don't have a problem with that, because there was no mandate that was there, it was a goal," he said when asked whether the U.S. should stay.
Infrastructure: The package that lawmakers and the White House are expected to work on (at some point) should have a substantial energy title, he said.
Upton, who spent three terms as chairman of the full panel, envisions it focusing on protecting grid infrastructure and cybersecurity.
Energy Department: He expects a DOE reauthorization bill to emerge in the late summer or early fall. "I think that will be a pretty big item on our agenda," Upton said.
Coal: Asked if he sees a comeback for coal, once the dominant source of U.S. electricity, Upton replied: "I don't."
- But he noted, "we're not turning it off like that, [snaps fingers]," and predicts it will stay in the "neighborhood" of its current share. Coal provides roughly a third of the nation's power.