OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice | Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling energy bill | Trump courts Florida voters with offshore drilling moratorium

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice | Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling energy bill | Trump courts Florida voters with offshore drilling moratorium
© Bonnie Cash

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INTERSECTIONAL INJUSTICE INROADS: Democrats are introducing a new resolution outlining an economic vision they hope will fight climate change while battling racial injustice.


The THRIVE Act – short for Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy – echoes many of the principles laid out in the Green New Deal, calling for strong labor protections and access to unions, “improving upon New Deal-era institutions” and curbing global warming.

Democratic lawmakers see the legislation as a way to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The big picture:

“We are experiencing a collision of crises: the COVID pandemic, the effects of climate change, racial and economic injustices have led to the greatest health crisis we've seen in 100 years, the greatest economic crisis we've seen in 75 years, and we can’t play whack-a-mole with these crises,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) said.

“We can’t pick one alone to focus on, and that's the beauty of THRIVE. It brings it all together.”

The bill puts an added focus on racial inequality, calling for 40 percent of federal government investments to go toward communities “harmed by racist or unjust practices,” while calling for efforts to stem pollution that often overburdens many of the same spaces. 

The legislation comes as House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Republican attempts to appeal fine for bypassing metal detector outside chamber MORE (D-Calif.) said climate change would get an early focus in Democrats' 2021 agenda.


The resolution, introduced in the House by Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandBiden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Key vote for Haaland's confirmation | Update on oil and gas leasing | SEC update on climate-related risk disclosure requirements Manchin will back Haaland's confirmation MORE (D-N.M.) with 85 co-sponsors, is more a list of priorities than a pathway to action.

The other pieces of the puzzle:

It calls for curtailing pollution and removing all lead pipes, while bolstering support for public schools and housing and offering alternatives to incarceration. 

The resolution states a goal for the U.S. to move to entirely carbon-free electricity by 2035, in addition to ensuring the global temperature does not increase another 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the resolution does not offer specifics about how to reach those goals.

The resolution states that no funding dolled out as part of the vision will go to fossil fuel companies.

The sponsors estimate the legislation will spur 16 million new jobs. The resolution calls for bolstering infrastructure, health care, retrofitting homes and buildings to reduce their carbon footprint and investing in clean energy.

Read more on the resolution here and Pelosi’s plans to focus on climate change here

WE REALLY DID HFC YA LATER: Three senators have finally come to an agreement on a provision stalling a bipartisan energy bill after months of delays.

Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperTexas snowstorm wreaks havoc on state power grid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Dems rest their case; verdict on Trump this weekend No signs of demand for witnesses in Trump trial MORE (D-Del.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) agreed to compromise with Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoHaaland courts moderates during tense Senate confirmation hearing Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing MORE (R-Wyo.) on an amendment that would phase down the use of a powerful greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). 

Kennedy threatened to hold up a bill by Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Klain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (D-W.Va.) if their amendment wasn’t included in the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), which would boost research and development into renewable energy and technology to ease pollution from fossil fuels. 

At the time of its introduction in late February, Murkowksi touted the AEIA as the best chance to modernize the country’s energy policies. It contained measures that had been sponsored by more than 60 senators, though some Democrats expressed concern over its provisions relating to mining and fossil fuels. 

The squabble over HFC’s derailed the bill, and the Senate’s attention was soon drawn to coronavirus. It’s not yet clear whether Thursday’s agreement means the bill will come back to the floor.

HFCs, often used in products such as refrigerators and air conditioners, trap significantly more heat than carbon dioxide. 

The compromise amendment, like the initial provision from Carper and Kennedy aims to reduce the use of these gases over a 15-year period. It would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement an 85 percent phasedown of HFC production and consumption as  compared to the average annual levels from 2011 to 2013. 


Read more on the proposed fix here.

WHY THE ENERGY DOMINANCE PRESIDENT IS WILLING TO PAUSE DRILLING: President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE this week extended and expanded a moratorium on drilling off Florida’s coast in an attempt to court voters in a must-win battleground state.

In making the announcement that he would block drilling in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, the president sought to paint himself as an environmentalist despite repeated efforts to roll back Obama-era protections.

The move underscores the steps Trump is willing to take to improve his reelection prospects and to help Senate Republicans in tough races. In battleground states like Pennsylvania, where Trump also faces a threat from Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video MORE, he has highlighted his commitment to the oil and gas industry.

“What he’s making a play for is to recapture many of the suburbanite and college-educated voters in Florida that this is a key issue to,” said Florida-based Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

“What Trump is signaling in Florida is that ‘I understand your concerns about water quality,’ and for Floridians clean water means a healthy and prosperous economy, particularly because of tourism,” he said, adding that “in Florida, prior to COVID[-19], this was one of the biggest issues out there.”

While a ban on offshore drilling has bipartisan support in Florida, the president’s opponents nonetheless dismissed the order as a desperate political move that contrasts with his administration’s record on the environment.


“After years of rolling back clean water protections and opening up new offshore areas to drilling, Pres Trump tries to fool Floridians right before an election. His exec order could be rescinded at any time, and the oil lobbyists in his admin will ensure that happens,” tweeted Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorLawmakers wager barbecue, sweets and crab claws ahead of Super Bowl Biden recommits US to Paris climate accord OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks | Democrats eye action on range of climate bills | Biden pushing to cancel Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office: reports MORE (D-Fla.), who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

It’s not just Florida...

Trump isn’t the only one who stands to benefit from the politically popular move.

Graham, a staunch Trump ally who is attempting to fend off a formidable challenge from Democrat Jaime Harrison, took credit Tuesday for getting the order to extend as far up the coast as South Carolina.

The GOP senator said he “led an effort to ensure President Trump included South Carolina in the announcement.”

Other states, most of which are led by Democratic governors, have sought to limit offshore drilling but have not been so successful.

Ten East Coast states have sued to try to prevent offshore oil and gas drilling, but only South Carolina has received special treatment from the administration. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia have not received any similar offshore promises from Trump.


Trump’s order follows similar actions meant to benefit vulnerable Republicans. 

Read more on that here

Of course, Trump’s decision has proven unpopular in some Republican circles...

THE MONEY QUOTE: “It does undermine one of the crown accomplishments of this administration, which has been energy dominance,” Rep. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesFriends and colleagues mourn loss of Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow dies of COVID-19 House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit MORE, (R-La.) told The Washington Examiner. “You can't do withdrawals and continue to be energy dominant.”


Companies Eager to ‘Lock In’ Trump-Era Water Rule Exemptions, Bloomberg Law reports

Will Trump’s offshore oil order kill drilling off of Florida for good? The Tampa Bay Times asks

Humans are decimating wildlife, and the pandemic is a sign, The Washington Post reports

Exclusive: As Energy Secretary, Rick PerryRick PerryOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Five things to know about Texas's strained electric grid | Biden honeymoon with green groups faces tests | Electric vehicles are poised to aid Biden in climate fight Five things to know about Texas's strained electric grid Rick Perry: 'Texans would be without electricity for longer' to 'keep the federal government out' MORE Mixed Money and Politics in Ukraine. The Deals Could Be Worth Billions, TIME reports

ICYMI: Stories from Thursday…

Raging wildfires close California's 18 national forests

Trump courts Florida voters with moratorium on offshore drilling

Top EPA lawyer to step down

Mid-Atlantic states sue EPA over Chesapeake Bay pollution

Pelosi: Climate change will be 'early part' of Democrats' 2021 agenda

Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling bipartisan energy bill

Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice

Explosive Western blazes portend long fire season ahead

Delaware sues major oil companies over climate change

Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling bipartisan energy bill