Overnight Energy: Green New Deal vote set to test Dem unity | Renewables on track to phase out coal, study finds | EPA chief reportedly recuses himself from mine review

GREEN NEW DEAL VOTE TO TEST DEMS: Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw US women's soccer team reignites equal pay push MORE (N.Y.) this week will face his biggest test keeping White House hopefuls aligned with the rest of the Democratic caucus when Republicans force a vote on the Green New Deal.

Schumer wants all Democrats to vote "present" on the motion to proceed to the ambitious, and divisive, climate change measure championed by firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPolice say man trespassed into Ocasio-Cortez's office Police say man trespassed into Ocasio-Cortez's office Ocasio-Cortez starts petition to repeal Hyde Amendment MORE (D-N.Y.), despite the fact that several presidential candidates in the chamber have already endorsed her proposal.

Schumer's challenge: The Senate's companion resolution, sponsored by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocratic White House hopefuls push to expand health care in US territories Democratic White House hopefuls push to expand health care in US territories Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote MORE (D-Mass.), is co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' The generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party MORE (I-Vt.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina MORE (D-N.J.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' MORE (D-Minn.), who are all running for president.

McConnell's play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Ky.) scheduled the vote in hopes of driving a wedge between 2020 Democrats, who are trying to appeal to the party's liberal base, and more centrist Democrats who face competitive reelection campaigns next year.

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McConnell says the Green New Deal has all the components for "a good old-fashioned, state-planned economy," and that it is "garden variety 20th century socialism."

Dem response: Democrats argue McConnell is setting up a "sham vote" and note that liberal advocacy groups like the Sunrise Movement and Credo Action that back the Green New Deal have given senators a pass to vote "present." They also say polling shows majorities of Americans think climate change is a serious problem that requires action.

The Green New Deal, however, is a sensitive topic within Democratic circles and has failed to garner sponsorship from even ardent environmentalists like Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? Democrats hope some presidential candidates drop out — and run for Senate  MORE (D-R.I.).

Whitehouse says the Green New Deal "doesn't have substance yet" and describes it as "aspirational."

He said he likes the aspiration but hasn't co-sponsored the resolution.

"I'm a legislator and I like bills," he said.

What's in the deal: The proposal says the federal government must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create millions of high-wage jobs by investing in sustainable infrastructure.

It sets a 10-year schedule to meet 100 percent of the nation's power demand through renewable, zero-emission energy sources and upgrade all buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

Will there be any Dem defectors?: At least one Democrat is preparing to break ranks. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle MORE of West Virginia, a major coal-producing state, said he plans to vote against the measure.

"They can do what they want to do. I'm not a present-type guy," he told The Hill last month.

Read more here.

 

Happy Monday! 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.

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And in preparation for this week's Green New Deal vote...

 

MANUFACTURERS CALL FOR VOTE AGAINST GREEN NEW DEAL: The National Association of Manufacturers on Tuesday will send a letter to all senators urging them to vote against the Green New Deal resolution.

In the letter shared early with The Hill, the trade association representing small and large manufacturers across the U.S. calls the plan "unrealistic."

"S.J. Res. 8 would require the federal government to decarbonize the manufacturing,

transportation and electric power sectors in an unrealistic 10-year time frame," the letter reads.

The group concedes that an investment in energy efficiency, grid modernization and reduced carbon emissions is necessary, but warns the 2030 timeline set out by the progressive plan is too drastic.

 

SOLAR, WIND ON TRACK TO PHASE OUT COAL AS CHEAPER ENERGY ALTERNATIVE: Solar and wind power are on track to overtake coal as cost-effective energy sources, according to a new study released Monday.

The report from Energy Innovation, a nonpartisan think tank, indicates that economics alone may play the biggest role in driving U.S. consumer energy use towards renewable sources.

The analysis, called "The Coal Cost Crossover," found that existing coal options are increasingly more expensive than cleaner alternatives. As it stands, local wind and solar could replace nearly 74 percent of the U.S. coal fleet today and still save customers money, the report found.

And those numbers are expected to get even better for consumers. By 2025, it's expected that 86 percent of coal plants could be replaced by solar and wind energy for cheaper costs.

The findings show that the two renewable energy sources are joining natural gas as energy alternatives that pose big economic threats to struggling coal.

Coal industry's struggles: Coal, a natural resource linked to some of the worst greenhouse gas pollution, has increasingly struggled in recent years as natural gas production grew cheaper. A number of coal fired plants shuttered across the U.S. in 2018 with retirements expected to continue in 2019 as plants become too expensive to maintain.

"Due to the rapid recent cost decline of wind and solar, the combined fuel, maintenance, and other going-forward costs of coal-fired power from many existing coal plants is now more expensive than the all-in costs of new wind or solar projects. This cost crossover raises substantial questions for regulators and utilities as to why these coal plants should keep running instead of new renewable power plants," the report read.

Trump's promise: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE has repeatedly vowed to bring jobs back to the coal industry, saying that the energy source was key to America's energy independence. During his first State of the Union address, Trump praised "beautiful, clean coal."

More on the study here.

 

EPA CHIEF REPORTEDLY RECUSES HIMSELF FROM MINE REVIEW: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler is reportedly recusing himself from agency reviews of a proposed mine whose developer his former law firm represented.

In 2017, Wheeler's then-firm Faegre Baker Daniels arranged a meeting between then-EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittTrump directs agencies to cut advisory boards by 'at least' one-third Trump directs agencies to cut advisory boards by 'at least' one-third Overnight Energy: Former EPA chiefs say Trump has abandoned agency's mission | Trump in Iowa touts ethanol and knocks Biden | Greens sue Trump over drilling safety rollbacks | FDA downplays worries over 'forever chemicals' MORE and Pebble LP, the developer of the proposed gold and copper mine near Alaska's Bristol Bay, according to Bloomberg.

Soon after the meeting, Pruitt proposed withdrawing mining regulations that would have hindered the project in securing necessary Clean Water Act permits.

Wheeler never provided services to a client on the mine, but said the recusal would be effective for the length of his tenure as EPA chief, reportedly delegating all issues involving the Pebble Mine to EPA general counsel Matthew Leopold.

Wheeler has recused himself from other matters involving ex-clients.

More here on the decision.

 

ON TAP: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to bring a vote on the controversial Green New Deal early this week, but it is not yet known whether that vote will happen Tuesday or Wednesday. 

In anticipation of the vote this week, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sponsor of the Senate Green New Deal resolution, will hold a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday "for bold climate action in Congress and to blast Republicans for blocking real action on climate change." 

On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing titled: "The Need to Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain."

In budget news:

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on the Department of Interior's budget.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on the Department of Energy's budget. Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Defense: Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy | Trump, Macron downplay rift on Iran | Trump mourns West Point cadet's death in accident | Pentagon closes review of deadly Niger ambush Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' MORE will testify.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Shell switches over 700,000 customers to renewable electricity, CNBC reports

Puerto Rico passes bill to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, Fast Company reports

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and the weekend...

-NASA finds one of Earth's fastest-shrinking glaciers is growing again

-EPA chief recuses himself from mine review his ex-law firm repped: report

-Solar, wind on track to phase out coal as cheaper energy alternatives: analysis

-Green New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate

-Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change

-Trump approves Iowa disaster declaration

-Oil execs boasted of 'unprecedented access' to Trump officials: report