Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets

Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets
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DNC VOTES TO REJECT FOSSIL FUEL COMPANY DONATIONS: The Democratic party's main fundraising arm will no longer accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies.

The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution over the weekend to reject "corporate PAC contributions from the fossil fuel industry."

The resolution first brought by Christine Pelosi, a member of the committee and the daughter of House minority leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Khanna says President Trump threatening violence against US citizens; Trump terminating relationship with WHO MORE, was introduced as a way to connect with grassroots voters and reconnect to the party's stance on environmentalism.

"Climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels represents an existential threat to civilization, and Democrats committed in our 2016 Platform to curbing the effects of climate change, protecting America's natural resources, and ensuring the quality of our air, water, and land for current and future generations," read the text of the resolution provided to The Hill by the DNC.

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The decision follows in the footsteps of a previous one made under former President Obama to ban all corporate PAC donations to the DNC.

"Fossil fuel corporations are drowning our democracy in a tidal wave of dark oily money; they have deceived the public about the impacts of climate change, fought the growth of clean renewable energy, and corrupted our political system," the resolution read.

We've got more on the decision here.

 

Happy Tuesday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Congress did not get the memo that today was Washington Capitals day, but we spotted FERC commissioner Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Government predicts busy hurricane season | Report: BLM says oil and gas operators should set their own royalty rates for public lands drilling | Michigan flooding risks damage to hazardous waste sites: report Michigan dam that failed had its license revoked over safety issues in 2018: report Overnight Energy: Biden campaign says he would revoke Keystone XL permit | EPA emails reveal talks between Trump officials, chemical group before 2017 settlement | Tensions emerge on Natural Resources panel over virtual meetings MORE supporting the team from a congressional hearing this morning.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

 

ENERGY COMMISSION SAYS COAL PLANT CLOSURES NOT A SECURITY RISK: Federal energy regulators on Tuesday indicated they do not see a national security risk from the closure of coal and nuclear power plants in the U.S.

Asked by Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections Bottom line MORE (D-N.M.) at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing whether they believed the U.S. faced a national security emergency in wholesale power markets because of the closures, none of the five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) answered in the affirmative.

Four of the five members were appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE.

Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Ernest Moniz Trump issues executive order to protect power grid from attack Why we need to transition, quickly, from fossil fuels to clean energy MORE last fall submitted a controversial proposal to subsidize struggling U.S. coal and nuclear plants, arguing it was necessary to keep the power grid dependable.

FERC unanimously rejected the multibillion dollar proposal in January, saying it was not legally defensible.

U.S. coal and nuclear plants are facing increased competition in the U.S. from renewable energy. This has led to a number of plant closures and calls for help from the federal government.

We have the details here.

 

SENATE APPROPRIATORS REJECT TRUMP'S INTERIOR, EPA CUTS: A Senate subcommittee moved Tuesday to advance a $35.85 billion funding bill for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), rejecting many of the proposed cuts that the Trump administration sought for both agencies.

The total proposed funding level for fiscal 2019 is 26.7 percent higher than what President Trump asked for in his budget proposal earlier this year, which was $28.3 billion. It's about $600 million higher than the funding Congress gave to the agencies for fiscal 2018.

The proposal gained recent bipartisan support in the Senate Appropriations Committee's subpanel with responsibility for Interior and EPA.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas MORE (R-Alaska), the subpanel's chairwoman, said the bill rejects "unwarranted decreases proposed in the budget and [makes] investments in our highest priorities, especially infrastructure investment for the land management agencies, Indian country and wastewater and drinking water improvements."

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDHS watchdog to investigate COVID-19 cases in ICE detention facilities Hispanic Caucus makes major ad buy for New Mexico Democratic candidate for House Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections MORE (N.M.), the panel's top Democrat, said he was able to support the bill that he and Murkowski wrote because of the major budget agreement that Congress and Trump reached earlier this year.

"That allowed us to provide targeted but important increases to programs funded by this bill and to reject the administration's unjustifiable cuts to Indian education and healthcare and EPA's bedrock environmental enforcement functions, as well as its proposal to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund and hemorrhage many of our national cultural institutions."

The EPA's funding would be $8.82 billion, the same as fiscal 2018. Trump had sought a cut to $6.1 billion.

The National Park Service would get $3.2 billion, $513 million higher than what Trump wanted.

Importantly, the bill has no policy provisions, except ones that were in previous legislation that made it through Congress.

"We have assembled a package that both sides can support in committee, with the ultimate goal of taking the bill to the Senate floor," Murkowski said.

Read more.

 

INTERIOR STOPPED MINING STUDY THEY DIDN'T THINK WOULD HAVE NEW FINDINGS: Interior Department officials canceled a major mountaintop removal mining study because they didn't think it would yield new findings, the agency's internal watchdog said.

Mary Kendall, Interior's deputy inspector general, explained the finding in a letter to Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which Grijalva released Tuesday.

Interior officials had never publicly given that reasoning previously, saying only that the funding for the study that was being conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) was undergoing financial review.

But Kendall's staff also found that Interior did not have documentation to justify their conclusion that the study wouldn't yield new information.

"Other than a general document entitled 'Secretary of the Interior's Priorities,' departmental officials were unable to provide specific criteria, used for their determination whether to allow or cease certain grants and cooperative agreements," Kendall wrote to Grijalva.

"Departmental officials decided to halt the study because they did not believe it would produce any new information and felt the costs would exceed the benefits," she said.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's water and power subcommittee will hold a hearing on three bills.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on how the Army Corps of Engineers handles surplus water.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Regulators apply brakes to UMaine offshore wind project, The Press Herald reports.

One of Wyoming's largest coal producers plans to close an office among market pressures, KPVI reports.

SeaWorld, Busch Gardens ban plastic straws, bags in all parks, KENS-5 news reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-DNC to reject fossil fuel company donations

-Watchdog: Interior thought mountaintop mining study wouldn't 'produce any new information'

-Tennessee woman sues NASA to keep her vial of moon dust from Neil Armstrong

-Half of women in science have experienced harassment, study finds

-Energy commission sees no national security risk from coal plant closures

-Dems accuse Interior of holding up key grants

-Senate panel rejects Trump's proposed Interior, EPA cuts