Overnight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA

Overnight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA
© Stefani Reynolds

SENATE DEMS INTRODUCE GREEN NEW DEAL ALTERNATIVE: Senate Democrats introduced a joint resolution Thursday meant to unify the party around a common climate change plan as Republicans rip the party over the "Green New Deal."

The concise nine-line resolution introduced by Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrats give Warren's 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder Liz Cheney applauds Trump for pulling out of Paris climate agreement Overnight Energy: Trump formally pulls out of landmark Paris climate pact | EPA to ease rules on waste from coal-fired power plants | States, green groups sue to save Obama lightbulb rules MORE (D-Del.), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee, commits Democrats to acknowledging climate change is happening, that it's human caused and that something must be done.

"Climate change is real, human activity during the last century is the dominant cause of the climate crisis; and the United States and Congress should take immediate action to address the challenge of climate change," the resolution reads in its entirety.

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All 47 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed on to co-sponsor the legislation.

"We have an obligation in the body of the House to do something about it," said Carper on the Senate floor Thursday.

The resolution is meant as an alternative to the Green New Deal resolution introduced in early February by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid States, green groups challenge rollback of Obama-era lightbulb rules Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill MORE (D-Mass.). Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the vote on the resolution two weeks ago in an effort to highlight a Democratic divide over the plan.  

While McConnell recently hinted at a pushed back timeline as far off as August, Democrats had planned to vote "present" on the plan to avoid appearing misaligned on their climate stance.

The latest proposal would circumvent that need.

While the new resolution doesn't offer any specific plans to decrease emissions and combat climate change, Democratic leaders championed it as a push in the right direction as Republicans failed to back or introduce any climate bills of their own.

"Until they in the majority put a plan on the floor as to what they would do with climate change, they don't have much standing," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges MORE (D-N.Y.) told Politico Tuesday. He called McConnell's planned vote on the Green New Deal a "sham."

Read more here.

 

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SIX REPUBLICANS NAMED TO NEW HOUSE CLIMATE PANEL: Six Republicans are joining the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis formed by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' MORE in January.

GOP Reps. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesBipartisan leadership will reduce emissions more quickly than Paris accord Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Video of young boy shielding Greta Thunberg from photographers goes viral MORE (La.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Overnight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA Six Republicans named to House climate panel MORE (Va.), Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterRepublicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year Polling director: Young voters swayed by health care, economy, gun control MORE (Ga.), Gary PalmerGary James PalmerTrump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race GOP protest overshadows impeachment hearing Republicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry MORE (Ala.), Carol MillerCarol Devine MillerGOP women's super PAC blasts 'out of touch' candidate in NC runoff GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates Kerry goes after Trump over climate on Capitol Hill MORE (W.Va.) and Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) will be sitting on the committee, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Nunes pressed on Fox News about comparing impeachment inquiry to a 'coup' Vaping illness spurs calls for federal marijuana changes MORE (R-Calif) announced Thursday.

Graves will be the lead Republican on the committee, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Climate activist Greta Thunberg implores lawmakers to 'listen to the best available science' House approves two bills to block Trump drilling MORE of Florida.

Graves, a moderate Republican, served for years Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, helping push through a multibillion-dollar coastal restoration and levee program following Hurricane Katrina, according to E&E News.

He also has said he believes in climate change and was backed by the Environmental Defense Fund in his 2014 congressional race.

However, according to The League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group, he scored a zero out of 100 on their recent voting scorecard released Wednesday. That meant he voted against their stance on environmental and public health matters in each of the 35 votes they recorded.

Other panel members received low numbers on the same scale with Griffith getting a 3, Carter 0 and Palmer a 0.

Griffith and Carter also currently serve on the House's Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. Miller and Armstrong hail from states with big fossil fuel ties.

Read more here.

 

SENATE CONFIRMS WHEELER TO HEAD EPA: The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 52-47 mostly party-line vote.

Every Democrat voted against Wheeler, while Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (Maine) was the only Republican to vote against him.

Collins in a statement Wednesday said she would not vote for Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist, because of his track record backing policies that weaken rules protecting air pollution and lowering car emissions.

"While Mr. Wheeler is certainly qualified for this position, I have too many concerns with the actions he has taken during his tenure as Acting Administrator to be able to support his promotion," said Collins, who had backed confirming Wheeler last year to be EPA's deputy administrator.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (W.Va.), the only Democrat who voted to confirm Wheeler as EPA deputy administrator, voted against him on Thursday. He cited Wheeler's failure to make progress on clean drinking water standards, among other issues.

"When I voted to confirm Mr. Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the EPA, I did so because I thought the President deserved to have his team in place. I also believed that I could work with Mr. Wheeler," Manchin said in a statement.

"Today, I voted against him to be the permanent Administrator of the EPA because as Acting Administrator, he hasn't demonstrated a desire or a will to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards and has rolled back clean air standards that are directly impacting West Virginians, both concerns that I have raised with him."

Wheeler has led the EPA in an active capacity since former Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact Top EPA official under investigation in document destruction EPA rolls back rule on waste from coal-fired power plants MORE resigned on the heels of ethics controversies in July. He will be the agency's second leader under President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE. Trump nominated Wheeler to take over the role of EPA administrator in early January.

Responding to his confirmation, Wheeler tweeted Thursday that he was "humbled."

"It is truly humbling to serve the American public as EPA Administrator. I want to thank President Trump for nominating me and Leader McConnell and [Senate Natural Resources Committee] Chairman [John] Barrasso for navigating my confirmation through the Senate," Wheeler wrote.

"I am deeply honored, and I look forward to continuing the President's agenda and the work of the Agency alongside all my EPA colleagues."

At his confirmation hearing, Wheeler doubled down on the EPA's efforts under Trump to streamline environmental regulations, which in many instances meant dramatically re-writing, challenging and shrinking agency rules put in place under former President Obama.

Wheeler in his opening remarks highlighted 13 major deregulatory actions he had overseen in his six months heading the EPA on an acting basis, including proposals to roll back environmental regulations for power plants and vehicle emissions and protections for small waterways. He said it saved Americans "roughly $1.8 billion in regulatory costs."

Democrats blasted Wheeler for continuing the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda, which included a dramatic drop in enforcement against polluters.

But several lawmakers credited Wheeler for a shift in tone from Pruitt.

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthSenate Democrat introduces bill to protect military families from deportation Nuclear command nominee sidesteps questions on arms control treaties Senate Dems ask Trump Organization for information on dealings with Turkey MORE (D-Ill.) thanked Wheeler for his accessibility.

"It's been a nice change to your predecessor," she said.

Read more here.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

Former EPA head Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group Overnight Energy: Automakers group sides with Trump in emissions lawsuit | Latest on California wildfires | Walden won't seek reelection | Park Service scraps plan to charge protesters for security MORE argues that the Trump administration's dismantling of a mercury pollution ban exemplifies their embrace of the coal industry.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Colorado state legislators propose "most sweeping oil and gas reforms" in state history, the Denver Post reports

The massive glacier that formed the Great Lakes is disappearing, the Chicago Tribune reports

The world Is losing fish to eat as oceans warm, The New York Times reports

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Thursday...

-Six Republicans named to new House climate panel

-Senate Democrats introduce 'Green New Deal' alternative

-Gorka: Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal is socialism 'Stalin dreamt about'

-GOP lawmaker says 'climate hoax believers' deny impact of photosynthesis

-Senate confirms Wheeler to lead EPA

-New Jersey woman sentenced to jail for helping crying bear cub escape trap

-Hundreds of green groups, local leaders ask Pelosi to champion climate goals

-Dems wrestle over how to vote on 'Green New Deal'