Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets

Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets
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DNC VOTES TO REJECT FOSSIL FUEL COMPANY DONATIONS: The Democratic party's main fundraising arm will no longer accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies.

The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution over the weekend to reject "corporate PAC contributions from the fossil fuel industry."

The resolution first brought by Christine Pelosi, a member of the committee and the daughter of House minority leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders MORE, was introduced as a way to connect with grassroots voters and reconnect to the party's stance on environmentalism.

"Climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels represents an existential threat to civilization, and Democrats committed in our 2016 Platform to curbing the effects of climate change, protecting America's natural resources, and ensuring the quality of our air, water, and land for current and future generations," read the text of the resolution provided to The Hill by the DNC.

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The decision follows in the footsteps of a previous one made under former President Obama to ban all corporate PAC donations to the DNC.

"Fossil fuel corporations are drowning our democracy in a tidal wave of dark oily money; they have deceived the public about the impacts of climate change, fought the growth of clean renewable energy, and corrupted our political system," the resolution read.

We've got more on the decision here.

 

Happy Tuesday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Congress did not get the memo that today was Washington Capitals day, but we spotted FERC commissioner Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeOvernight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets Journalists take a trip down the rabbit hole at CNN's 'Alice in Wonderland'-themed brunch Regulators seek to remove barriers to electric grid storage MORE supporting the team from a congressional hearing this morning.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

 

ENERGY COMMISSION SAYS COAL PLANT CLOSURES NOT A SECURITY RISK: Federal energy regulators on Tuesday indicated they do not see a national security risk from the closure of coal and nuclear power plants in the U.S.

Asked by Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThe Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Gary Johnson launches New Mexico Senate bid Hillicon Valley: 'QAnon' conspiracy theory jumps to primetime | Senate Intel broadens look into social media manipulation | Senate rejects push for more election security funds | Reddit reveals hack MORE (D-N.M.) at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing whether they believed the U.S. faced a national security emergency in wholesale power markets because of the closures, none of the five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) answered in the affirmative.

Four of the five members were appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE.

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Trump Cabinet officials head west | Zinke says California fires are not 'a debate about climate change' | Perry tours North Dakota coal mine | EPA chief meets industry leaders in Iowa to discuss ethanol mandate Perry: US to become net energy exporter within 18 months New Homeland Security unit will battle threats to critical U.S. assets MORE last fall submitted a controversial proposal to subsidize struggling U.S. coal and nuclear plants, arguing it was necessary to keep the power grid dependable.

FERC unanimously rejected the multibillion dollar proposal in January, saying it was not legally defensible.

U.S. coal and nuclear plants are facing increased competition in the U.S. from renewable energy. This has led to a number of plant closures and calls for help from the federal government.

We have the details here.

 

SENATE APPROPRIATORS REJECT TRUMP'S INTERIOR, EPA CUTS: A Senate subcommittee moved Tuesday to advance a $35.85 billion funding bill for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), rejecting many of the proposed cuts that the Trump administration sought for both agencies.

The total proposed funding level for fiscal 2019 is 26.7 percent higher than what President Trump asked for in his budget proposal earlier this year, which was $28.3 billion. It's about $600 million higher than the funding Congress gave to the agencies for fiscal 2018.

The proposal gained recent bipartisan support in the Senate Appropriations Committee's subpanel with responsibility for Interior and EPA.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Trump nominee won't say if he supports funding agency he was selected to run MORE (R-Alaska), the subpanel's chairwoman, said the bill rejects "unwarranted decreases proposed in the budget and [makes] investments in our highest priorities, especially infrastructure investment for the land management agencies, Indian country and wastewater and drinking water improvements."

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallCourt orders Trump EPA to ban controversial pesticide Top Dems: Trump tweet telling Sessions to end Mueller probe was obstruction of justice Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press MORE (N.M.), the panel's top Democrat, said he was able to support the bill that he and Murkowski wrote because of the major budget agreement that Congress and Trump reached earlier this year.

"That allowed us to provide targeted but important increases to programs funded by this bill and to reject the administration's unjustifiable cuts to Indian education and healthcare and EPA's bedrock environmental enforcement functions, as well as its proposal to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund and hemorrhage many of our national cultural institutions."

The EPA's funding would be $8.82 billion, the same as fiscal 2018. Trump had sought a cut to $6.1 billion.

The National Park Service would get $3.2 billion, $513 million higher than what Trump wanted.

Importantly, the bill has no policy provisions, except ones that were in previous legislation that made it through Congress.

"We have assembled a package that both sides can support in committee, with the ultimate goal of taking the bill to the Senate floor," Murkowski said.

Read more.

 

INTERIOR STOPPED MINING STUDY THEY DIDN'T THINK WOULD HAVE NEW FINDINGS: Interior Department officials canceled a major mountaintop removal mining study because they didn't think it would yield new findings, the agency's internal watchdog said.

Mary Kendall, Interior's deputy inspector general, explained the finding in a letter to Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which Grijalva released Tuesday.

Interior officials had never publicly given that reasoning previously, saying only that the funding for the study that was being conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) was undergoing financial review.

But Kendall's staff also found that Interior did not have documentation to justify their conclusion that the study wouldn't yield new information.

"Other than a general document entitled 'Secretary of the Interior's Priorities,' departmental officials were unable to provide specific criteria, used for their determination whether to allow or cease certain grants and cooperative agreements," Kendall wrote to Grijalva.

"Departmental officials decided to halt the study because they did not believe it would produce any new information and felt the costs would exceed the benefits," she said.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's water and power subcommittee will hold a hearing on three bills.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on how the Army Corps of Engineers handles surplus water.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Regulators apply brakes to UMaine offshore wind project, The Press Herald reports.

One of Wyoming's largest coal producers plans to close an office among market pressures, KPVI reports.

SeaWorld, Busch Gardens ban plastic straws, bags in all parks, KENS-5 news reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-DNC to reject fossil fuel company donations

-Watchdog: Interior thought mountaintop mining study wouldn't 'produce any new information'

-Tennessee woman sues NASA to keep her vial of moon dust from Neil Armstrong

-Half of women in science have experienced harassment, study finds

-Energy commission sees no national security risk from coal plant closures

-Dems accuse Interior of holding up key grants

-Senate panel rejects Trump's proposed Interior, EPA cuts