Overnight Energy: Pentagon details bases at highest risk from climate change | Dems offer bill to bind Trump to Paris accord | Senate GOP blocks climate panel

PENTAGON RELEASES LIST OF BASES MOST AT RISK TO CLIMATE CHANGE: The Pentagon has sent to Congress a letter containing a list of bases most at risk from climate change threats within the next 20 years.

The bases include Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.; and the Army's Fort Hood in Texas.

The locations top a list of Air Force, Navy and Army installations most at risk from climate change, sent to Congress on March 22 after a group of lawmakers demanded more information from a Pentagon report in January.

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The list "includes scoring and weighting of the five climate-related hazards (recurrent flooding, wildfire, drought, desertification, and permafrost thaw) based on the immediacy of the threat," writes undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment Ellen Lord.

"The Department has been and will continue to be proactive in developing comprehensive policy, guidance, and tools to mitigate potential climate impacts, with a focus on robust infrastructure, sound land management policies, and increased energy resilience," she wrote.

Around Washington, D.C., several sites make the Army, Air Force and Navy lists, including Fort Belvoir, Va., and Fort Meade, Md., both at risk for recurrent flooding; Joint Base Andrews, Md., at risk for flooding, drought and wildfires; and Washington Navy Yard and Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, at risk for flooding and drought.

The lists are add-ons to a Defense Department study from January -- "Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense" -- that found that of 79 operationally critical military installations, 74 are threatened by the effects of climate change over the next 20 years.

Democratic lawmakers, however, were not pleased with the congressionally mandated report when it was released.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE (D-Wash.), along with fellow committee members Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinHouse passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams Hillicon 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 Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers seek 'time out' on facial recognition tech | DHS asks cybersecurity staff to volunteer for border help | Judge rules Qualcomm broke antitrust law | Bill calls for 5G national security strategy MORE (D-R.I.), and John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiHouse panel shoots down funding, deployment of low-yield nukes in defense bill House panel shoots down funding, deployment of low-yield nukes in defense bill Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland MORE (D-Calif.), sent a letter to the Pentagon demanding the information that Congress had ordered it to include, such as the lists, specific mitigation measures to alleviate climate risks at installations, and cost estimates for such efforts.

Lawmakers want more: Lawmakers now appear equally unhappy with the Pentagon's latest version of the report, which Langevin likened to "a student rushing to finish a term paper."

"The Department's methodology remains opaque. The revised report continues to leave off overseas bases, and it fails to include massive military installations like Camp Lejeune. Most importantly, it continues to lack any assessment of the funds Congress will need to appropriate to mitigate the ever increasing risks to our service members," Langevin said in a statement sent to The Hill on Wednesday.

"I have repeatedly made myself available to the Department to clarify the intent behind the specific language of the statute providing for the climate report. No one from the Department has ever taken me up on my offer. Given this record, the assurances from the Secretary that he cares about resiliency ring hollow," he said.

Read more on the report and reaction here.

 

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

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DEMS UNVEIL BILL TO BIND TRUMP TO PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD: House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled long-awaited legislation designed to reduce carbon emissions and take on climate change by binding the United States to commitments made under the Obama-era Paris climate accord.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record MORE (D-Calif.) joined other Democrats in releasing the legislative package in the Capitol, framing climate change as "an existential threat" and promising that the party will move the legislation quickly to the floor.

"The American people know that the ... crisis is an existential threat of our generation, of our time, a crisis manifested in natural disasters of epic proportions," she said.

What it does: The five-page bill known as the Climate Action Now Act aims to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE from pulling out of the Paris climate agreement reached by the U.S. and other world powers in 2015 under former President Obama. Under the bill, Trump would also have to submit a new plan to Congress outlining how the U.S. will continue to meet the goals established in the Paris agreement.

Trump's stance: Trump has said the accord threatens the economic prosperity of industries in the U.S. and that he intends to withdraw from the agreement in November 2020 -- the earliest he's legally permitted to do so.

Since taking office, Trump has allowed his administration to circumvent the carbon-cutting goals laid out by the agreement.

