Overnight Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment — Manchin eyes bipartisan climate action

The Hill illustration, Madeline Monroe

Swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is pushing for bipartisan climate action, while the Biden administration is phasing out inefficient lightbulbs.  

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here. 

Bipartisan lawmakers meet on climate, energy 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the Senate’s key swing vote, met with lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum Monday evening as part of a new push for bipartisan climate change legislation.  

Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon told The Hill via email that the meeting was “an effort to gauge bipartisan interest in a path forward that addressed our nation’s climate and energy security needs head on.” 

The latest: Manchin on Tuesday appeared to say that the push doesn’t mean that climate change provisions will come out of a Democrat-only reconciliation measure that lawmakers are negotiating.  

“No, no, no….people we’re talking to are as concerned about having reliable energy as they are about making sure that we do it better than anyone does it in the world, so climate’s gong to be a big factor,” Manchin said when asked if the effort means that climate should come out of reconciliation. 

But he also said “he knows on energy that I’m working with a group trying to find a bipartisan way that we want to move forward,” referring to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). 

And, Manchin said that the reconciliation bill should focus on fighting inflation and the deficit.  

More info on the meeting: Monday’s meeting was first reported by NBC News, which said that Manchin organized the meeting alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) organized the meeting.  

Murkowski spokesperson Hannah Ray described the meeting as “a high-level discussion on energy and climate” in an email to The Hill.  

So who all was there? A source familiar confirmed to The Hill that the other attendees were:

  • Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif)
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.)
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
  • Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
  • Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.)
  • Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) 

The source said that there have been other Republicans involved.  

Additional takes: 

Khanna told The Hill in a statement that “passing a bold climate bill is my highest priority” and that he was “pleased to participate with colleagues on finding a way forward,” 

A spokesperson for Cramer directed The Hill to the senator’s comment to Politico that Manchin is “genuinely interested in seeing what’s possible” and that Cramer shares the goal of  “America leading with innovation” 

Read about Manchin’s meeting here and read more about what he had to say on reconciliation here from The Hill’s Jordain Carney. 

Energy finalizes rule phasing out inefficient bulbs 

The Biden administration finalized a rule aimed at phasing out inefficient lightbulbs, reversing a Trump-era policy.  

The Biden administration has finalized two rules increasing efficiency standards for lightbulbs.   

The new standards, which ban the production and sale of new bulbs that do not emit a certain level of light per watt of electricity, are expected to phase out most incandescent and halogen bulbs.  

The administration projected the full implementation of the new standards would collectively save consumers about $3 billion a year and eliminate the equivalent of 28 million homes’ worth of carbon emissions. Energy efficiency advocates have separately projected that every month the standards are delayed could result in an additional 800,000 tons of carbon emissions.  

Before the previous administration’s move to roll back efficiency standards, the U.S. was set to ban most incandescent lightbulbs by 2020, a process that began in 2007 during the George W. Bush administration.   

Read more here.  

SOME WANTED MORE ROOM TO DRILL, BUT ALAS(KA) 

The Biden administration is shrinking the amount of land eligible for drilling at an oil reserve in the Arctic. 

The administration announced on Monday that it would return to an Obama administration plan that would enable the government to lease up to 52 percent of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas exploration. It reverses a Trump-era plan that would have opened up 82 percent of the reserve.  

The move comes as the Biden administration is grappling with high gasoline prices and Republican criticism over its energy policies, but Monday’s move is not expected to have any immediate impacts on gasoline prices at the pump.  

When a lease sale is held, it takes more than four years on average for companies to begin production. The new decision represents an even earlier step in the process, designating what lands are eligible for lease.  

It’s not just about oil: In addition to shrinking the amount of land available for lease, returning to the Biden administration is also reinstating protections for certain areas of particular environmental significance.  

One such area that will regain protections is Teshekpuk Lake, which the Biden administration document said is “of critical importance for nesting, breeding, and molting waterfowl and the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd.” 

In explaining its overall rationale, the administration said that it would better protect the environment while still allowing energy development.  

Specifically it said that it provides “greater protections to environmental values and subsistence uses in the NPR-A while still allowing for oil and gas exploration and development consistent with BLM’s management responsibilities.” 

So what exactly is this reserve?

  • The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is an approximately 23 million-acre area in Alaska’s north slope.
  • In 1923, then-President Harding set the area aside as an emergency oil reserve for the Navy. It was later transferred to the bureau, which can sell leases for companies to drill for oil there.  

Read more about the Biden administration’s move here.  

LAWMAKERS EYE MINING REFORM 

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that aims to reform mining practices on public lands. 

Specifically, the legislation seeks to set up a leasing system for mining, instead of simply allowing claims, which the lawmakers described as a way to “level the playing field” between mining and other uses of public lands like grazing, hunting and energy development.  

It would also set environmental standards for mining and require royalty payments.  

WHAT WE’RE READING


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.  

VIEW THE FULL VERSION HERE

Tags Biden Joe Manchin Kevin Cramer Lisa Murkowski Ro Khanna

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video