Energy & Environment

Week ahead: Trump officials to huddle on Paris climate deal

Greg Nash

Trump administration officials — including Ivanka Trump — are due to discuss the United States’ involvement in the Paris climate deal next week as the White House nears a decision on the fate of the pact.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and chief adviser — and a supporter of tackling climate change — will reportedly meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday. Pruitt is among a group of Trump officials and advisers who oppose the 2015 deal and are arguing the United States should leave it.  

Trump told supporters at an April 29 rally that he would announce a decision on the status of the climate deal within weeks, meaning he could be days away from either pulling out of the agreement or staying in it. Trump is reportedly leaning towards ending the U.S.’s involvement in the pact, an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal is one of the crowning achievements of the Obama administration’s climate change agenda, with the U.S. committing to reduce its emissions by up to 28 percent.

{mosads}Trump — who does not believe the science of climate change — has trashed the deal as unfair to the U.S. But it has strong support among business groups, who have urged the White House to consider the economic impact of removing the U.S. from international efforts to make the energy sector more green.

State Department officials told the Associated Press on Friday that a United States delegation would attend United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, this month but that the decision is not an indication of Trump’s thinking on the plan.

Meanwhile, the Senate has until Thursday to pass a bill undoing a major Obama administration methane regulation.

The House in February passed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to undo a Bureau of Land Management methane pollution rule. But the resolution has languished in the Senate amid a fierce lobbying battle between drillers who want the rule gone, and environmentalists who say it appropriately limits a potent greenhouse gas.

Under the deadlines set by the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the Senate has until May 11 to pass the bill or the regulation stays on the books. Trump has already ordered a review of the rule, signaling his goal of ultimately nixing it, but the administrative process for doing so takes a lot longer than using an immediate CRA resolution.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Thursday was bullish about passing the bill before the deadline, but Senate leaders have yet to put it on the schedule.

There are several complications facing the bill. For one, a handful of Midwestern Republicans indicated last week they would hold up the bill in order to get a vote on legislation allowing year-round sales of gasoline with high ethanol blends.

And even before that threat, supporters of the CRA had zero margin for error in their vote-counting operation. At least two Republicans — Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — have indicated their opposition to the bill, and four senators are publicly on the fence.

CRA resolutions can pass with only a majority vote in the Senate, but all four undecided senators need to vote for it in order for that to happen.  

In the committees next week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the role of the public and private sectors in water resources management. On Wednesday, the committee will meet to hear states’ opinions on possible reforms to the Endangered Species Act.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet on Wednesday to consider a hodge-podge of seven bills.


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Tags John Cornyn Lindsey Graham Susan Collins

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