Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Volkswagen exec apologizes to lawmakers

VW FACES CONGRESS: Volkswagen Group’s top United States official offered a “sincere apology” to lawmakers for his company cheating on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests.

But that didn’t protect Michael Horn from a strong, bipartisan tongue-lashing in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee.

“On behalf of our company, and my colleagues in Germany, I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said at the Thursday hearing.

{mosads}”We have broken the trust of our customers, dealerships and employees, as well as the public and regulators,” he said.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the committee’s chairman, said the idea of deliberately skirting emissions tests was “beyond belief.”

“Attempting to deceive regulators and customers is a double whammy of betrayal,” he said.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the top Democrat, said Volkswagen’s actions are part of a pattern of carmakers cheating the system.

“There seems to be a pervasive culture of deception in this industry, and it has to stop now,” he said.

Read more here

TRIBAL ENERGY BILL PASSES HOUSE: A bill from Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) streamlining the permitting process for energy projects on American Indian land passed the House on Thursday. 

The Interior Department needs to approve any lease deals tribes strike with energy developers, but Young and other Republicans say the process is burdensome and costly. 

The bill they passed Thursday looks to cut down on the federal government’s role in the process. 

“We are doing an indirect thing to allow them to … expand their self-worth and keep their identity,” Young said during floor debate.

The White House opposes the bill, though, saying it removes the feds’ role in the energy permitting process. Officials said this week that they were working on reforming the rules on their own. 

“The administration has been taking meaningful action to update the leasing process for lands held in trust for Indian tribes, and is actively working to expedite appraisals, leasing, and permitting on Indian lands, and to provide resources to ensure safe and responsible development,” an Office of Management and Budget statement Wednesday said. 

Read more here

ON TAP FRIDAY: The House is scheduled to vote on a bill from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) lifting the ban on crude oil exports. The bill has a handful of Democratic co-sponsors, but the White House has already come out against. Supporters of lifting the ban have been working toward an as-of-yet elusive compromise on the measure. Our preview here


Conditions are now “more favorable” for a strong El Nino in Northern California, helping its drought, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Warm ocean temperatures are causing a “massive worldwide coral bleaching event,” the Washington Post reports

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says that if the world doesn’t work to address climate change, “we’ll all be fried, grilled, toasted and roasted.” The Associated Press has the story


Check out Thursday’s stories …

-House votes to speed up tribal energy projects 
-Watchdog report faults Park Service cabin where Biden stayed 
-Senate Dems block energy spending bill 
-Interest groups appeal to Congress on oil exports 
-Dems ask EPA to go beyond UN on aircraft emissions 
-Volkswagen exec offers ‘sincere apology‘ for emissions scandal
-Supporters of ending the oil-export ban eye a deal 

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  


Tags Frank Pallone Fred Upton House Energy and Commerce Committee Volkswagen
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