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: Senators push back on EPA's new FOIA rule | Agency digs in on rule change | Watchdog expands ethics probe of former EPA air chief Watchdog probing more ethics investigations into EPA's former air chief: report Fighting the opioid epidemic: Congress can't just pass laws, but must also push to enforce them 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: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator FTC looks to update children's internet privacy rules MORE (D-Mass.). Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGrassley, Wyden reach deal to lower drug prices The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike Harris, Nadler introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana 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 SchumerOn The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week Trump, Democrats clinch two-year budget deal 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 PelosiConservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Grassley, Wyden reach deal to lower drug prices Why do Republicans keep trying to outspend Democrats in Congress? MORE in January.

GOP Reps. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesHouse committee forwards bills to bar offshore drilling across US 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 (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 CarterCongress needs to continue fighting the opioid epidemic Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Federal board votes to rename Georgia's 'Runaway Negro Creek' to 'Freedom Creek' MORE (Ga.), Gary PalmerGary James PalmerPalmer's Paris agreement bashing lacks policy basis Tensions rise during GOP leadership meeting over dues 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike On The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week MORE (R-Calif) announced Thursday.

Graves will be the lead Republican on the committee, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorPelosi, Schumer invite US women's soccer team to Capitol Democrats grill Trump officials over fuel standard rollback Steyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment 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 CollinsPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp Trump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report 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) ManchinPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand 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: EPA halts surprise inspections of power, chemical plants | Regulators decline to ban pesticide linked to brain damage | NY awards country's largest offshore wind energy contracts EPA allows continued use of pesticide linked with brain damage Overnight 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 MORE resigned on the heels of ethics controversies in July. He will be the agency's second leader under President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota 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 DuckworthAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Advocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker 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: Critics accuse Interior's top lawyer of misleading Congress | Boaty McBoatface makes key climate change discovery | Outrage over Trump's order to trim science advisory panels Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage Overnight Energy: Trump order to trim science panels sparks outrage | Greens ask watchdog to investigate Interior's records policies | EPA to allow use of pesticide harmful to bees 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'