Overnight Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment — EPA updates fuel blend proposal

Gas prices are displayed on a gas pump at an Exxon gas station in Washington, DC, on May 24, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The EPA issues new proposed biofuel blending rules, the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will increase cooperation on investigations, and the U.N. calls for twice the funds toward biodiversity.

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Zack Budryk. Subscribe here or in the box below.

EPA announces new biofuel blending proposal

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday issued new proposed biofuel blending standards that would incorporate fuels used for electric vehicles for the first time.

What does that mean? The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires oil refiners to either blend a certain volume of biofuel into the national pool of retail fuel or purchase credits from other refiners participating in the program.

The proposed standard calls for a blending mandate of 20.82 billion gallons next year, up from 20.63 billion gallons this year and increasing to 21.87 billion in 2024 and 22.68 billion in 2025.

Good news for the ethanol industry: The announcement was welcomed by the ethanol and renewable fuel industries, with Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper saying it “creates a clear pathway” to improve fuel sustainability.

“Once finalized, this rule will significantly accelerate growth and investment in the low-carbon renewable fuels that will help decarbonize our nation’s transportation sector, extend domestic fuel supplies, and bolster the rural economy,” Cooper said. “By including three years’ worth of RFS volumes, EPA’s proposed rule will finally provide certainty and stability for the entire supply chain.”

  • The proposal would also establish an RFS for electric vehicles for the first time, which would apply to EVs that use electricity made from renewable biomass.
  • Reports that the EPA planned to add EVs to the program have circulated since earlier this year, potentially giving EV makers new access to the same suite of tradable credits available to the biofuel industry. 

Read more about the proposal here. 

FBI, Indian Affairs office give cooperation update

The Justice Department on Thursday announced the first update in three decades to the guidelines that govern relations with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), an agency within the Department of Interior.

  • The new agreement will establish cooperation and information-sharing guidelines for the FBI and the BIA’s Office of Justice Services.
  • The FBI will take an “initial primary role” in investigating any shootings by BIA or tribal police as well as in-custody deaths. The BIA will conduct its own separate internal investigations for any such incidents. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the update at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit during a panel featuring Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the nation’s first Native American Cabinet secretary, who has made addressing tribal issues a major part of her tenure. 

Such as? This includes the launch of a unit meant to investigate cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, which frequently go unprosecuted or unsolved due to limits on tribal jurisdiction.

  • The Thursday announcement is intended in part to support the new unit, outlining the procedures for the FBI, tribal police and BIA personnel to enter all such cases into databases like the National Crime Information Center.
  • About 56 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native women are victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes, according to data from the BIA. 

“The FBI is committed to ongoing and continued collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI has a crucial role in successfully addressing matters in the nation’s Indian Country communities and this updated MOU affirms our dedication to the mission of protecting all Americans. The FBI will not waiver in its support of our Tribal law enforcement agency partners and our coordination with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.” 

Read more about the announcement here. 

🍃 UN: INVESTMENT IN NATURE MUST DOUBLE

Global spending on protecting nature must double by 2025 in order to meet the challenges of climate change, land degradation and the loss of biodiversity, a new United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report has found.  

  • Public investment into projects that destroy nature and biodiversity are currently 3 to 7 times higher than spending on projects that bolster the environment, according to U.N.’s second report on the State of Finance for Nature. 
  • Governments around the world currently spend about $154 billion per year on “nature-based solutions,” which use natural systems and processes to tackle social and economic goals.

“The science is undeniable. As we transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, we must also reorient all human activity to ease the pressure on the natural world on which we all depend,” UNEP executive director Inger Andersen said in a statement.  

Andersen called on governments and private industry to invest in nature-based solutions.

The report comes the week before representatives of world governments are supposed to meet in Montreal, Canada for the 15th U.N. biodiversity congress.  

One major goal of that meeting: to make an agreement that will stop — and then reverse — the loss of nature by 2030.

Read more from The Hill’s Saul Elbein

🦞 ROCK LOBSTER

If it’s good enough for the White House, surely it’s good enough for Whole Foods. 

The White House’s decision to plate lobster for its Thursday night state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron has served up some veiled — and not so veiled — comments from Maine lawmakers upset by a tumultuous few weeks for the state’s favored fishery.

  • Maine lobster temporarily lost its sustainable seafood certification from the Marine Stewardship Council two weeks ago, due to a recent court ruling in the battle to protect the right whale.
  • It’s a move that has been heavily bashed by Maine’s political leaders, who point to language from the counsel noting that “no evidence was found that the Maine lobster fishery is responsible for entanglements or interactions with right whales.”

Still, the temporary pull was enough to push Whole Foods to suspend their sales of Maine lobster — and made lobster a particularly important selection for the state dinner in the eyes of Maine’s delegation.

“Delicious, sustainable Maine lobster is an excellent choice for the main course for the president’s first State Dinner. If Maine lobster is good enough for the White House to serve, it’s good enough for every seafood retailer — including Whole Foods — to sell,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote on Twitter

Read more from The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Meet the man tasked with fixing the Jackson water system (The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
  • Texas grid authority acknowledges possibility of rolling blackouts this winter in ‘extreme risk scenarios’ (ABC13
  • In an ancient reindeer forest, one woman has found a way to slow climate change (The Washington Post
  • How capitalism crushed the environment, according to historian Douglas Brinkley (The Boston Globe
  • American Prairie plans bison grazing on BLM lands as state, ranchers appeal again (The Billings Gazette

MORE FROM THE HILL

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

Tags Bureau of Indian Affairs Deb Haaland EPA Ethanol gas prices Geoff Cooper Maine lobster

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