Overnight Energy: Students around globe demand climate action | EPA bans consumer sales of deadly chemical in paint strippers | Green New Deal set for Senate vote
Overnight Energy: Natural gas export project gets green light | Ocasio-Cortez says climate fight needs to address farming | Top EPA enforcement official to testify
FERC CLEARS LOUISIANA LNG TERMINAL: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a natural gas export terminal after reaching a compromise on how to account for the operation's greenhouse gas emissions.
FERC, a federal body independent of the Trump administration, voted 3 to 1 Thursday night to approve construction of the Calcasieu Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, which Venture Global LNG plans to build in Cameron Parish in coastal Louisiana.
It was the first approval of an LNG terminal in two years, despite a backlog at the agency.
FERC's two Republican members reached a deal with Cheryl LaFleur, one of its Democrats, on how far to go in tracking the greenhouse gas emissions of the project.
The agreement could create a new precedent for how FERC deals with LNG terminals.
"I'm extremely pleased that we are issuing the certificate order for the Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal today. This facility will have the capacity to export 12 million metric tons of US LNG per year," FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in a statement.
"But even more so, I really appreciate the efforts of my colleagues to work together to come to an agreement on this facility. This is significant, as I anticipate we'll be able to use the framework developed in this order to evaluate the other LNG certificates that the commission is considering."
LaFleur and Democrat Richard Glick had long pushed the commission to consider more of the greenhouse gases for which the project would be responsible, such as those upstream and downstream of the plant itself. The process of liquefying natural gas is energy-intensive and creates a large amount of emissions, but the process of producing and transporting the gas also produced emissions, as does transportation and burning it at its site of eventual use.
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OCASIO-CORTEZ: 'WE'VE GOT TO ADDRESS FACTORY FARMING': Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sought to explain a recent document from her office that linked "farting cows" to climate change, saying that serious climate policy needs to address agriculture.
A set of frequently asked questions released by her office this month as part of the rollout of her "Green New Deal" proposal to fight climate change mentioned cow flatulence as a problem, but her staff later denounced the document.
Ocasio-Cortez didn't directly defend the statement in an interview that aired late Thursday on Showtime's "Desus & Mero," but said that climate policy might need to look into reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
"In the deal, what we talk about is ... that we need to take a look at factory farming, period. It's wild," she told hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero on the premier of their show.
"And so, it's not to say you get rid of agriculture. It's not to say we're going to force everybody to go vegan or anything crazy like that. But it's to say, listen, we've got to address factory farming.
"Maybe we shouldn't be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like, let's keep it real," she continued. "We have to take a look at everything."
The resolution she introduced with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) didn't propose any measures to control greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, nor did the frequently asked questions document.
"We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero, emissions in 10 years because we aren't sure that we'll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast," the document said.
EPA TOP ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL TO TESTIFY: The head of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) enforcement office will testify next week at a hearing on declining enforcement numbers.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Friday that Susan Bodine, EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement Compliance and Assurance would be a witness at the Tuesday hearing of the oversight and investigations subcommittee.
Bodine will be on a panel of her own for the hearing. A separate panel will have academics, environmentalists and attorneys, including some former EPA officials.
The committee announced the hearing earlier this week, amid news that enforcement against polluters, such as fines and penalties, is at a historic low. Both EPA's Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are investigating the drop.
"Essentially, what the EPA has done is take the cop off the beat and protect polluters weather than the average American. And we're going to change that," Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the committee's chairman, said in a video announcing the hearing.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
Canada's National Energy Board, for the second time, has recommended federal approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, CBC News reports.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have struck a deal for Microsoft to provide cloud computing for Exxon's shale operations, Reuters reports.
A Democratic bill in Arizona would let the state's oil regulators levy fines against industry, the Associated Press reports.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out Friday's stories ...
- Botswana, home to nearly one-third of Africa's elephants, mulls lifting hunting ban
- Regulators approve Louisiana natural gas export terminal
- Ocasio-Cortez explains 'farting cows' comment: 'We've got to address factory farming'