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 CarperOvernight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Democrats suggest EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions rollback Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 MarkeyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senate passes anti-robocall bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump MORE (D-Mass.). Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes 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 SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' MORE (D-N.Y.) told Politico Tuesday. He called McConnell's planned vote on the Green New Deal a "sham."

Read more here.

 

Happy Thursday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow me on Twitter: @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.

 

SIX REPUBLICANS NAMED TO NEW HOUSE CLIMATE PANEL: Six Republicans are joining the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis formed by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks MORE in January.

GOP Reps. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesOvernight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee's role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Newly-formed House climate panel holds first hearing Overnight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA MORE (La.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithOvernight 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 House passes bill expressing support for NATO MORE (Va.), Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterThirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Federal board votes to rename Georgia's 'Runaway Negro Creek' to 'Freedom Creek' 3 signs the PBMs are desperately in need of reform MORE (Ga.), Gary PalmerGary James PalmerPoll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field 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 (Ala.), Carol MillerCarol Devine MillerKerry goes after Trump over climate on Capitol Hill Overnight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee's role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Newly-formed House climate panel holds first hearing MORE (W.Va.) and Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) will be sitting on the committee, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans spend more than million at Trump properties The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes MORE (R-Calif) announced Thursday.

Graves will be the lead Republican on the committee, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorHouse climate panel will study drilling ban backed by 2020 Dems Overnight Energy — Presented by Job Creators Network — Ocasio-Cortez knocks O'Rourke's climate plan | Dems in disarray over Paris climate bill | Climate change top issue for Dem voters in poll Dems lack unified plan for pushing Paris climate bill 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 CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights 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) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Labor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners 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 PruittOn The Money: New financial disclosures provide glimpse of Trump's wealth | Walmart, Macy's say tariffs will mean price hikes | Consumer agency says Education Department blocking student loan oversight Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Lawmakers take EPA head to task for refusing to demand Pruitt repay travel expenses MORE resigned on the heels of ethics controversies in July. He will be the agency's second leader under President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' 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 Duckworth25 new sexual harassment claims filed against McDonald's Duckworth tweets photo of female senators showing up first for committee quorum: 'Women getting it done!' Overnight Energy: States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules | Greens seek hearing over proposed rule on energy efficiency tests | Top Dem asks GAO to investigate climate threat 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 Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA Overnight Energy: Joshua Tree National Park lost M in fees due to shutdown | Dem senator, AGs back case against oil giants | Trump officials secretly shipped plutonium to Nevada Overnight Energy: Ethics panel clears Grijalva over settlement with staffer | DC aims to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2032 | Judges skeptical of challenge to Obama smog rule 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'