Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Senate moves to halt Obama’s climate rules

SENATE VOTES DOWN CLIMATE RULES: The Senate voted Tuesday to overturn President Obama’s carbon dioxide limits for power plants, the key piece of his climate change agenda.

In a pair of votes, senators passed resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to stop the regulations for existing power plants and for new ones.

Less than two weeks before the United Nations climate deal negotiations in Paris, the GOP wanted to send a strong message that they disagree with the rules, which represent the main pillar of what Obama is contributing to the international deal.

{mosads}”If the administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan moves forward, hardship will be felt all across the country,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who sponsored the legislation on the existing plant rule, said on the Senate floor.

“Fewer job opportunities, higher power bills, and less reliable electricity will result.”

Democrats blasted the resolutions and asked why Republican leaders were expending valuable floor time on them instead of on more pressing matters like homeland security.

“I find it really hard to comprehend that a majority of this Senate led by my Republican friends would side with the special interests above the people who simply want to breathe clean air, who simply want to see us dedicated to the fight against climate change,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

The White House said Obama would veto both resolutions if they reach his desk.

Read more here.

GOP: SANDERS SMOKING SOMETHING ON TERROR: Republican senators slammed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s contention that climate change is contributing to global terrorism.

“There is a ballot initiative in Arizona concerning the substance that he must have been consuming,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, referencing a push to legalize marijuana in his state.

During the Democratic presidential debate on Saturday night, Sanders said climate change will lead to more terrorism because extreme weather events will destabilize regions around the world.

But Republicans disputed his analysis on Tuesday, with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, calling it “absurd.”

“I get disappointed when people see momentum around an issue and try to attach an unrelated issue to it,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, said.

Many Democrats have said climate change is a critical threat to the United States, and Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that it could contribute to conflicts in parts of the world.

But Republicans say the administration’s focus should be on other issues, primarily terrorism and the response to last week’s attack in Paris.

Read more here.

BLUMENAUER BOOSTS GREEN ENERGY: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced a bill Tuesday to continue a host of green energy tax credits.

Among the proposals is an extension of the wind energy tax credit through 2016, a provision that lapsed last year. The bill would also give solar energy projects access to their federal tax credits at the beginning of construction, something available under wind energy tax incentives.

In total, Blumenauer’s bill would extend 11 green energy tax credits and reform six others. He would pay for the package by ending several fossil fuel tax provisions.

“With the impacts of climate change already upon us, now more than ever our focus should be on helping clean energy industries grow and thrive,” Blumenauer said in a statement.

“These investments will not only help us transition to a clean energy future, but simultaneously will create good jobs and support American innovation.”

BLM CANCELS LEASE SALE: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) postponed a planned oil and gas lease auction Tuesday in Utah at the last minute.

The move was quickly hailed by environmentalists as a major win after their protests of the sale, which is part of their “keep it in the ground” movement against federal fossil fuel leases.

BLM said in a brief statement that it postponed the lease “to allow the time needed to better accommodate the high level of public interest in attending the sale,” without directly acknowledging the protests.

The Center for Biological Diversity declared victory.

“The BLM knows the public is watching, and that they don’t want our lands and our climate auctioned off to the highest bidder,” Valerie Love, a campaigner with the group, said in a statement.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up its CRA resolutions against the Clean Power Plan. The resolutions are sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and are similar to those passed on the Senate floor on Tuesday evening.

“These resolutions are ultimately about protecting hard-working people from higher electricity prices, threats to grid reliability, and EPA’s economy wide energy tax,” committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said on Tuesday.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Two committees will hold hearings on the Paris climate talks.

In the Senate, the Environment and Public Works Committee will hear testimony from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others.

The House Science Committee, meanwhile, will discuss “how the EPA’s recent carbon emissions regulations will have difficulty meeting the Obama administration’s proposed internationally binding pledge” to reduce carbon emissions as part of a climate deal.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda…

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Chairman Rob Bishop’s (R-Utah) bill to overhaul the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will speak at a Bloomberg Politics event on environmental policy, the Paris climate talks, the Clean Power Plan and other issues.


A pro-ethanol group’s attack ad against Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) is a “Washington-sized load of manure,” the congressman told Vermont Public Radio.

The Associated Press notes that, while demand for coal is dropping, it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

The World Meteorological Organization is the latest group to warn of a monster El Nino this year, calling it one of the biggest on record and saying it’s set to strengthen, CBS News reports.


Check out Tuesday’s stories …

-Senate votes to strike down Obama’s climate rules
-Major countries restrict public financing for coal plants
-GOP senators rip Sanders for linking global terror, climate change
-EPA wants stronger ‘good neighbor’ air rule for states
-Another oil firm pulls out of the Arctic  
-EPA chief: ‘we will prevail’ in power plant lawsuits
-Senate moves toward vote against Obama’s climate rule
-Lumber Liquidators agrees to sell safe vinyl flooring, group says
-‘War on coal’ talk cools in 2016 campaign

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 Barbara Boxer Clean Power Plan Environmental Protection Agency Shelley Moore Capito

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