Overnight Energy: Senators introduce bipartisan carbon tax bill | House climate panel unlikely to have subpoena power | Trump officials share plan to prevent lead poisoning

FLAKE, COONS SPONSOR CARBON TAX BILL: Outgoing GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge Trump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Flake opens up about threats against him and his family MORE (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMenendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions Dem report questions State Dept. decision to revoke award to Trump critic Senate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain MORE (D-Del.) on Wednesday introduced a carbon tax bill.

The landmark bill aims to charge fossil fuel companies a tax for their carbon dioxide emissions. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced by a bipartisan group in the House in November.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would charge $15 for each ton of carbon emitted into the air and would increase that fee by $10 every year afterward, in an effort to fight climate change. Other than administrative costs, all of the money would be given back to taxpayers in a dividend.

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In a notable difference from the House bill, the Senate's bill would aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quicker, by 40 percent within six years, and 91 percent by 2050, according to a source with familiarity with the bill. The House bill set a timeline of 10 years.

Both are a bigger cut than former President Obama's Clean Power Plan and the United States's commitment under the Paris climate agreement -- a pact President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE has promised to exit.

Introduced two weeks before Congress ends for the year, the legislation is unlikely to get serious consideration in this session. Flake is set to retire at the end of the year.

The House bill was the first bipartisan piece of legislation to put a price on carbon in a decade. House sponsors are Reps. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyCongress is ready to tackle climate change GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new climate bill House fails to override Trump veto on border wall MORE (R-Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickFreshman House Dems surge past GOP in money race Cybersecurity Advisory Committee will strengthen national security through a stronger public-private partnership Congress is ready to tackle climate change MORE (R-Pa.), Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchCongress won't get Mueller report until after Barr press conference Deutch in fiery address rips GOP over seeking to make Israel 'wedge issue' House ignores Trump veto threat, approves bill ending US support for Yemen war MORE (D-Fla.), John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneySeveral 2020 Dems say they're ready to face Fox News town hall Booker denies 'swipe' at John Delaney after his campaign sent fundraising email attacking Delaney The Hill's 12:30 Report: First look at 2020 money race MORE (D-Md.) and Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristLive coverage: Barr faces House panel amid questions over Mueller report FBI director says he hasn't read the Mueller report House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill MORE (D-Fla.).

"When we introduced this legislation in the House, we showed our colleagues that bipartisanship is possible to address climate change and significantly reduce carbon emissions. Thanks to Senator Coons and Senator Flake, we're now showing the American people that our plan to put a price on carbon and return the net revenue back to the American people has earned bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress," said Deutch, the lead sponsor of this bill in the House, in a statement."

More on the bill and the carbon tax debate here.

 

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NO SUBPOENA POWER FOR CLIMATE PANEL: The climate change committee that House Democrats are planning to establish in the next Congress is unlikely to have the subpoena power afforded to most other congressional panels.

Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Dem dismisses impeachment push: 'I'd rather defeat' Trump at ballot box Democrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general Impeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent MORE (D-Md.), the incoming majority leader, said Wednesday that it was his understanding that the committee wouldn't have the legal authority to demand documents.

"My expectation [is] it will not have subpoena power. It will be a recommendatory committee to the Energy and Commerce Committee and the environmental committees," Hoyer told reporters.

A Democratic leadership aide later confirmed the lack of subpoena power.

Hoyer said he doesn't see a need for subpoena authority, given the intended structure and purpose of the climate panel.

"I don't know that they think they need subpoena power. They're going to have experts who are ... dying to come before them," he said.

"I think they're going to want to testify; I think they'll want to give the best information as it relates to the crisis," Hoyer said of scientific experts.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller End of Mueller shifts focus to existing probes Democrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general MORE (D-Calif.) hasn't announced the formal rules and structure for the panel. But progressives, led by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMichael Steele: A missed opportunity at holding banks accountable House Dem dismisses impeachment push: 'I'd rather defeat' Trump at ballot box Tlaib rallies in support of Green New Deal at Detroit town hall MORE (D-N.Y.), want the committee to be charged with formulating a plan for a Green New Deal, which includes transitioning the country to 100 percent renewable energy within 10 years.

A lack of subpoena authority would be a change from the structure of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

That panel, which existed from 2007 to 2011 and was chaired by then-Rep. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTlaib rallies in support of Green New Deal at Detroit town hall Ben & Jerry's backs Green New Deal: 'We have to act now' Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 MORE (D-Mass.), had the power to issue subpoenas. It used that power at least once, in 2008, when it voted to compel the Environmental Protection Agency under former President George W. Bush to disclose its progress on formulating climate change rules for automobiles.

Read more on the plans for the climate panel here.

 

EFFORT AGAINST LEAD POISONING SLIM ON NEW INITIATIVES: Trump administration officials on Wednesday published a plan they said would confront the issue of lead exposure among children "head-on."

While the federal lead action plan has few new announcements, the administration used its unveiling to highlight efforts across 17 federal agencies, mostly ongoing, to reduce lead poisoning.

"President Trump and this administration are committed to tackling this problem head-on," acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Andrew Wheeler said at an event at the EPA headquarters, alongside Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD drafting rule to require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing Treasury offers new guidance on opportunity zones HUD chief Carson leaves Dem lawmaker exasperated with answer on LGBT protections MORE and deputy Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan.

The EPA's contributions to the 24-page action plan center on two regulations that the agency has previously announced and a series of grants that seek to replace lead drinking water infrastructure, including grants to schools and day care centers.

"Here at EPA, we are combating lead exposure on all fronts: in homes, schools, consumer products and drinking water," Wheeler said. "We are updating the Lead and Copper Rule for the first time in over two decades, we are strengthening the dust-lead hazard standards and we are using our grants and financing problems to help communities test for lead, replace lead pipes and upgrade water infrastructure."

The Lead and Copper Rule, which was first written in 1991 and has not yet been thoroughly updated, dictates how water utilities must keep lead levels in water low, including which pipes need to be replaced.

More on the government's effort here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

A proposed new green watchdog in the British government would have the power to sue government ministers, The Guardian reports.

Poland's state-owned natural gas company PGNiG signed a 20-year LNG supply deal with Sempra Energy's Port Arthur LNG, S&P Global Platts reports.

A Stanford University project is using machine learning to map every solar panel in the country, TechCrunch reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Wednesday's stories ...

- Flake to co-introduce bipartisan climate bill

- Southwest governors strike natural gas deal with Mexican state

- House climate change panel unlikely to have subpoena power

- Trump admin lays out plan to confront lead poisoning 'head-on'

- European Union moves closer to ban on single-use plastic straws, other products

- Senators introduce resolution opposing Russian pipeline