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 CarperAdvancing a bipartisan conservation legacy The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge Trump's latest water policy exposes sharp divides 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 MarkeySenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill Twitter tells facial-recognition app maker to stop collecting its data MORE (D-Mass.). Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Bolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT 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 SchumerBolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Impeachment has been a dud for Democrats 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 PelosiFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Texas AFL-CIO endorses Cuellar's primary challenger MORE in January.

GOP Reps. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesOvernight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 Republicans offer details on environmental proposals after Democrats roll out plan Republicans eye legislation to rival Democrats' sweeping climate plan MORE (La.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithOvernight Health Care: Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat | House panel to examine federal marijuana policies | House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers over role in crisis The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (Va.), Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterRepublicans came to the table on climate this year Republicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership MORE (R-Calif) announced Thursday.

Graves will be the lead Republican on the committee, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorOvernight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Pelosi warns of 'existential' climate threat, vows bold action Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows to push for Paris climate goals | Senate confirms Brouillette to succeed Perry at Energy | EPA under attack from all sides over ethanol rule 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 CollinsDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Impeachment manager dismisses concerns Schiff alienated key Republican votes: 'This isn't about any one person' Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court 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) ManchinDemocrats Manchin, Jones signal they're undecided on Trump removal vote Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Dems' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump 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 PruittEPA employees push 'bill of rights' to protect scientific integrity EPA's independent science board questions underpinnings of numerous agency rollbacks Overnight Energy: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses MORE resigned on the heels of ethics controversies in July. He will be the agency's second leader under President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir 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 DuckworthAmtrak ends policy that led to K charge for activists using wheelchairs #MidnightMoscowMitch trends amid criticism of McConnell's proposed impeachment trial rules Democratic senator asks for meeting with Amtrak head over alleged disability discrimination 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) McCarthyTrump's latest water policy exposes sharp divides 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 Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group 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'