By Anthony Adragna | 10/12/2017 10:00 AM EDT

With help from Eric Wolff and Esther Whieldon

PERRY STEPS INTO E&C HOTSEAT: Energy Secretary Rick Perry makes his much-anticipated debut before the House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee today at 10 a.m. and several members are planning to press him on his grid resilience proposal, which would benefit coal-fired and nuclear power plants. "I have many concerns with this proposal, starting with the fact that this is chiefly a policy matter that should be left to Congress and the states," ranking member Frank Pallone will say in his opening remarks. "You are distorting the market, damaging the environment, and delivering preferential treatment to favored industries."

Pallone plans to send a letter seeking more information on Perry's process in developing the proposal - but don't expect criticism of Perry's plan to be a purely one-party affair: Texas Republican Rep. Pete Olson last week said he was concerned because DOE's proposal "appears to be picking winners and losers" and a normally friendly face, Rep. Joe Barton, declined to discuss his planned line of questioning.

But some panel members are expected to be big fans: West Virginia Rep. David McKinley told ME he'll be "very supportive" of Perry's request of FERC, and he scoffed at criticism that the plan was unfairly playing favorites by propping up the struggling nuclear and coal sectors. "It's an insurance policy that we never have a blackout in this country. Isn't there some value in that?" he asked. "I don't think it's picking winners and losers at all." ME would look for Reps. Morgan Griffith and Bill Johnson to also be big backers of the proposal.

Perry response: According to a copy of his opening statement, Perry will stress that his request of FERC is just a "first step" in a conversation while at the same time emphasizing he'll take whatever action necessary to protect the U.S. grid's resiliency. "I will not sit idly by when I see a threat to that reliability, or a reasonable course of action that is within my authority to mitigate it," he plans to say.

What else what else? At least three other issues seem likely to crop up throughout the hearing:
-Democrats will ask Perry for guarantees and additional information concerning more than $56,000 in non-commercial travel he took since coming into office. Pallone will ask DOE's inspector general in a letter today to probe his non-commercial travel habits.
-Questions from both parties about DOE's next move in restarting the Yucca Mountain program. Remember Sen. Dean Heller lifted his hold on DOE Deputy Dan Brouillette's confirmation after unspecified progress on the matter, but we haven't heard much since then.
-Why the agency conditionally approved a $3.7 billion increase in federal loan guarantees for the troubled, over-budget Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia and whether it intends to further wade into similar nuclear matters.

If you go: Perry settles into the witness chair at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2123. More here.

WELCOME TO THURSDAY! I'm your host Anthony Adragna, and EPA's Aaron Ringel was first up to identify Strom Thurmond as the only senator ever reelected in their 90s. For today: Who is the only chemist currently serving in Congress? Send your tips, energy gossip and comments to aadragna@politico.com, or follow us on Twitter @AnthonyAdragna, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

FUNDAMENTAL GHG REGULATORY AUTHORITY PONDERED: EPA plans to question whether it even has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and how states might craft their own plans to upgrade coal plants as it ponders a replacement to the Clean Power Plan, Pro's Emily Holden reports , citing excerpts of a draft notice. The agency continues to mull "whether it is appropriate to propose a rule," and must "ascertain the scope of legal authority that Congress conferred to EPA" before proceeding. In the document - an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in Washington speak - EPA calls itself as "a creature of statute," and notes that the Clean Air Act delegates air pollution control to states and local governments. Pros learned the document went over to OMB for review earlier Wednesday.

CAN ALREADY SMELL THOSE JET FUMES: Two days after posting the measure, the House is expected today to clear a $36.5 billion emergency funding package H.R. 2266 (115) for hurricane and wildfire relief and recovery. Senate consideration will have to wait until next week, at least. "We think it's critical that we pass this legislation this week to give the people in California the support they need to fight these fires, to help the victims, and also to help the communities still recovering and dealing with the humanitarian problems with the hurricanes," Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday.

