Overnight Energy: House Dems propose billions for green programs Trump sought to cut | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez tout Green New Deal, jab at Biden | Biden fires back at criticism on climate

Overnight Energy: House Dems propose billions for green programs Trump sought to cut | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez tout Green New Deal, jab at Biden | Biden fires back at criticism on climate
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HEY HEY, HO HO, THOSE BUDGET CUTS HAVE GOT TO GO: House Democrats on Tuesday rebuffed President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE's attempts to drastically scale back funding for environmental programs, releasing two spending bills that upped funding to the programs, including those the administration hoped to scrap entirely.

The first bill from the House Appropriations Committee allocated $37.28 billion for the Interior Department and the environment, which was $7.24 billion above the president's request.

While Trump proposed cutting funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by about a third, Democrats are hoping to increase funding to the agency by $672 million. The proposal would bring the EPA's budget to a total of $9.5 billion.


"Our Interior-Environment funding bill totally rejects the pro-pollution, anti-public lands, anti-environmental protection budget proposal submitted to Congress by President Trump," said Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumLet's prevent irreparable harm to an irreplaceable wilderness area Democrats secure fast-track to the floor for Canada-Mexico trade deal House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (D-Minn.).

"Instead, Democrats are prioritizing investments that ensure our air is safe to breathe and our water is safe to drink," she added.

The $13.8 billion proposed for the Interior Department, which includes funding for land management, Fish and Wildlife Services, National Park Services and Ecological Services, came out $2.4 billion above Trump's request.

Some specific bumps:

The increases to the Interior budget include funding for 500 additional staffers within the National Park Service, as well as an extra $135 million to deal with deferred maintenance at parks.

The bill also sets aside $18 million in the EPA budget for the study and regulation of a chemical used in a variety of nonstick products and fire-fighting foam that has been leaching into water.

A second bill from Democrats on funding for energy and water programs offered an 11 percent increase to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The proposal would replace Trump's proposed 86 percent cut, and also gives a $59 million funding boost to the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, a key energy research program.

In his budget, Trump not only proposed eliminating the $366 million in current funding for the program but clawing back $287 million additional dollars in funds that had not yet been obligated.

Read more on the numbers here.


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JABS ON TWITTER AND ON STAGE: Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters MORE (I-Vt.) was in familiar territory Monday evening, speaking to a college auditorium of liberal-leaning students and young voters.

The 2020 presidential candidate joined progressive darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Moore defends Sanders's reputation: 'We don't want the fake, and the phony and the fraudulent' MORE (D-N.Y.) to preach the benefits of the ambitious Green New Deal climate plan, at a time when climate change is rising to prominence as a top issue for Democratic voters.

"How do we take on an industry with unlimited wealth, unlimited power and unlimited resources?" Sanders said of the fossil fuel industry. "We need a political revolution."

Speaking at Howard University, a historic African American college just a mile from the U.S. Capitol Building, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez praised the tenets of the climate action plan that in part aims to transition the U.S. economy to a 100 percent renewable energy grid by 2030 and create green jobs in the process.

Sanders, the 77-year-old son of a paint salesman who has had a lifelong career in politics, at times spoke in tandem with Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman politician who is not yet old enough to run for president but who unseated a 20-year incumbent in one of 2018's biggest upsets.

"Let me tell you what's too much for me. What's too much for me is politicians looking and allowing babies' blood to get poisoned in Flint, Mich., for corporate profits. What's too much for me is coal barons coming up to Washington, D.C., and demanding bailout after tax breaks after bailout themselves and then not even paying their own miners pensions," Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd.

"This is what a corrupt political system is about ... In the last decade alone the oil and gas industry has pumped more than $700 million dollars' worth of campaign contributions into federal, state and local elections," said Sanders. "In that same period, they spent more than $1.5 billion dollars lobbying Washington. This is what we are up against. The fossil fuel industry has been well rewarded for their campaign contributions and their lobbying."

While Sanders's presidential campaign has not released a formal climate policy, he has staunchly backed the ideas of the Green New Deal from its infancy. Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal as a resolution in the House in February. Sanders was a co-sponsor of the Senate's companion bill.

During his speech, Sanders dropped hints of what his own climate plan could look like, praising investments in solar and wind technology and calling for an end for all subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

"These companies lied to the American people about the very existence of climate change and committed one of the greatest frauds in the history of our country," Sanders said. "Just as the tobacco industry was ultimately forced to pay for the fraud they committed, the fossil fuel industry must be forced to do the same."

Taking on other Dems: The lawmakers didn't hold back Monday taking shots at other politicians, including fellow Democrats, who they view as failing to show the necessary urgency regarding climate action.

"I'm not here to tell you that all Democrats are good and all Republicans are bad and if you simply elect someone with a 'D' next to their name that our problems are solved," Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd.

Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have each knocked the climate plans put forth in recent weeks by other 2020 hopefuls.

We've got more from Miranda who was at the event.


WHICH BRINGS US TO ROUND TWO: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE (D) on Tuesday pushed back against criticism of his forthcoming climate plan by progressives who have characterized it as a "middle ground" approach to addressing global warming.

"You never heard me say middle of the road. I've never been middle of the road on the environment," Biden told reporters in New Hampshire. "Tell her to check the statement that I made and look at my record."

"I don't think she was talking about me," Biden added.

His office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about which statement of his he was referencing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) criticized Biden's forthcoming climate plan last week and again at a Monday night rally in support of the Green New Deal.

"This is a dealbreaker. There is no 'middle ground' w/ climate denial & delay," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last week.

At Monday's rally, Ocasio-Cortez took again took aim at a "middle of the road" approach but did not mention Biden by name.

"What's too much for me," she said, "is that Congress was first notified by NASA that climate change was going to threaten my life and everyone here's life to come, and they did nothing."

"If the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need to have a 'middle of the road approach' to save our lives, that is too much for me," she added.

Biden told reporters Tuesday that no one has been more serious about a green revolution than he has.

Oh, Ocasio-Cortez, care to respond to this story?

When asked if Ocasio-Cortez wanted to comment on Biden's remarks, a spokesperson for her congressional office said, "Nah."



-Big Oil wants to kill electric vehicles, argues Hal Connolly, a senior vice president of programs at The Climate Reality Project.

-Jayni Hein, natural resources director at the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law, argues against clutching to fossil fuels in the era of climate change



Wednesday is... busy.

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.

House Appropriations will be marking up spending bills for EPA, DOI and DOE.  

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will hold a hearing on the many, many PFAS bills that have been introduced lately.

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

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.



Garcetti pulls back on promise of 'zero bad air' in L.A. by 2025, the Los Angeles Times reports.

San Francisco may make PG&E a multibillion-dollar offer in weeks, Bloomberg reports.

A lot of the stuff we throw in those recycling bins is really just trash, KQED reports.



Stories from Tuesday...

California jury links weedkiller Roundup to cancer, awards couple $2 billion

Crunch time for Senate disaster aid talks

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez join up to preach Green New Deal, take jabs at Biden

Biden responds to Ocasio-Cortez criticism: 'Tell her to check' my record

Deepest-ever dive finds human trash on sea floor

House Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut