OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama confronts climate skeptics on Earth Day

'THIS IS A PROBLEM NOW': President Obama used his Earth Day speech Wednesday to try to convince Americans not only that climate change is real, but that its effects are happening now.

"This is a not a problem for another generation. Not anymore," Obama said in his speech. "This is a problem now. It has serious implications for the way we live right now."

The Obama administration has been focusing squarely on public lands like Everglades National Park -- where he delivered the speech -- in the run-up to Earth Day this year in an effort to highlight what it sees as very real effects of climate change that can be observed now.

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But Obama's visit also gave him an opportunity to confront climate skeptics like Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeTrump’s policies, actions create divide on Russia New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-Okla.) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), without mentioning them by name.

On Inhofe: "Yes, this winter was cold in some parts of this country, including Washington. Some people in Washington helpfully used a snowball to illustrate that fact."

On Scott: People are fighting climate change "because they know that simply refusing to say the words 'climate change' doesn't mean that climate change isn't happening."

Read more here.

EARTH DAY BILLS: Democrats used Earth Day as an opportunity to announce various pieces of pro-environment legislation. Here are some highlights:

A bill from Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanHouse backs resolution expressing support for ICE House GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-Wis.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) would ban hydraulic fracturing on all public lands.

Six Senate Democrats from northeastern states want to stop the Interior Department's proposal to allow offshore drilling somewhere between Virginia and Georgia.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) introduced a bill to halt offshore fracking off the West Coast pending an environmental review.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who helped write California's landmark 2006 climate change law, introduced a bill aimed at increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency while cutting carbon pollution.

Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) introduced a bill to put a tax on greenhouse gas emissions.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight House passes measure blocking IRS from revoking churches' tax-exempt status over political activity Senators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS MORE (D-Ore.) introduced a pair of bills to encourage development of geothermal and ocean wave power.

ON TAP THURSDAY I: The House Energy and Commerce Committee holds its first hearing on the workforce portion of its in-progress energy overhaul bill. The committee hears testimony from a handful of college administrators.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology holds a hearing on the science behind hydraulic fracturing.

Rest of Thursday's agenda ...

A House Natural Resources Committee subcommittee holds a hearing on wildfires and how to manage overgrown federal lands.

Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits MORE (R-Iowa), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Jacky Rosen hits Dean Heller over health care in first negative ad GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh MORE (R-Nev.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerMcConnell calls for Senate hearings on Russia sanctions GOP seeks separation from Trump on Russia Republican bill aims to deter NATO members from using Russian pipeline MORE (R-Colo.) address the American Council on Renewable Energy's Renewable Energy Policy Forum.

James Goudreau, director of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, talks about "Energy Efficiency: Psychology, Behavior and the Environment" at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The Association of Climate Change Officers holds its Defense, National Security and Climate Change Symposium. A handful of administration officials speak. 

Three Obama advisers -- Laura Peters, Rick Driggers and Samantha Medlock -- speak on Obama's Climate Action Plan at the American Meteorological Society's Washington Forum.

NEWS BITE: The House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on energy and power voted Wednesday to advance a bill aimed at delaying and weakening the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) climate rule for power plants.

Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.) the chairman of the panel and sponsor of the bill, said that through six hearings on the rule, the subcommittee has heard various objections to it from stakeholders, and his bill aims to incorporate those lessons.

"I must say the disagreement has been pretty ferocious and many people view this as an unprecedented action by EPA," he said.

"That's why many of us view this energy plan by the EPA and by the president as being extreme, and that's why I think this commonsense legislation provides additional protections and slows down the rush for a while."

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) compared the Republicans to flat-Earthers and pointed out that the vote was happening on Earth Day.

"As most of the world celebrates the 45th annual Earth Day, today we are here marking up a bill that would undo much of the progress that the Obama administration has put forward to actually help mitigate some of the disastrous effects of climate change and help put our planet on a more sustainable path moving forward," he said.

The bill now goes to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, where it enjoys broad support.

AROUND THE WEB:

The conservative government of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is under fire after leaked documents showed that it is behind the University of Western Australia's decision to host a think tank led by Bjorn Lomborg, who has argued that the harms from climate change are overstated, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The European Commission has filed a formal antitrust complaint against Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A new study has found that neonicotinoid pesticides are dramatically harming wild bees, the Associated Press reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Wednesday's stories ...

- 'Avengers' director slams lawmakers skeptical of climate change

- House GOP unveils spending cuts for 2016
- Obama on climate change: 'This is a problem now'
- Senate Dems take on Obama on Atlantic drilling
- Liberals target 'absurd' tax breaks for fossil fuels
- Poll: Conservatives alone say global warming won't happen during their lives
- Committee passes $35B funding bill for energy, water development
- Dems unveil 'strongest anti-fracking bill' for federal land
- Oklahoma earthquakes linked to oil, gas drilling
- ExxonMobil to pay $5M fine for 2013 spill
- Obama to talk parks, climate in Florida
- White House hits Florida gov on climate
- Ex-Im fight goes nuclear

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