Energy & Environment: Markey Wants Answers on Rare Earths
• Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., "is pressing the Obama administration for information about alleged Chinese restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals used in defense and energy technologies, warning of threats to U.S. interests," The Hill reports.
• "Three months after BP capped its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, the state of Louisiana is still building a chain of sand berms off its coast to block and capture oil even as federal officials and many scientists argue that the effort will prove pointless," the New York Times reports.
• An Idaho couple has "sued the state to stop the shipments by Imperial Oil and ConocoPhillips" to an oil sands site in Canada, "arguing that the" truck loads delivered there "would threaten the integrity of Idaho's historic portion of U.S. 12, as well as the safety of communities that depend on it as the main road in and out of the area," the Times also reports. "National environmental groups and climate change activists are supporting their efforts, seeing a broader opportunity to stall development of Canada's oil sands, which they denounce as a dirty source of energy. "
• "Combating climate change has long taken a back seat to coal production in West Virginia, but in the hard-fought House race in this state's 1st district, global warming hasn't even made it onto the bus," The Hill reports. "In interviews on Thursday, both the Democratic and Republican nominees for Congress voiced skepticism of the science behind global warming, and the Republican, David McKinley, flatly called concerns about climate change 'an attack on coal.'"
Biography provided by participant
Kovacs has provided the overall direction, strategy, and management for the Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division since he took the vice president post in 1998. That division focuses on multidimensional, national campaigns on energy legislation, environmental rulemakings, telecommunications reform, emerging technologies, and the application of sound science to the federal regulatory process among others.
Kovacs has pioneered the use of cybercasting for Chamber events, recruited and assembled the first science team to work in tandem with policy staff to ensure that federal regulations are based on sound science, formed and chaired the Chamber's Technology Coordinating Group, and helped develop numerous national coalitions in the areas of environment, energy, regulatory affairs, and technology.
Before joining the Chamber, Kovacs was director of worldwide legal affairs for Sunshine Makers, which manufactures nontoxic cleaning products. Previously, he held the position of partner in several Washington, D.C., law firms where his practice focused on environmental law. His government service includes a stint as chief counsel and staff director for the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Commerce. During his tenure as chief counsel, Kovacs was the primary counsel on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs solid and hazardous waste, and the Rail Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act, which reorganized the bankrupt Penn Central Railroad into Conrail.
Kovacs has a law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Scranton.