Energy bill clears House: Lawmakers cleared by voice vote legislation S. 190 (115) that exempts certain equipment that needs to remain on at all times from energy use restrictions for an additional six years. "Devices like home security alarms or fire detection need to be on 24/7," Olson said on the floor. "But, the 2007 energy law on energy efficiency standards for external power supplies did not allow for this." It now moves to the White House, after having already passed the Senate.

ACCUWEATHER CEO TAPPED FOR NOAA CHIEF: Trump announced late Wednesday his selection of Barry Myers, CEO of weather-forecasting firm AccuWeather, to lead NOAA, POLITICO's Henry C. Jackson reports. CEO since 2007, Myers would take over one of the key agencies in conducting climate research and assessing climate change if confirmed by the Senate. An attorney by training, Myers significant business background fits the mold of many other picks for officials in Trump's administration.

** Presented by ExxonMobil: We're collaborating with FuelCell Energy on a novel idea to use fuel cells to capture carbon at natural gas power plants, and in the process reduce emissions and increase electrical output. This technology could be a game changer in addressing the world's growing need for energy, while also reducing the impact on the environment. Learn more. **


HOUSE PANEL PASSES ANTIQUITIES ACT BILL: The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday passed, on a vote of 23-17, Chairman Rob Bishop's bill H.R. 3990 (115) that would require a federal environmental review process and approval from local officials to designate any monument bigger than 640 acres in size and block the creation of new marine national monuments "with no archeological or historic sites in need of protection." The committee rejected a resolution by Rep. Raul Grijalva that aimed to have Zinke disclose more information about his review of existing national monument designations.

Bishop defended his bill to ME: "If I was going back to the old mantra of just doing away with the Antiquities Act, [the criticisms] still wouldn't hurt my feelings. We're not doing that. What we're doing is coming up what I think is a moderate, rationale way of establishing process so it's not about any president, it's not about any monument."

But greens and public lands advocates bashed it: "This bill upends a century of the Antiquities Act being successfully used by Republican and Democratic presidents to protect some of the most iconic and loved parks and public lands in our country," The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks said in a statement. "And this is being done to allow development of these lands that belong to all Americans for the benefit of private companies and individuals."

SENATORS: 'FULLY IMPLEMENT' RUSSIA ENERGY SANCTIONS: Sens. John McCain and Ben Cardin urged Trump in a Wednesday letter to "fully implement" sanctions on companies that engage in Russian energy projects, POLITICO's Elana Schor reports . "The administration must also clearly communicate to energy companies in the U.S. and around the world that it will aggressively enforce all mandatory energy sanctions laid out in the law," the bipartisan duo wrote.

TAKING A FIRM STANCE: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and environmental advocates are holding an event today at 2:30 p.m. at a Lower East Side community garden "denouncing the polluter takeover of the EPA and the Republican assault on the agency's budget," according to an advisory.

ZINKE'S FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES DRAW MIXED REACTION: Bishop told ME Wednesday the types of fundraising Zinke's done on official Interior trips has "always been done" and that he wasn't too worried about the revelations. "It's a game that's being played," the Utah congressman said. "I don't take it too seriously." But that's not the unanimous feeling: New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan tweeted Wednesday Zinke's mixing of fundraising with official business, revealed by POLITICO, "needs to be investigated."

Richard Painter, chief ethics adviser to George W. Bush, tweeted Zinke's attendance of a Montana fundraiser while on official travel was a "Hatch Act violation."

EPA AIR ADVISER PICKED: David Harlow, a lawyer with expertise in the Clean Air Act most recently with Hunton & Williams, has joined EPA in an advisory role to the Office of Air and Radiation, Pro's Eric Wolff reports, citing multiple sources familiar with the move. His role will most closely resemble that of Joe Goffman, who was senior counsel to the Air Office during the Obama administration. The agency did not respond to requests for comment.

AND THE FIRST SOLAR SHALL BE LAST: After months of remaining mum on a solar trade tariff case, thin film solar producer First Solar waded into the fray Wednesday with a filing to the U.S. International Trade Commission arguing that tariffs would be a good idea. The position is a boost for Suniva and Solar World, who won a unanimous injury determination from the ITC last month. "My overarching point is that the Commission should reject the notion that [crystalline silicon photovoltaic] industry must be left to die so that the downstream solar industry may live," writes Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. "I firmly believe the commission can design an effective remedy that allows solar demand to continue to flourish."

