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: Trump officials gut DC staff for public lands agency to move West | Democrats slam EPA over scientific boards | Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of decade Trump officials gut DC staff as public lands agency preps to move out West Bureau of Land Management to move headquarters from DC to Colorado MORE and former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiJudiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates House Judiciary to vote to authorize subpoenas for Trump officials, immigration documents Pavlich: Nadler's intimidation tactics backfire MORE are joining a lobbying firm led by former campaign aides to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist 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 BarrassoHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' GOP senator: US should 'reevaluate' long-term relationship with Saudis Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia 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 CarperFighting the opioid epidemic: Congress can't just pass laws, but must also push to enforce them Overnight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules when appointing industry leaders to science boards 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 JohnsonDemocrats, scientists slam Trump administration actions on scientific boards Returning to the moon to gain soft political power Some Dem chairmen have changed tune on Trump impeachment 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 CheneyLiz Cheney calls Ayanna Pressley's comments at Netroots Nation 'racist' Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Cheney blasts Ocasio-Cortez over DHS dissolution 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-CortezPhiladelphia mayor: Trump would 'go to hell' if he had to go back to where he came from Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout The four Republicans who voted to condemn Trump's tweets MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei Senators press FTC over 'woefully inadequate' Facebook settlement Head of miners union calls Green New Deal's main goal 'almost impossible' 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales 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