Overnight Energy & Environment

Members look ahead as climate panel wraps up work

Members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis say more remains to be done as the panel wraps up its work ahead of the new Congress.

We’ll also look at the U.S. consumer safety board as it considers restrictions on gas stoves, and a western pine species will receive endangered species protections.

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. Subscribe here or in the box below.

Climate panel outlines milestones, urges more action

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) is seen at a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight hearing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is expected to be dissolved by a Republican House majority next year, said in a report Wednesday that nearly half of its policy recommendations have become law.

What they’re saying: In the committee’s final report, members said that of 715 policy recommendations made in 2020, more than 300 now have force of law. Many of these provisions were part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act and the Energy Act of 2020.

Like what? Accomplishments listed by the committee include efforts to reduce methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry and upgrades to the electrification of infrastructure. The report also mentions efforts to incorporate climate resilience into national security and military readiness.

The committee also outlined what it called future opportunities that remain undone, including a broader strategy for transmission of the increased electricity required for the greater number of electric vehicles on the road. It also calls for reforms to mining laws to overhaul the process of extracting critical minerals for decarbonization. 

“Under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, we’ve turned more than 300 of the recommendations in our Climate Crisis Action Plan into law – and we’re ready to keep our foot on the electric pedal and keep making progress on solving the climate crisis,” Chairwoman Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) said in a statement.

“As House Republicans prepare to dismantle our climate committee, our progress and new report should inspire Americans to continue the fight for cleaner, cheaper energy and more resilient communities – guided by science, rooted in justice, and powered by American workers.” 

Read more about the final report here. 

Safety board to weigh regulations on gas stoves

Gas stove

The U.S. agency in charge of making sure the country’s consumer products are safe will weigh regulations on new gas stoves, one of the board’s commissioners said on Wednesday. 

Richard Trumka Jr., a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), said during a virtual webinar on Wednesday that the commission will put out a formal request by March for information on hazards associated with gas stoves and possible solutions.

  • “This public request for information is the first step in what could be a long journey toward regulating gas stoves,” he said.
  • But he added that the process could be sped up with enough public pressure. “We could get a regulation on the books before this time next year,” he said.

How far could it go? Trumka, who is the son of the late labor organizer of the same name, called an outright ban on new gas stoves “a real possibility.” 

The commissioner cited pollution that comes from these stoves while discussing potential regulations for a webinar hosted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an environmental and consumer advocacy organization.  

The commission’s chair and two other commissioners are Biden nominees, while one commissioner is a Trump nominee. 

Read more about the issue here. 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced on Wednesday that it would be listing the whitebark pine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Whitebark pines are what the Fish and Wildlife Service described as “a keystone species,” which live in windy, cold, high-elevation environments across the western U.S. and Southern Canada. 

“Extending ESA protections to whitebark pine is critical to not only the tree itself, but also the numerous plants, animals, and watersheds that it supports,” Matt Hogan, FWS regional director, said in a statement

  • This five-needled pine species impacts the health and lifecycles of other mountain inhabitants and plays a critical role in curbing runoff from snowmelt, according to FWS. The trees also provide a high-energy food source to animals, the agency added.
  • Whitebark pine nuts are rich in fats, carbohydrates and protein — making them an important snack for grizzly bears before denning, according to the National Park Service. 

While the whitebark pine plays a critical role in western mountain ecosystems, the tree species “is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout its range,” according to FWS. 

The primary threat to the tree is “white pine bluster,” a non-native fungal disease. Other threats include mountain pine beetles, altered wildfire patterns and climate change, FWS stated. 

Read more from The Hill’s Sharon Udasin


  • Europe Reaches Deal for Carbon Tax Law on Imports (The New York Times
  • Minnesota governor, lawmakers look to speed up shift to carbon-free electricity (Minnesota Public Radio
  • Nevada’s Tiehm’s buckwheat threatened by lithium declared endangered (The Reno Gazette Journal
  • The surprising reasons parts of Earth are warming more slowly (The Washington Post
  • Strange diseases are spreading in Blackfeet Country. Can canines track down the culprits? (Grist

⛰ Lighter click: History is written by the victors

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.  

Tags Climate change climate crisis Fish and Wildlife Kathy Castor Kathy Castor Richard Trumka Jr.

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