Dem divide: The Democrats' bill comes from Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorSteyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Steyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Two years after Trump's Paris climate move, frustrated Democrats eye 2020 MORE (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a panel that Pelosi created at the start of the year following calls from progressives for a more concerted effort in the Democratic-led House to tackle climate change.

The issue has created some territorial tensions within the party, as leaders of the committees with jurisdiction over climate initiatives have fought to maintain their authority over how Democrats proceed. The tensions forced Pelosi to balance those concerns with those of advocacy groups pressing for a more aggressive approach to environmental protection. She did so by creating the special committee, without giving it the ability to issue subpoenas like other panels.

What's next: Castor on Wednesday said tackling climate change is "a moral obligation" facing Congress, framing the new legislation as just the first step of a much broader Democratic effort to address the global crisis.

The bill will be marked up in the various committees of jurisdiction "over the coming weeks," Castor said, and come to the floor afterward.

The rollout of the bill comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal MORE (R-Ky.) brought a vote on another climate bill -- the Green New Deal -- which was designed to put Democrats on the record on legislation lobbied by progressives that's emerging as a litmus test for 2020 presidential candidates.

Democratic leaders called it a "sham" vote, noting the absence of hearings on the legislation. And Senate Democrats sought to defuse any controversy surrounding the bill by largely voting present on the floor.

Read more here.

 

And in other post-Green New Deal vote news…

 

AMERICANS SPLIT ON NUCLEAR POWER: Americans are evenly split over the use of nuclear power to supply the nation's energy grid, a new Gallup poll revealed Wednesday.

The number of respondents who say they support or oppose the use of nuclear power is split evenly, with both those who approve and those who disapprove coming in at 49 percent, according to Gallup. A slightly lower percentage of Americans, 47 percent, are willing to say that nuclear power plants are "safe" choices for energy.

A previous poll in 2016 showed a rate of support for nuclear power that was 6 percentage points lower than the current rate, according to Gallup. But Americans who strongly oppose the use of nuclear power (21 percent) still outnumber those who strongly favor it (19 percent).

Still, the trend of Americans who favor the use of nuclear power remains far lower than was recorded in 2010, when high oil prices led to 62 percent of Americans favoring the expansion of nuclear power in the U.S.

The survey had slight differences along party lines, as 65 percent of Republican respondents told Gallup that they support nuclear energy, while 57 percent of Democrats said the opposite. Independent voters oppose the use of nuclear energy by a margin of 54 percent to 42 percent.

A split also exists among educational lines. Sixty percent of college-educated Americans favor its use, while 37 percent of those with no college education said the same.

More on the poll's findings here.

 

ON TAP THURSDAY:

Acting Interior Administrator David Bernhardt will appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Thursday for his confirmation hearing. Bernhardt is expected to be drilled on his background working for energy and agriculture lobbyists, as well as a number of recent reports about policy decisions he's helped make at Interior that appear as conflicts of interest. Among them, will be questions about a decision he championed to remove endangered species protections on a small fish in California's Central Valley--a move heavily lobbied by his former employer. Other questions will likely revolve around a decision he made to withhold agency findings linking two pesticides to the decline of various endangered species as well as his lack of transparency when it comes to his public calendar and meetings with staff.

Also Thursday, the Senate's Environment and Public Works committee will hold a hearing to examine the federal response to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as (PFAS). The EPA plans to release new standards for the chemical in water by the end of the year.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Infected US shale oil is being turned away by Asian buyers, Bloomberg reports

California gas prices spike after refinery problems, The San Francisco Chronicle reports

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Wednesday...

-Top oil firms have spent $1B on branding, lobbying since Paris Agreement: study

-Pentagon releases list of military bases most at risk to climate change

-Pelosi, Dems unveil bill to bind Trump to Paris climate accord

-Calif. will close crab fisheries earlier than usual to protect whales

-European Parliament votes to ban single-use plastics

-Americans evenly split on nuclear power: poll

-Senate GOP blocks formation of climate change committee

-Flooding threatens more than 1M private wells in Midwest