OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate headed for late night vote amid standoff over lands bill | Trump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects | EPA faces lawsuit alleging failure to update flaring requirements

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate headed for late night vote amid standoff over lands bill | Trump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects | EPA faces lawsuit alleging failure to update flaring requirements
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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Senators are barreling toward a late-night vote amid a standoff over whether to allow amendments to a lands bill.

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Republicans, leaving a closed-door caucus lunch, said that they expect they will need to return to the Capitol at 1 a.m. Friday for a procedural vote on the bill.

"I'm told it's 1 a.m," said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (R-Mo.). "We would have to have consent, and we don't have that. I think that's primarily over the amendment process."  

Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Republican rift opens up over qualified immunity for police MORE (R-S.D.) said that the next vote on the lands bill is "going to be 1 o'clock from the way it sounds." 

Rounds added that some senators want votes on amendments to the bill and "this is their way of sending a message." He added that it didn't sound like there would be a deal to avert the middle-of-the-night vote. 

The bill, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, would give $900 million annually to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses oil and gas revenue to fund conservation programs like securing land for national parks. The legislation would separately address a maintenance backlog at national parks.

Read more on the debate here.

A NEW NUCLEUS FOR NUCLEAR: The Trump administration is taking the first steps toward allowing international development funds to be spent on nuclear projects, working to lift a longtime prohibition on how the anti-poverty funds can be spent. 

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The Wednesday proposal from the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) would make it perhaps the only government development agency in the world to use its funds to back nuclear projects. 

The DFC argues that nuclear power will provide carbon-free electricity for developing nations seeing a growing demand for power.

“The proposed change could help deliver a zero-emission, reliable, and secure power source to developing countries, promoting economic growth and affordable energy access in underserved communities," it says.

"This change could also offer an alternative to the financing of authoritarian regimes while advancing U.S. nonproliferation safeguards and supporting U.S. nuclear competitiveness,” the DFC wrote of its proposal, which now enters a 30-day comment period.  

But critics see an effort to boost the U.S. nuclear industry that risks diverting funds from needy nations to wealthier ones with better infrastructure.

The proposal from the DFC is a speedy turnaround after a Trump administration report that recommended reversing the longstanding policy in the name of national security.

The U.S. has a “gaping vulnerability” in energy dominance strategy, according to the April Department of Energy report, and investment is needed to counter Russian and Chinese dominance in supplying nuclear technology around the globe. 

Many of the world’s poorest countries may be decades away from being ready to install nuclear power, however, leaving questions over who DFC’s foray into nuclear will benefit and how the U.S. will ensure the technology isn’t used in ways that risk national security interests.

The DFC was started in 2019, replacing its predecessor — the Overseas Private Investment Corporation — with double the funding and fewer restrictions on how to spend it.

The $60 billion agency also has an expanded mission: elevating the world’s poorest countries while also advancing U.S. foreign policy.

Connor Savoy, executive director of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, said there’s “some countervailing pressure and a desire for it to do more things with this national security mandate over development and poverty alleviation.” 

Countering nuclear programs from China and Russia, which often require nations to purchase nuclear fuel from them for upwards of 30 years, could limit their influence over other countries’ power sources.

But wealthier Eastern European nations such as Poland, which have repeatedly expressed an interest in nuclear, could be likely candidates to receive initial funding for nuclear projects. 

“That would obviously likely lead to reduction in dependency on fossil fuels and other things that generate greenhouse gasses. But I'm not sure you're at a point there in a lower income country like Mali or even a large country like the DRC,” Savoy said, referring to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both countries are in the lower income bracket that the DFC was designed to help.

Others say it makes sense to make initial investments in the countries that are most ready, advancing the industry while poorer nations prepare their infrastructure.

“I think the initial concerns are misplaced and potential upsides are tremendous, and we want the development community to see the benefits for emerging and frontier markets, especially for countries that are going to need a lot more low-carbon energy in future,” most of which are in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, said Todd Moss, executive director of Energy for Growth Hub.

Read more on the Trump administration’s nuclear plans here

PIECES OF FLARE: A coalition of environmental groups is taking legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the agency’s alleged failure to update requirements for an industrial process for burning pollutants. 

The groups alleged in a notice of intent to sue that the EPA has not updated its requirements for the process, called flaring, since 1986 despite a requirement to do so every eight years. 

Flaring is a process used in industries such as the oil and gas industry as well as the petrochemical industry in which companies attempt to burn waste gases, including some that can harm health and the environment. 

“The problem is that the current standards for flares are very outdated, they’re 34 years old at this point and they don’t look at certain things that are really necessary to make sure flares are operating properly,” Adam Kron, a lawyer on the case, told The Hill, adding that he would like to see improved monitoring requirements. 

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Read more on the suit here.   

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Big Money bought the forests. Small logging communities are paying the price, ProPublica, The Oregonian and OPB report

Grieving and frustrated: Black scientists call out racism in the wake of police killings, Nature reports

New Mexico issues penalties for dumping of drilling water, The Associated Press reports

ICYMI: From Thursday…

Senator suggests law enforcement used 'excessive force' in Lafayette Square incident