Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: 2020 rivals rip Biden over expected ‘middle ground’ climate plan | Dems cancel plans to invite Republican to testify on climate change | House passes $17.2B disaster aid bill over Trump objections

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2020 RIVALS, GREENS RIP BIDEN OVER EXPECTED ‘MIDDLE GROUND’ CLIMATE PLAN: 2020 Democratic hopefuls and environmental groups are blasting former Vice President Joe Biden’s forthcoming climate plan, which is reportedly being pegged as a “middle ground” approach to addressing global warming.

SHOT: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), both presidential candidates, on Friday criticized Biden’s plan, which would reportedly include continued use of natural gas and rely on nuclear energy.

“There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy. If we don’t commit to fully transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, we will doom future generations,” Sanders tweeted. “Fighting climate change must be our priority, whether fossil fuel billionaires like it or not.”

Inslee called the plan a “half measure” that “won’t cut it.”

“We need a large-scale national mobilization to defeat climate change and grow millions of jobs in a clean energy economy,” Inslee tweeted.{mosads}

Reuters first reported Friday morning that Biden’s campaign was in the midst of drafting a climate policy plan. The plan would include recommitting to the Paris climate agreement, which President Trump has said he intends to pull the U.S. out of in 2020, and investing in carbon capture technology for fossil fuel emissions.

The approach, two sources told Reuters, is meant to appeal to working-class voters who may be reluctant to back more extensive approaches to climate change, like the Green New Deal, which ultimately seeks to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net zero over a 10-year period.

CHASER: Biden’s campaign took issue with Reuters’ description of the candidate’s climate plan Friday afternoon.

Bill Russo, communications director for Biden’s campaign, retweeted a comment Friday that read “Reuters’s got it wrong.”

TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign, tweeted Friday that Biden, “Knows how high the stakes are.”

“As president, Biden would enact a bold policy to tackle climate change in a meaningful and lasting way, and will be discussing the specifics of that plan in the near future,” Ducklo added. “Any assertions otherwise are not accurate.”

Read the whole story here.

The original report can be found here.


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NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T: Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have rescinded an invitation to former GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) to testify at a hearing on climate change next week.

Curbelo, a centrist who lost his reelection bid in November, told The Hill that the panel had changed his plans and said he was asking them to reconsider because he had made plans to travel to Washington.

“I just got an email a little while ago and I was actually finalizing my testimony to send into the committee but then I got an email from Andrew Grossman the chief tax counsel notifying me that the chairman for reasons beyond his control had to withdraw the invitation,” Curbelo told The Hill.

“And I’ve asked him to reconsider because I actually modified my travel schedule so I could accommodate this hearing, which I think is important and it was a signal to me that Democrats were truly interested in bipartisan solutions rather than exploiting this issue for political gain,” he said.

Curbelo said he was not given a reason for the change in plans. The Hill has reached out to the committee for comment.

“I am the bearer of some unfortunate news. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am afraid that I need to withdraw the Chairman’s prior invitation to testify at Wednesday’s hearing,” states the email to Curbelo, which was obtained by The Hill. “Mr. Neal genuinely appreciates your willingness to testify, and looks forward to working with you in the future on matters related to our climate crisis.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) had initially invited Curbelo, a former member of the panel, to testify.

The Florida Republican — one of the few outspoken GOP advocates for using a carbon tax as a way to combat climate change — was expected to discuss carbon pricing at the hearing, which is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.

Republicans on the panel criticized the decision to pull the invitation.

“Republicans were looking forward to a bipartisan, solutions-based hearing for this growing national problem. With Chairman Neal rescinding his invitation of former Republican member, Carlos Curbelo, it’s clear progressive Democrats decided to make this a partisan political exercise instead,” a spokesman for committee Republicans said.

Read about the 180 here.

Read about the original plans for the committee hearing here.


HOUSE APPROVES DISASTER AID BILL OVER TRUMP OBJECTIONS: The House passed a $17.2 billion supplemental disaster relief package Friday in a 257-150 vote despite opposition from President Trump, who urged Republicans to vote against the measure because of what he saw as excessive funding for Puerto Rico.

Trump has argued that Puerto Rico has mismanaged aid already sent to the island after the devastation in 2017 from Hurricane Maria. On Thursday night, he pressed GOP lawmakers to oppose the measure.

“House Republicans should not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT Disaster Supplemental Bill which hurts our States, Farmers & Border Security,” Trump tweeted.

Thirty-four Republicans voted for the bill despite the president’s urgings.

The measure would extend the National Flood Insurance Program through Sept. 30, and provide aid to both Puerto Rico and states in the U.S. hit by flooding and other disasters.

Democrats have ripped Trump over the issue of Puerto Rico, arguing the president has sought to limit aid to the territory.

In the Senate, a similar battle is unfolding over funding. GOP lawmakers are struggling to hash out a disaster bill, and some have expressed frustrations to the White House, pressing for Trump to agree to a deal.

The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke has more on the vote and what’s next in the debate.



On Monday , Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is jumping off the week by headlining a rally at Howard University in D.C. to celebrate the Green New Deal. Read more about the rally here.

On Wednesday, the energy subpanel of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a hearing on advancing wind and solar technologies.

That same day, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will testify for the first time in front of the House Natural Resources Committee to discuss his agency’s 2020 budget and policy initiatives.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the economic and health consequences stemming from climate change.

The national parks subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday discussing climate change’s impacts to public lands recreation.

On Thursday, the energy and mineral resources subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee will discuss how oil and gas drilling impacts water pollution.   

Also Thursday, the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee will examine how carbon capture technology can enhance fossil fuel technology.



Ireland and Britain declare climate emergencies, The Washington Post reports.

Oregon bans tree killing herbicide, The Register-Guard reports.

California budget ups fire spending; no money for retrofits, ABC news reports.



Stories from Friday…

-Dems cancel plans to bring in Republican as climate change witness

-2020 rivals, greens rip Biden over expected ‘middle ground’ climate plan

-Ex-GOP Rep. Curbelo to testify at climate change hearing

-Biden crafting more centrist plan for climate change policy: report

-Trump tells Congress to ‘keep working’ on disaster aid bill

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders carbon capture Carlos Curbelo Carlos Curbelo Climate change Donald Trump Energy Jay Inslee Joe Biden Joe Biden Richard Neal
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