- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Plenty of hearings for all the energy and environmental policy junkies out there (myself included.)

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is hearing pieces of an expected energy legislative package this week — and through the end of the month. Among the more interesting is likely to be Thursday’s committee hearing on giving the federal government more authority to construct new power lines.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced one of the session’s first major pieces of energy legislation last week — a plan to speed renewable energy power to the market through increased power to build power lines that connect wind, solar and geothermal power plants to the national electric grid.

Senate Energy leaders Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, and Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, also introduced an energy water plan that would spur new research into how water can be used better in energy production. That proposal gets a hearing in the committee on Tuesday.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment will hold a hearing Tuesday on the future of coal under climate legislation and a Thursday on consumer protection policies in climate legislation.

The specifics of major energy and climate policy proposals are quickly taking shape on the Hill. However, many key factors have yet to be hashed out — House leaders have said they would like to pass climate change legislation as part of a broader energy plan.

Deadlines for passage have varied — from the more optimistic pre-Memorial Day date set by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman to a more conservative estimate of sometime next year, as Mr. Bingaman sees it.

‘I don’t wanna grow up …’

The green revolution starts at home, with solar-powered toy grasshoppers, the do-it-yourself solar energy kit and post-modernist Cella Blue — a collection of wooden blocks that looks as if it’s more suited to the junior architect in the family.

Fat Brain Toys is touting its line of eco-bric-a-brac and playthings for the “Green Generation.”

Not included in the organic toy line are some of the more aggressive — less brainy — offerings of yesteryear. Battle-action He-Man or G.I.-Joe these toys are not.

The HR File

Rep. Edward Markey, the House’s point man on energy and environmental legislation as chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, added to his staffing power last week, continuing a migration of staffers from environmental groups back to the federal government.

Michael Goo will act as special counsel to House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. He comes from the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he served as climate legislative director.

“Michael brings with him an encyclopedia of knowledge on these subjects, and he will be a great resource in enabling the House to pass climate change legislation,” Mr. Markey said.

Tom LoBianco can be reached at [email protected]

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