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 mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Booker endorses Lipinski challenger Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (D-N.Y.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerPortland hotel chain founded by Trump ambassador says boycott is attack on employees VA under pressure to ease medical marijuana rules Coalition of farmers and ranchers endorses Green New Deal MORE (D-Ore.) in the House and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren raised more money from Big Tech employees than other 2020 Democrats: Report Krystal Ball reacts to Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Sanders: 'Class power over girl power' Saagar Enjeti praises Yang for bringing threat of automation to forefront at Ohio debate 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 TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' 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 McConnellOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes McConnell tees up government funding votes amid stalemate 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 KlobucharOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors 2020 Democrats tell LGBTQ teens they're not alone on Spirit Day 'We lost a giant': 2020 Democrats mourn the death of Elijah Cummings MORE (Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick Lobbying world MORE (N.Y.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFormer public school teacher: Strikes 'wake-up call' for Democratic Party First-generation American launches Senate campaign against Booker 2020 Democrats tell LGBTQ teens they're not alone on Spirit Day MORE (N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCampaign aide replaces Trump with Kamala Harris in viral 'meltdown' photo Warren raised more money from Big Tech employees than other 2020 Democrats: Report Poll: Biden, Warren support remains unchanged after Democratic debate MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter knocks Zuckerberg for invoking her father while defending Facebook Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors 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 LowenthalDemocrats dread Kennedy-Markey showdown in 2020 House leaves for six-week August recess House passes bill opposing BDS, exposing divide among Democrats MORE (Calif.) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamDemocratic lawmaker fires back after NRCC mocks him for getting marriage counseling Here are the House Democrats who aren't backing Trump impeachment inquiry Here are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban 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