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 BishopLand and Water Conservation Fund is good for business Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Looking to the historic leasing program to alleviate the maintenance backlog in national parks 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 JewellInterior Dept. officials call CNN correspondent 'a f---ing idiot' Zinke and his wife took security detail on vacation to Turkey, Greece: report Zinke: I never took a private jet anywhere 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 LummisLobbying world Female lawmakers flee House for higher office, retirement Despite a battle won, 'War on Coal' far from over 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 MonizPompeo: Kerry's conversations with Iran 'unseemly and unprecedented' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Mueller indicts 12 Russian officials for DNC hack | Trump does damage control after bombshell interview Pope to meet with oil execs to discuss climate change: report 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) McCarthyCalifornia commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 Overnight Energy: Watchdog faults EPA over Pruitt security costs | Court walks back order on enforcing chemical plant rule | IG office to probe truck pollution study EPA unveils new Trump plan gutting Obama power plant rules MORE, Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsJudiciary Democrat calls for additional witnesses to testify on Kavanaugh Kavanaugh allegations could be monster storm brewing for midterm elections      Sunday shows preview: White House officials on offensive in wake of anonymous NY Times op-ed MORE (D-Del.) and Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterCongress and Trump are out of step on intellectual property Overnight Defense: House passes 5B defense spending bill | Pentagon moving forward on Trump military parade | Mattis vows 'ironclad' support for South Korea's defense House passes 5B Pentagon spending bill 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

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