Overnight Energy: Fight breaks out over Interior budget

LET THE (BUDGET) GAMES BEGIN: Lawmakers on a House committee sparred Tuesday over President Obama's 2017 budget request for the Interior Department -- and Republicans' inability to so far agree on a budget blueprint of their own.

Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Overnight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior MORE (R-Utah), criticized a host of provisions within Obama's $13.4 billion budget request for the department. Bishop said the request was not one he hoped to see in Obama's final year in office.

"This budget could have been a blueprint for future cooperation, and instead I think it's a blueprint for future partisan bickering. It's not what it could have been and I feel bad about that," he said.


But Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the committee's ranking Democrat, looked to turn the tables on Bishop, saying Republicans shouldn't criticize Obama's budget when they've yet to propose one of their own.

"To fail to do your job then criticize those who are doing theirs is hypocritical and irresponsible," he said.

The spat -- which came before Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellNational parks pay the price for Trump's Independence Day spectacle Overnight Energy: Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone | UN report offers dire climate warning | Trump expected to lift ethanol restrictions Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone MORE testified on the budget request -- likely previews a host of congressional fights during this year's appropriations process, including over the Interior and environment spending bill.

Lawmakers haven't passed a stand-alone spending bill for the agency since 2009, though House Republicans got close to pushing one through last year before a fight over the display of the Confederate flag at national cemeteries sunk the legislation.

"House Republicans have no budget of their own and can't seem to pass appropriations bills," Grijalva said. "But that doesn't seem to stop them from having loud opinions about the administration's proposals."

Read more here.

IS INTERIOR 'DESTROYING' WYOMING? During Tuesday's hearing, Republican Rep. Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisCheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Liz Cheney decides against Senate bid in Wyoming Liz Cheney leads GOP field by 20 points in potential Wyoming Senate race: poll MORE accused Jewell's department of "destroying" her state of Wyoming's economy by halting a federal coal leasing program.

"In the face of the desire of this administration to literally destroy coal, oil and gas, how is it consistent with getting a fair return on the value of federal lands?" she asked Jewell. "No leasing means no financial return."

The Obama administration in January paused new leases for coal mining on federal land while it works to account for the cost of climate change in lease pricing.

Coal-state lawmakers have slammed the move, saying it will hurt their states' coal industries. Wyoming leads the country in coal produced on federal land.

"I want to tell you I'm grossly offended by what this administration has done to my state," Lummis said Tuesday.

Read more here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on President Obama's 2017 budget request for the Energy Department. Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizFormer diplomat Yovanovitch wins award for her work Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show Two years after Harvey's devastation, the wake-up call has not been heeded MORE will testify.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Jewell returns to Capitol Hill, testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on Obama's Interior budget request.

Rest of Wednesday's agenda ...

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet to discuss geopolitical impacts of low oil and gas prices.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on three bills related to coal ash disposal, brownfield cleanup and orphaned mine cleanup.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Interior Department agencies' budget requests and their impacts on mineral leasing. Three agency directors will testify.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy will wrap up its annual summit. Wednesday's events will including Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Trump budget slashes EPA funding | International hunting council disbands amid lawsuit | Bill targets single-use plastics Trump budget slashes EPA funding, environmental programs Overnight Energy: Trump credits economic progress to environmental rollbacks | Vote to subpoena Interior delayed by prayer breakfast | Dems hit agency for delaying energy efficiency funds MORE, Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Graham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Del.) and Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterOvernight Energy: Trump credits economic progress to environmental rollbacks | Vote to subpoena Interior delayed by prayer breakfast | Dems hit agency for delaying energy efficiency funds Democrats hit DOE for holding back energy efficiency funds Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule MORE (D-Ill.).


Rajendra Pachauri, former head of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was charged Tuesday with sexually harassing a former employee in India, BBC News reports.

A bill to allow hydraulic fracturing in Florida died when its sponsor pulled it, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

The latest version of a mine safety oversight reform bill in West Virginia would significantly roll back some key safety provisions, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.


Check out Tuesday's stories...
-Bin Laden wanted US to work against climate change
-Obama's energy efficiency rules will last, secretary says
-Spending fight breaks out in Interior funding hearing
-Miners union pleads with senators for pension fix
-EPA moves to ban common pesticide
-House Republican: Obama coal policies are 'destroying my state'
-Senate panel advances bill blocking state GMO labeling rules
-Colo. governor seeks Superfund for site of EPA mine spill

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