Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House

ZINKE JOINS LOBBYING FIRM WITH LEWANDOWSKI: Former Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal investigation Acting Interior chief moves to protect access to public lands MORE and former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiCNN's Chris Cuomo knocks 'state TV' Fox News T-Mobile says it increased Trump hotel spending after Sprint merger announcement The 81 names targeted in Democrats' expansive Trump probe MORE are joining a lobbying firm led by former campaign aides to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE.

Both men are now senior advisers at Turnberry Solutions, a lobbying firm founded in 2017 by Jason Osbourne, Mike Rubio and Ryan O'Dwyer, aides to Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign, the firm said Wednesday.

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"It is great to have my friends Corey Lewandowski and the Honorable Ryan Zinke to expand the reach of our government relations practice. These two individuals have accomplished much to Make America Great Again," Osbourne, a partner at the firm, said in a statement.

Turnberry did not specify what clients Zinke and Lewandowski would work for. Zinke is prohibited from lobbying the executive branch for the time being, so his work will focus on Congress. The firm said Lewandowski will lobby.

Zinke's hiring came weeks after he resigned as Interior secretary under pressure from numerous alleged breaches of ethical standards. He has consistently denied that he violated any rules.

"I am excited to join Turnberry Solutions and I look forward to helping companies navigate the Washington, D.C., bureaucracy," Zinke said in the statement.

Turnberry's lobbying clients include entities that deal with Interior, such as the Northern Mariana Islands government and the Center for Sportfishing Policy, according to lobbying disclosures filed with Congress.

Zinke was previously a House member representing Montana, a state legislator and a Navy Seal.

This is Zinke's second job since leaving the administration. He also works for Artillery One, an investment firm focused on cryptocurrency.

Lewandowski, meanwhile, will focus on business development and strategic advice at Turnberry, the firm said. He hasn't registered as a lobbyist since 2011.

Read more here.

 

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SENATORS HIGHLIGHT THREAT FROM INVASIVE SPECIES: Senators on Wednesday held a hearing to draw public attention to the threat posed by invasive species on wildlife, public health and infrastructure.

The hearing before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works touched on the hazards caused by invasive species and the potential role federal funding or policy could play to help states address those challenges.

"Few issues are more bipartisan than the need to protect our communities from invasive species," said Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' This week: Trump set for Senate setback on emergency declaration We should end tax giveaways to electric vehicle owners MORE (R-Wyo.). "They cause more than $120 billion of economic damage each year."

The hearing follows Senate passage of the Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver Act (WILD Act), a bill which promotes wildlife conservation, protects endangered species and helps to manage invasive species, such as Burmese python, cheatgrass and Asian carb.

The WILD Act passed the Senate on Tuesday as part of a larger public lands bill and now moves on to the House. The legislation was introduced by Barrasso and the committee's ranking member, Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperBiden's challenge: Satisfying the left Dems introduce bill requiring disclosure of guest logs from White House, Trump properties Lobbying world MORE (D-Del.).

Senators praised the bipartisan support for the bill in Congress.

"I am proud of our committee's ongoing work with the WILD Act, and I urge its swift passage and enactment into law by this Congress," Carper said. "I hope we can identify some new opportunities for bipartisan collaboration to combat invasive species."

The committee also heard testimony from three witnesses whose states are dealing with invasive species, including Slade Franklin, weed and pest coordinator at the Wyoming Department of Agriculture; Terry Steinwand, director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Joe Rogerson, program manager for species conservation and research at the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife.

The experts said the threat goes beyond environmental issues to public health and could even have economic impacts. They highlighted the importance of early detection and rapid response to invasive species.

Read more from the hearing here.

 

And in other hearings today…

 

HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST CLIMATE CHANGE HEARING: The House committee on Science, Space, and Technology held its first hearing Wednesday since Democrats took back control of the House. The hearing focused on climate change and the science behind it.

Speaking at the hearing, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice JohnsonEddie Bernice JohnsonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump attacks on McCain rattle GOP senators Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction House technology committee leaders ask to postpone 5G spectrum auction MORE (D-Texas.) said it would be "the first in what would be multiple climate change related hearings this Congress."

"The evidence of continued unmitigated emissions of greenhouse gases is clear," she said in her opening statement.

Johnson is the first woman with a degree in a STEM field to hold the position of committee chair since 1990. She was the first registered nurse elected to Congress when she won her first term in 1993. Previously she served as ranking member on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee since 2011.

The hearing Wednesday focused on the effects of climate change and why it matters to communities. All five witnesses for the event were doctors with specialties in the environment, atmospheric sciences and public health.

The Science committee met the week after two other House committees held their own hearings on climate change. Democrats have pledged to address the issue in as many areas as possible since taking over the majority.

 

TOP REPUBLICAN CALLS FOR GREEN NEW DEAL VOTE IN HOUSE: The No. 3 Republican in the House is calling on Democratic leaders to hold a vote on the Green New Deal, an aggressive plan to fight climate change.

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests Pentagon: Trump's 'cost plus 50' plan hasn't been discussed with Europe Liz Cheney: Dems are 'enabling anti-Semitism' MORE (Wyo.), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said a vote would help the American people learn where lawmakers stand on the non-binding resolution that she and others have painted as a socialist plan that would ruin the economy.

"We think Democrats need to be held accountable," Cheney told reporters Wednesday. "If they support this as they say they do, and as their presidential candidates do, then let's have a vote on it and see to what extent they're all going to get behind moving toward this kind of fantasy."

Cheney, whose state is the nation's top coal producer, said the Democrats backing the proposal "have said they would attempt to eliminate all planes, all air travel, within a decade. The results would be the elimination also of gasoline, the elimination of cars as we know them now."

The resolution, introduced last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars 'Washington Monthly' editor says diversity on Capitol Hill starts with interns Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-Mass.), calls for a quick, 10-year plan to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States through an aggressive increase in renewable energy, plus a jobs guarantee and other provisions.

It does not call for the elimination of air travel, gasoline or cars. However, supplementary information from Ocasio-Cortez's office had said it would expand rail infrastructure to the point that air travel would be "unnecessary."

Cheney's call came the day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Trump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' MORE (R-Ky.) announced his chamber would hold a vote on the resolution.

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

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Multiple Senate Democrats are running for president in 2020, and McConnell and his colleagues think the vote is an opportunity to highlight what they see as extreme positions among the candidates running against President Trump.

Democrats hold the House majority, so Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOvernight Defense: Top Marine warns border deployment could hurt readiness | McSally aims for sexual assault reforms in defense bill | House to vote on measure opposing transgender ban | New warning over F-35 sale to Turkey House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts House to vote on measure opposing transgender military ban MORE (D-Md.), who has not backed the resolution, would be responsible for scheduling a vote.

Read more here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

-Amazon's streamlined plastic packaging is jamming up recycling centers

-Interior firms up March U.S. gulf gas lease sale

-Fate of meerkats tied to seasonal climate effects

-Another looming climate disaster: Dam collapses

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Wednesday...

-Zinke, Lewandowski join Trump veterans' lobbying firm

-Senators highlight threat from invasive species

-Dem lawmaker asks Trump to dump NOAA nominee amid sexual harassment settlement news

-Puerto Rico delegate seeks to roll back cockfighting ban

-Liz Cheney calls for House vote on Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal

-Wisconsin becomes 20th state to join climate alliance designed to uphold Paris accord