Tariffs wouldn't affect First Solar's supplies: The Solar Energy Industries Association, of which First Solar is a member, has repeatedly pointed out to reporters and the commission that thin film products are not covered by the case. So if the commission recommends a strict remedy to the president, First Solar could see its competition from much the rest of the sector wane.

EPA MOVES ON HARVEY-IMPACTED SUPERFUND SITE: EPA announced Wednesday it approved a plan that would see the removal of tons of dioxins from the Houston-area San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site that sustained damage and leaked material in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. "EPA is prioritizing Superfund clean-up by making decisions in a decisive, timely manner," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. Cleaning up the site, which was first added to the National Priorities List in 2008, will cost an estimated $115 million.

Houston-area Democratic Rep. Gene Green thanked EPA for the decision but said: "We will be monitoring the remediation process closely and call on the EPA to move as quickly as possible before more damage is done."

YIKES: There are reports of Puerto Ricans drinking from wells located on Superfund sites on the island, EPA said Wednesday. In a statement, the agency said it "advises against tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells." According to government data, just 64 percent of residents have access to potable drinking water and less than 11 percent of the island has electricity.

McKINLEY UPBEAT ON COAL EFFORTS: McKinley says the Trump administration has already made significant progress on 11 of the 14 priority areas to boost coal he presented to Vice President Mike Pence last year. "[Trump] has done a lot of things, but we're not trying to play favorites," he told ME. "Just give us a level playing field." Developed in consultation with the Congressional Coal Caucus, McKinley's memo calls for rolling back Obama administration climate change efforts and several EPA regulations. He now hopes the administration can work on boosting U.S. coal exports globally, where he says there's "voracious appetite."

MAIL CALL! LAWMAKERS WANT BRISTOL BAY PROTECTED: More than 40 congressional Democrats, led by Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jared Huffman, sent a letter to Trump urging him not to loosen protections on Bristol Bay in Alaska that would enable construction of the Pebble Mine. "The EPA's plan to reverse clean water safeguards is egregious and inconsistent with science, and frankly, inconsistent with basic logic," they wrote in a letter.

TWIN LETTERS OPPOSE ANWR IN BUDGET: A collection of 90 professional athletes and 90 outdoor companies and recreation organizations sent separate letters to Congress opposing efforts to opening ANWR to oil drilling in the budget process.

REPORT: INTERNAL CARBON PRICING UP BIG: The number of companies setting an internal carbon price into operations has increased eightfold over the last four years, according to a report out today from CDP. It concludes a full 75 percent of the energy and utilities sectors' market cap now include an internal carbon price into their operations.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOE! Both Perry and Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette tweeted pictures of a massive cake and birthday celebration DOE held Wednesday.

FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE: Watch PBS' entire episode of "Frontline" on Pruitt here.

QUICK HITS

- BNP Paribas to Stop Financing Shale, Oil Sands Projects. Wall Street Journal.

- O'Halleran hedges bets on climate change action. Arizona Daily Sun.

- Report: Key changes needed to prevent fiery rail crashes. AP.

- Coal Operator Plans to Idle Western Kentucky Mine. AP.

- Most US oil executives see prices below $60 per barrel through 2018. Reuters.

- 10 Weeks, 10 Hurricanes, and a 124-Year-Old Record Is Matched. New York Times.

THAT'S ALL FOR ME!

**Presented by ExxonMobil: Energy is fundamental to modern life and drives economic prosperity - in small communities across America and around the world. We need a range of solutions to meet growing energy demand while reducing emissions to address the risk of climate change. Visit the Energy Factor to learn more about some of the bold ideas and next-generation technologies we're working on to meet this challenge: EnergyFactor.com **

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-energy/2017/10/12/lawmakers-to-grill-perry-on-grid-resiliency-plan-222764

To change your alert settings, please go to https://secure.politico.com/settings

This email was sent to contact@emailingnewsletter.com by: POLITICO, LLC 1000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA, 22209, USA

Please click here and follow the steps to unsubscribe.