Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: House votes to reject Obama’s power plant rules

HOUSE FORCES CLIMATE RULE SHOWDOWN: The House voted Tuesday to overturn President Obama’s controversial climate rules for power plants.

The House voted 242-180 to send a Senate-passed resolution against the Clean Power Plan to Obama’s desk. Members also passed a resolution against another power plant rule on a 235-188 vote.

The White House has promised Obama will veto the bills, making the House’s move mostly symbolic.

{mosads}But Republicans, who have looked to undercut Obama’s negotiating position in Paris, said the resolutions show their opposition to the climate platform Obama is pushing on the world stage.

The legislation passed Tuesday would permanently block the main pillar of Obama’s climate agenda, and while they know they can do little to stop the rules while Obama holds the veto pen, Republicans said they feel that sending a strong signal against climate action is important.

“What the heck? This is all done in the name of climate change. Climate change has happened since God created our Earth,” said Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas).

Obama, though, said Tuesday in Paris that he expects the United States will be able to keep its climate commitments even after he leaves the Oval Office in 2017.

Obama said it’s in the best interest of his successor to keep the U.S.’s promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, even though the pledge is not binding under domestic or international law.

The future president, Obama said, will realize “that American leadership involves not just playing to [the] American constituency back home, but you now are in fact at the center of what happens around the world.”

Read more here and here.

TRYING AGAIN FOR CLIMATE DOCS: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is trying a new tactic to get the documents he wants on a federal climate change study with which he disagrees.

Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, is now asking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to give him internal communications on the study only from non-scientists.

“In order to move the committee’s work forward and to allow for further discussions on issues related to the subpoenaed communications about which the agency and the committee disagree, the committee is willing to accommodate NOAA and prioritize communications sent and received by non-scientific personnel,” he wrote Tuesday.

The change comes after Democrats and science groups charged Smith with intimidating scientists by seeking internal communications to prove that a study disproving a “pause” in global warming was politically motivated.

Smith warned that his new request does not excuse NOAA from complying with the entire subpoena, which included a wide swath of agency employees.

Smith is giving the agency two weeks to comply with the request.

OBAMA CHATS CARBON TAX: President Obama downplayed Tuesday the likelihood of the U.S. passing a tax on carbon dioxide pollution any time soon, though he acknowledged that a carbon price is his preferred way to address climate change.

“It’s difficult,” Obama told reporters on Paris on Tuesday. He said, though, that as private entities like insurers begin to raise their prices to deal with climate change, lawmakers might be inclined to follow the trend and approve a cap-and-trade system in the future.

“The more the market on its own starts putting a price on it because of risk, it may be that the politics around setting up a cap-and-trade system, for example, shifts as well,” he said.

Obama has long supported cap-and-trade, calling it Tuesday “the most elegant way” to address climate change. But he failed to pass such a proposal through Congress during his first term.

Before Obama went to Paris on Sunday, a slate of academics, policymakers and scientists with the Carbon Tax Center released a letter pushing world leaders to institute carbon pricing in their push against climate change.

“We are seeing the beginning of a global transformation to sustainable, clean energy,” Steven Chu, Obama’s first secretary of Energy, said in a statement. “A clear, rising carbon tax in as many countries as possible is the best way to accelerate this revolution.”

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House will begin considering H.R. 8, the energy overhaul bill from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.). The bill looks to modernize infrastructure, improve energy efficiency and update other federal energy policies, and if signed into law, it would be the first major energy reform push since 2007.

The White House, though, threatened to veto the legislation on Monday evening, citing several of its regulatory provisions.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: President Obama has left Paris, but the United Nations climate change conference presses forward. Negotiators are aiming to complete work on a climate change accord by Dec. 11.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda …

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on legislation recognizing the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis will testify.

LATER THIS WEEK: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) headline a Thursday event from The Hill on microgrids. Register and follow along here.  


California failed to cut its water use 25 percent in October for the first time since mandatory cuts started in June, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A federal judge is ordering Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to pay $159.5 million in fines because it had a stake in the oil well at the center of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, Reuters reports.

Rolling Stone has published an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry on climate change and national security.


Check out Tuesday’s stories …

-House votes to overturn Obama’s climate rule
-Green groups push Obama to look for bigger climate deal
-Trump would have skipped Paris climate summit
-Huckabee raps Obama as ‘weather-obsessed’ for climate push
-Kerry: Exxon could lose ‘billions’ in climate change lawsuit
-Obama equates threats from climate change, ISIS
-Ethanol group hits Cruz in Iowa
-Obama: GOP president won’t stop climate pledges
-73 more companies back Obama on climate pact
-White House threatens veto of House energy bill

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 Clean Power Plan Climate change John Kerry Lisa Murkowski Martin Heinrich Paris climate talks
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