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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord 

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord 
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IT’S WEDNESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.

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KEY RACES: While the results of the presidential race remain unclear, several races have been decided that have been rooted in, and have major implications for energy and environment issues 

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In the Senate: While it’s also not totally clear which party will control the Senate yet, this chamber had several notable environment races. For one, the results for the Republican sponsors of the Great American Outdoors Act, a major conservation bill, were mixed. Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesRick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (R-Mont.) managed to fend off a challenge from Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord  GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race Senate control in flux as counting goes forward in key states MORE (D). Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerHillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure MORE (R-Colo.) didn’t fare quite as well, losing his seat to ex-Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDemocrats frustrated, GOP jubilant in Senate fight Chamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord  MORE (D). Also notable was a victory for Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE (R-Iowa), a vocal advocate for biofuels whose races was considered a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report. 

In the House: Democrats are poised to retain the House, albeit by a smaller margin as they lost several swing-district seats to Republicans .

Wins for the GOP: 

Wins for the Dems:

Around the states:

  • Republican Jim Wright beat out Democrat Chrysta Castañeda for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas in the state.

More of The Hill’s full coverage of the presidential contest here, the Senate races here and the House here

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UNITED STATES, PARTY OF ONE: The U.S. has officially left the Paris climate accord.

The withdrawal, set in motion by a letter from President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE exactly one year ago, caps a long-promised move from the president and leaves the U.S. as the only country in the world to withdraw from the landmark climate agreement.

Trump campaigned on leaving the accord and announced that he was doing so far before the parameters of the agreement allowed.

“The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production,” Trump said at a speech in the Rose Garden in June 2017.

The move was celebrated by many in Republican circles, even as Democrats and environmentalists lament the implications the U.S. exit will have for the climate and the American economy.

“The decision to exit the Paris Agreement leaves the United States globally isolated in its defiance of scientific realities, and causes real harm to people, the planet and the economy. However, the nearly 200 other nations of the world will continue moving full steam ahead toward realizing the goals of the agreement,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a statement.

“The United States is the second largest emitter of carbon emissions from fossil fuels annually and the largest source of cumulative emissions to date," it continued. "It’s well past time for our nation to pivot away from being part of the problem and toward contributing to a leading share of the solutions.”

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, however, said the deal “would have disadvantaged the U.S. economy and compromised American competitiveness.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE has pledged to rejoin the Paris agreement on Day 1 in office if elected, a move that would leave the U.S. out of the deal for a little more than three months.

“I will bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change. And I will challenge everyone to up the ante on their climate commitments,” Biden said in a September speech on climate change as wildfires ravaged California.

Biden has already laid out some goals in his own climate plan. The electricity sector would go to net-zero emissions by 2035 — a timeline ahead of many of the efforts already underway in climate-conscious states.

More broadly, he said he is committed to net-zero emissions by 2050, a plan that would require mostly transitioning away from fossil fuels while promoting carbon capture technology that could store excess pollution.

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Read more about the exit here.

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Plastic bags banned in N.J. as governor signs new law, NJ.com reports

Columbus voters approve green-energy aggregation plan, The Columbus Dispatch reports

Denver voters approve taxes for homeless, environment, The Denver Post reports

ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday… 

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