Overnight Energy: McConnell to set up vote on Green New Deal | US crude production to hit record | EPA estimates show increase in methane

MCCONNELL TO SET UP VOTE ON OCASIO-CORTEZ'S 'GREEN NEW DEAL': The Senate will hold a vote on the Green New Deal, an environmental and energy plan touted by progressives, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NY Times story sparks new firestorm over Kavanaugh Senator asked FBI to follow up on new information about Kavanaugh last year Congress must reinstate assault weapons ban MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday.

McConnell told reporters after a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus that he has "great interest" in the plan, which would spell an end for coal, a key economic driver in McConnell's home state of Kentucky, while promising new jobs for out-of-work miners and other workers.


"We'll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal," McConnell said.

McConnell did not say when the vote would happen. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the vote has not been scheduled.

What's in the deal: Progressives, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for Kavanaugh to be impeached Why are we turning a blind eye to right-wing incitement of violence? Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez endorses Markey in Senate race amid speculation over Kennedy candidacy House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge MORE (D-Mass.), introduced the climate change resolution last week.

It strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and creating millions of "good, high-wage jobs," among other goals. But it does not prescribe specific steps to reach those goals and is merely a "sense of the Senate" measure.

The politics: The deal has no chance of passing the Senate, where it will need 51 votes and faces united opposition from Republicans, who hold 53 of the chamber's 100 seats.

But it will force Senate Democrats, including a slew of 2020 presidential candidates, to vote on the proposal -- potentially providing votes for McConnell and the GOP to exploit politically.

Reaction: "It's astonishing to see this many presidential candidates moving so far to the left on a position that is going to raise energy costs for families, hurt jobs in America and really provide almost a government takeover of many of the industries in our country," said Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoHouse votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge Lobbying World Meet the Democratic senator trying to negotiate gun control with Trump MORE (Wyo.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and a member of GOP leadership.

Barrasso said his main motivation in bringing the deal up for a vote is the presidential election, adding that it's important, "to get people on record as to how much they really want to take this country in a hard left direction."

Republicans have largely lashed out and mocked the proposal.

"If you read the 14 pages of this Green New Deal, it goes way beyond just energy. It's almost a manifesto of a whole change in what, to me, is democracy in America," Barrasso said.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeIs the Senate ready to protect American interests in space? Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall Gun debate to shape 2020 races MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an outspoken climate change skeptic, called the Green New Deal to a political ploy.

"We're trying to save a country here, and anytime they put a personal ideology into something that is more important than the military and everything else, I think is a waste of time," he said Tuesday of the GOP's plan to force a vote.


Dems on board?: Multiple Democrats who are running or considering running in the 2020 presidential election have backed the plan, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWorking Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum MORE (N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NY Times story sparks new firestorm over Kavanaugh Working Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 Warren proposes new restrictions, taxes on lobbying MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFive top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Abrams helps launch initiative to train women activists, organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (D-Minn.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAt debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions Klobuchar, Buttigieg find themselves accidentally flying to debate together MORE (N.Y.).

Read more here.


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US CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION TO HIT RECORD: U.S. oil production is anticipated to break records in the next two years -- and prices are primed to increase slightly, according to an energy study released Tuesday.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday that crude oil production is expected to rise to an average of 12.4 million barrels a day in 2019 and 13.2 million barrels per day in 2020. That's up from January's average of 12 million barrels a day.

The expected increases will come from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico, according to EIA.

The U.S. in September surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the top crude oil producer.

The report also found that the oil prices are expected to increase from January's average of $59 per barrel to an average of $61 a barrel in 2019 and $62 a barrel in 2020.

This January's oil prices had increased $2 a barrel from the previous month but were still $10 a barrel less than last January's average.

Read more here.


And in other fossil fuel news...


EPA GREENHOUSE GAS ESTIMATES SHOW INCREASE IN METHANE: Methane emissions from oil and natural gas in the U.S. grew by 0.5 percent in 2017, according to new data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA's latest draft greenhouse gas inventory released Tuesday found the second measured increase for the climate change-linked gas in two years.

The report tracks total annual U.S. emissions and removals by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas going back to 1990.

The 2017 measure was the highest that methane emissions have been since 2014, according to EPA data.

In all sectors measured by the EPA, methane emissions rose 1.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, the agency reported.

Reaction: Environmentalists on Tuesday called the increase unacceptable.

"It's worth noting that year after year, we see a similar story. Emission estimates rise or fall by one percent or two, but overall methane emissions remain unacceptably high," said Matt Watson, vice president of the energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement.

Why methane reduction is important: A study by the American Geophysical Union released last week warned that methane reductions from the oil and gas industry were "essential" to meeting global climate goals.

Since taking office, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE has championed fossil fuel production. In his State of the Union speech last week, Trump boasted of "a revolution in American energy" that has led to historic energy export highs and economic growth.

In 2017, U.S. natural gas production increased 2.6 percent and crude production increased 5.9 percent. The U.S. last year also became the top global producer of oil and natural gas.

But that increase has come with emissions consequences.

The agency's report found that in 2017 energy-related activities were the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S, accounting for 84 percent of emissions.

Read more here.



The House on Wednesday will hold two climate change focused hearings.

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands will investigate adaptation needs stemming from worsening climate change. The hearing is part of the committee's climate month, where every subcommittee will focus their time on an issue related to global warming.


The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing the same day on the state of climate science and why it matters. It will be the Science committee's first hearing since Democrats took back control of the House.

Also Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to examine invasive species threats with a focus on protecting wildlife, public health, and infrastructure.



-Los Angeles announces it's phasing out three natural gas power plants, CBS reports.

-Harrison Ford say leaders who deny climate change are "on the wrong side of history," The Guardian reports.

-Recycled plastic gets a second life in Renaissance-style portraits, CNN reports.



Check out stories from Tuesday ...

-Senate votes to extend key funding mechanism for parks

-US crude oil production expected to hit records this year and next

-Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards

-Trump to meet with nuclear reps with eye on sharing technology internationally: report

-McConnell to set up vote on Ocasio-Cortez's 'Green New Deal'

-EPA greenhouse gas estimates show increase in methane

-Arctic Russian region declares emergency as polar bears overrun area

-Solar jobs fall amid Trump tariffs

-American trophy hunter paid $110K to kill rare mountain goat in Pakistan: reports

-Butterfly sanctuary asks for restraining order to block wall construction