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-CortezTrump tweet mocking Greta Thunberg sparks backlash The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasts Tucker Carlson as 'white supremacist sympathizer' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerLobbying world Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension MORE (D-Ore.) in the House and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director 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 TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day 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 McConnellSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump McConnell says he'll be in 'total coordination' with White House on impeachment trial strategy 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 KlobucharSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Booker says he will not make December debate stage Yang: 2020 rivals in Senate should be able to campaign amid impeachment MORE (Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAdvocacy groups decry Trump's 'anti-family policies' ahead of White House summit This bipartisan plan is the most progressive approach to paid parental leave Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' MORE (N.Y.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Wisconsin: poll Booker says he will not make December debate stage White House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform MORE (N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' On The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA Bill Weld: As many as six GOP senators privately support convicting Trump 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 moves ahead on long-stalled resolution supporting two states for Israelis and Palestinians This week: Impeachment inquiry moves to Judiciary Committee Pelosi calls for Congress to pass resolution supporting two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict MORE (Calif.) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment White House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Democrat says he expects to oppose articles of impeachment against Trump 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