Overnight Energy: Dems dismiss Interior chief's work calendars as 'fake' | Buttigieg climate plan includes carbon tax | Poll finds growing number say climate is crucial 2020 issue

Overnight Energy: Dems dismiss Interior chief's work calendars as 'fake' | Buttigieg climate plan includes carbon tax | Poll finds growing number say climate is crucial 2020 issue
© Greg Nash

DEM CRITICIZES NEWEST CALENDARS FOR TRUMP INTERIOR CHIEF AS 'FAKE': The latest calendars released for Interior Secretary David Bernhardt are prompting renewed scrutiny of the department's transparency efforts, with one Democrat calling them "fake."

Interior published four months' worth of Bernhardt’s schedules to its website on Thursday, a day after he appeared before the House Natural Resources Committee.

While some entries released by the agency list the names of attendees at meetings, others only describe him as having a scheduled "external meeting."

One House Democrat called the Trump Cabinet member's schedules a "fake calendar."

"No real calendar says ‘external call’ or ‘external meeting’ w/ no details -you kinda need to know who you're calling/meeting with!” tweeted Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanNancy Pelosi fends off impeachment wave — for now Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump MORE (D-Calif.).

Huffman, a member of the Natural Resources Committee, added, “This fake calendar only has details if something is politically useful - e.g. 'meeting w/ youth group.' How dumb does he think we are?”

Interior, when asked to respond to criticism of the entries, sent a letter from March 26 addressed to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) explaining how the office maintains Bernhardt’s calendar.

Why it matters: Bernhardt’s calendars have been an ongoing source of criticism for the department. House Democrats have raised questions over whether the department’s use of Google Docs to maintain his calendar complies with recordkeeping laws.

Interior has offered conflicting information about how Bernhardt’s schedule is maintained, but in April acknowledged that some meetings with industry representatives were intentionally left off his calendar.

Read more on the controversy here.

 

TGIF! 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 and Rebecca Beitsch, rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @mirandacgreen@rebeccabeitsch and @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.

 

BUTTIGIEG CLIMATE PLAN INCLUDES CARBON TAX: Presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegJournalism is now opinion-based — not news-based Buttiegieg backs NFL players' right to protest during anthem: I 'put my life on the line to defend' that 2020 Democrats join striking McDonald's workers MORE (D) wants to tax carbon emissions as part of his climate action agenda.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor listed pricing carbon from polluters as one of his campaign policy initiatives on his website.

Speaking to The Skimm on Thursday, he said the plan to tax carbon polluters and distribute the profits as dividends back to Americans would allow the public to "actually see more money in our pockets."

"We no longer have the luxury of debating whether to prepare for climate change, it's on us," he said.

2020 stakes: Buttigieg is the first presidential candidate to expressly list a carbon tax as a campaign initiative. While other Democrats have championed the idea of pricing carbon emissions, the concept has seen mixed acceptance in states and neighboring countries like Canada. Most Republicans also staunchly oppose it.

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Democrats push EPA to collect 4K in 'excessive' Pruitt travel expenses | Greens angered over new rules for rocket fuel chemical | Inslee to join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas Inslee hits 65,000 donor threshold for primary debate Inslee says he'll join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas MORE (D), another 2020 hopeful, championed a carbon tax in his state last fall, but the ballot initiative failed to pass. He has since said he's considering a different route, and has not included specific language about a carbon tax or fee in the two climate policy plans he released this month.
What else is in his plan?Buttigieg, who has risen to prominence in national polls, also listed investing in solar and wind technology as well as carbon capture as other areas of importance.

"Because we need to do both," he told The Skimm.

Read more here.

 

MORE VOTERS SAY CLIMATE CHANGE A CRUCIAL ISSUE IN 2020: Nearly 40 percent of registered U.S. voters say a candidate’s position on climate change is “very important” to them in deciding who they’ll vote for in 2020, according to a poll released Thursday.

In the survey of nearly 1,100 registered voters, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, 38 percent deemed climate change “very important” as a voting issue.

Of 29 issues, respondents ranked global warming 17th in order of importance, but among those who identified as liberal Democrats, it’s the third-most important issue. Among conservative Republicans, it’s the last priority when voting for president.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed also said they’d support a U.S. president declaring global warming a national emergency if Congress doesn’t take action.

So far, Democratic presidential hopefuls including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtiegieg backs NFL players' right to protest during anthem: I 'put my life on the line to defend' that Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan CNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC MORE (Texas) have deemed climate change a key part of their campaign platforms.

Read the poll here.

And read more on it here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

On Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee will vote on the nomination of Daniel Jorjani, the top lawyer for the Department of the Interior who has been under scrutiny for his connections to Secretary David Bernhardt's ethics controversies. His hearing was held alongside Mark Lee Greenblatt, the nominee to the head Interior’s Inspector General, who will also get a vote on Tuesday.

Other hearings include a House Science and Technology Committee on preparing infrastructure for climate change and a hearing on the budgets of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

House Appropriations will mark up the Department of Energy spending bill.

On Wednesday, Senate Appropriations will review the Interior budget, while House Appropriations marks up the budget for EPA and Interior.

Also in the House, the Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands will take up a whole bunch of bills.

In the Senate, the Environment and Public Works Committee will review legislation to deal with nonstick chemicals known as PFAS.

Finally, on Thursday, the House Special Committee on the Climate Crisis will discuss resiliency.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

South Carolina governor vetoes bailout for wealthy residents with seawalls, The State reports.

Oil sheen ‘barely visible’ at site of 14-year-old Gulf leak, the Associated Press reports.

California lawmakers reject $1B to protect homes from fires, the Associated Press reports.

 

ICYMI:

Stories from Friday

-Dem criticizes newest calendars for Trump Interior chief as 'fake'

-Buttigieg climate plan includes carbon tax

-Guardian updates style: Climate change now 'climate emergency, crisis or breakdown'

-Earth experiences second hottest April on record

-California threatens strict standards in response to Trump emission rollbacks

-Rising number says climate change a crucial issue in 2020: poll