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At least two congressional hearings today are likely to become public battlegrounds over the Energy Department's latest proposal. Photo: AP File

Powerful energy interests are fast taking sides and making opening moves around the Energy Department's instantly controversial new proposal to ensure power markets reward coal and nuclear plants for their "reliability and resilience" attributes.

The latest: Eleven energy trade groups that don't exactly see eye-to-eye on some topics — ranging from the American Petroleum Institute to wind and solar trade groups — made a joint filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday opposing DOE's push for a very fast 60-day rulemaking.

  • In their words: The filing calls it one of the most significant proposed rules in "decades," one that could "affect electricity prices paid by hundreds of millions of consumers and hundreds of thousands of businesses, as well as entire industries and their tens of thousands of workers."
  • Behind the news: The quick action by this strange bedfellows coalition signals how natural gas and renewables lobbyists are deeply concerned about the proposal.

At the moment, FERC is moving much faster than the groups want. The filing asks for 90 days to comment, but right now FERC is asking for initial comments by Oct. 23.

What's happening today: Another sign that DOE's surprise move is the new big thing: at least two congressional hearings today are likely to become public battlegrounds over the proposal. It will surface at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the grid and a separate House Science Committee session.

Prepared testimony from a major coal industry group for the Energy and Commerce session calls for the rule to be adopted "as quickly as possible.""DOE's proposal is a major step toward achieving long overdue reforms in wholesale electricity markets," states the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.Similarly, the Nuclear Energy Institute's testimony calls for fast action on the rule.On the other side, API testimony promoting natural gas and comments from wind and solar groups is slightly less explicit, but unmistakably signals their concern.Go deeper: Utility Dive looks in-depth at how power industry experts are reacting to the proposal, while a new edition of the Interchange, a Greentech Media podcast, unpacks it all here.

Go deeper

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.
Kate Marino, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views of their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of canceled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

The shifting definition of fully vaccinated

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The definition of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" is evolving even as the CDC has remained careful not to change it officially.

Why it matters: CDC officials have been balancing the job of convincing Americans who've already gotten two doses of the importance of boosters with getting many Americans who still need their first doses to get their shots at all.