Overnight Energy: Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders push to declare climate emergency | Lawmakers seek probe into aging pipelines | 23 governors back California in fight over Trump emissions rollback

Overnight Energy: Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders push to declare climate emergency | Lawmakers seek probe into aging pipelines | 23 governors back California in fight over Trump emissions rollback
© Greg Nash

PUSH FOR CLIMATE EMERGENCY: Progressive lawmakers are pushing a resolution to declare a climate emergency in the U.S., demanding "a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address" climate change.

Sponsored by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for Kavanaugh to be impeached Why are we turning a blind eye to right-wing incitement of violence? Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Overnight Energy: Democrats call for Ross to resign over report he threatened NOAA officials | Commerce denies report | Documents detail plan to decentralize BLM | Lawmakers demand answers on bee-killing pesticide Oregon Democrats push EPA to justify use of pesticide 'highly toxic' to bees MORE (D-Ore.) in the House and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersChamber of Commerce argues against Democratic proposals for financial transaction taxes Top Sanders adviser: 'He is a little bit angry' Working Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 MORE (I-Vt.) in the Senate, the resolution calls climate change the result of human activity that requires "a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States."

"This is a political crisis of inaction. It's going to take political will, political courage in order for us to treat this issue with the urgency that the next generation needs," Ocasio-Cortez said on a call with reporters to discuss the resolution.

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A jab at Trump: Blumenauer said he got the idea from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE after he declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year in order to transfer funds to build a border wall.

The climate resolution, which is expected to be introduced in the House later Tuesday, would not open up disaster funds for battling climate change, but Democrats said they planned to use the measure to call for swift action from Congress.

"It's past time," Blumenauer said. "Congress needs to understand this is an emergency and act like it."

Ocasio-Cortez stressed a 12-year time frame for taking action on climate change, something she said is not a deadline for Congress to pass legislation but for a plan to take effect and actually start limiting carbon pollution.

Slim prospects: Even if such a resolution did pass the Democratic-led House, it would be unlikely to be considered in the GOP-led Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NY Times story sparks new firestorm over Kavanaugh Senator asked FBI to follow up on new information about Kavanaugh last year Congress must reinstate assault weapons ban MORE (R-Ky.) said in May that a bill to recommit the U.S. to the Obama-era Paris climate accord would "go nowhere" in the Senate after it passed the lower chamber.

The 2020 angle: Still, the resolution could have implications for the 2020 White House race.

Margaret Klein Salamon, founder of The Climate Mobilization, one of the groups that helped develop the resolution, said the group plans to ask all presidential candidates to commit to declaring a national emergency for climate change. Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFive top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Abrams helps launch initiative to train women activists, organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAt debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions Klobuchar, Buttigieg find themselves accidentally flying to debate together MORE (N.Y.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWorking Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum MORE (N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisChamber of Commerce argues against Democratic proposals for financial transaction taxes Warren proposes new restrictions, taxes on lobbying Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NY Times story sparks new firestorm over Kavanaugh Working Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 Warren proposes new restrictions, taxes on lobbying MORE (Mass.) are also co-sponsors of the resolution.

Sanders, one of the highest-polling Democratic presidential candidates who has yet to release a climate plan, said he will release a climate policy and stressed the need to transition away from fossil fuels and engage other countries in a global plan to combat climate change. 

"No plan will be implemented unless we have the courage to take on the greed and dishonesty of the fossil fuel industry. They lie every single day. They try to obfuscate what they are doing in terms of carbon emissions and what that means for the planet," Sanders said.

Read more about the resolution here

 

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DEMS PIPE UP: Three Democratic lawmakers are raising concerns about the state of coastal U.S. oil and gas pipelines.

Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalHouse leaves for six-week August recess House passes bill opposing BDS, exposing divide among Democrats Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (Calif.) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamOvernight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House approves two bills to block Trump drilling Bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing passes House MORE (S.C.) on Tuesday asked the Government Accountability Office to examine the Department of Interior's ability to "ensure the integrity of older oil and gas pipeline infrastructure in federal offshore waters, and the increasing risk of leaks caused but hurricanes, corrosion, accidental damage, or other factors."

The pipelines of specific concern run under the Gulf of Mexico, California coast and the Arctic.

In their letter, the lawmakers specifically asked the government watchdog to look into the known condition of the pipelines and any environmental risks associated with them, as well as for details about the level of responsibility that Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has for pipeline safety.

The request comes as the Trump administration continues to consider options of opening up more oil and gas drilling off the coast.

"The administration is interested in opening more of the Gulf and the Atlantic/Pacific to new drilling. Offshore pipeline decommissioning hasn't been looked at in a long time, and this is part of our continuing oversight responsibility," said a spokesperson for the House Natural Resources Committee. Grijalva is the chair of the committee.

"This is just the nuts-and-bolts work of protecting taxpayers and the environment," the spokesperson said. "We have no reason to think BSEE is failing its mission, but it's clear this issue hasn't been reviewed in years and given the administration's proclivities, we're overdue for a checkup."

The lawmakers are seeking details about the level of monetary responsibility the pipeline owners would be responsible for if leaks or environmental damage were to occur and, subsequently, what financial responsibility taxpayers might be liable for in case of damage to the pipelines.

Read more about Dems' concerns here.

 

GOVS BACK CALI IN TRUMP FIGHT: A total of 23 U.S. governors have said they will back California's leaders over their fight against the Trump administration's plan to loosen vehicle emissions standards.

The governors, almost all of whom are Democrats, said they support the idea of a national vehicle emissions standard, an idea that is currently threatened under the most recent Trump administration emissions proposal.

"[We] stand together in calling for one strong, national clean car standard and support preserving state authority to protect our residents from vehicle pollution," the governors wrote in a joint agreement.

The group, which they say represents 52 percent of the U.S. population and 57 percent of the economy, is also arguing in favor of a stringent pollution standard for cars.

"Strong vehicle standards protect our communities from unnecessary air pollution and fuel costs, and they address the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States," they wrote.

The promise by the governors follows a Trump administration attempt to halt more stringent standards put forth during the Obama administration.

The administration has argued that standards will increase automobile costs and keep older vehicles on the roads for more time.

Who's on board: The pledge was signed by the governors of Puerto Rico, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

In the House, the Natural Resources' Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands will hold a hearing on a number of bills. The Committee on Science, Space and Technology will mark up bills for research and development of  solar, wind, and fossil fuel energy.

In the Senate, the Environment and Public Works Committee will discuss transportation infrastructure.  

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

-Paris declares 'climate emergency', France 24 reports

-Toxic algae bloom closes 25 beaches on Mississippi's coast, NPR reports

-Heatwave shows Germany needs more action on climate, Merkel says, Bloomberg reports

 

ICYMI:

Stories from Tuesday...

-Petition to stop McDonald's, Burger King offering plastic toys nears 500,000 signatures

-Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders lead push to declare climate emergency

-Lawmakers ask for investigation into aging offshore pipelines

-France introduces 'eco-tax' on airline tickets

-Indonesia returning waste to US, other wealthy nations

-23 governors backing California in fight against Trump car emissions rollback