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Overnight Energy: Confederate flag fight blocks Interior, EPA bill

SPENDING BILL PULLED AMID FLAG FIGHT: House Republican leadership abruptly pulled their spending bill for the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday amid a late-developing and bitter debate over Confederate flag provisions in the bill. 

The House late Tuesday voted to ban the flag's display at national cemeteries, even small flags on certain holidays in the south, and future sales of Confederate merchandise in gift shops. But Republicans complained after the voice vote.

Rep. Ken CalvertKenneth (Ken) Stanton CalvertMORE (R-Calif.), the legislation's lead author, introduced an amendment to the bill late Wednesday to allow the Confederate flag under certain circumstances at national cemeteries.

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Calvert's proposal — which he introduced, leadership aides later said, to give Republicans the chance to vote on those amendments — would undo the voice vote.

That sparked resistance from Democrats who slammed the amendment in floor speeches on Thursday morning.

Leadership eventually pulled the bill with Speaker John Boehner saying he didn't want the flag to become a "political football."

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) forced the House to vote on a bill that would remove from the Capitol flags incorporating elements of the Confederate flag, such as Mississippi's state flag, but that motion failed.

The flag fight intensified what was already a bitter debate over the spending bill. Most Democrats opposed the legislation because of its deep cuts to the EPA, and Republicans worried that the flag provisions might lead some in their party to oppose the bill and sink it on the floor. 

Read more here and here.

ON TAP FRIDAY I: The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a discussion on the International Energy Agency's Energy Technology Perspectives 2015 report. Jean-François Gagné, head of the agency's energy technology policy division, will present the report.

ON TAP FRIDAY II: The Tai Initiative will hold its annual conference on subnational relations between the United States and China. It will feature sessions on water technologies and partnerships in energy, environment and climate change.

AROUND THE WEB:

A company is proposing to frack gas wells with propane in upstate New York to get around the state's ban on traditional fracking, the Ithaca Journal reports.

Minnesota could get up to $25 million from BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement because of loons that are native to the state but were in the Gulf at the time, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Experts are predicting a near-record year for toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ... 

- Feds fine chemical company for leak that killed 4
- Green groups mark spending bill's failure
- Dem mayor: GOP resistance to gas tax hike 'borders on disgust'
- Study links bee declines to climate change
- Utilities lobby top Obama officials on climate rule
- House cancels vote amid fight over Confederate flag
- Heritage Action scoring bill to phase out the gas tax
- Hoyer rips GOP for push to restore Confederate flag at national parks
- GOP bill would hike gas tax by 10 cents
- House may reverse course on Confederate flag

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill