OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate advances nomination of Biden EPA pick Regan | Study: Fossil fuel air pollution linked to 1 in 5 deaths worldwide | Biden gets more time to decide on Dakota Access Pipeline

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate advances nomination of Biden EPA pick Regan | Study: Fossil fuel air pollution linked to 1 in 5 deaths worldwide | Biden gets more time to decide on Dakota Access Pipeline
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HEADING TO THE FLOOR: Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee voted on Tuesday to advance the nomination of Michael ReganMichael ReganOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice Biden budget proposes .4 billion for environmental justice Overnight Energy: EPA pledges new focus on environmental justice | Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers | Biden administration asks court to toss kids' climate lawsuit MORE to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 


The committee voted 14-6 to move Regan's nomination to the full Senate. 

Regan was formerly North Carolina’s top environmental regulator. If he’s confirmed to lead the EPA, he’ll be tasked with implementing a number of Biden’s campaign pledges, including helping the U.S. reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

While Regan had bipartisan support on the committee, the nominee also garnered opposition from some Republicans who took issue with the Biden administration’s policy agenda.

“It is unclear whether Secretary Regan, if confirmed, would …. have the authority to stop the regulatory march towards the Green New Deal,” said Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate America's infrastructure: You get what you pay for MORE (R-W.Va.), the committee’s ranking member. 

She added that it is “unclear” whether Regan would “set out on a different policy course” than Obama-era officials who have joined or have been appointed to join the Biden administration. 

However, all of the committee’s Democrats, as well as Republicans Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (S.C.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Senate Republican targets infrastructure package's effect on small business job creators MORE (Miss.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerBiden administration faces big decision on whether to wade into Dakota Access fight OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum MORE (N.D.), and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanCongress must address the toxic exposure our veterans have endured GOP lawmakers ask Biden administration for guidance on reopening cruise industry Alaska's other GOP senator says he'll back Murkowski for reelection MORE (Alaska) voted to support his nomination. 

“I believe that Michael Regan is someone who can help unite us in common purpose,” said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Appeals court agrees to pause lawsuit over Trump-era emissions rule Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan MORE (D-Del.), the committee’s chairman.


“That’s what he did in North Carolina and as an honest and thoughtful public servant, he brought people together to find solutions to some of the Tarheel State’s most pressing environmental challenges,” Carper added.

Read more on the vote here

THE DANGERS OF SOOT: Fine particulate matter air pollutants were tied to more than 8 million deaths in 2018, or about 20 percent of deaths worldwide, according to research Harvard University released Tuesday.

The study, conducted in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and University College London, found regions with the highest level of air pollution produced by fossil fuels also have the highest mortality rates. These include Eastern North America, Southeast Asia and Europe, according to the study, published in Environmental Research.

Existing research has relied on satellite and surface data, which does not make a distinction between fine particulate matter from fuel emissions and naturally occurring sources such as wildfires or dust, according to the researchers.

However, the research published Tuesday incorporated a global 3D atmospheric chemistry model that was less reliant on averages and enabled more precise estimates of emission sources.

The results indicated a much higher level of air pollution-related mortality than earlier studies. The most recent Global Burden of Disease Study indicated a much lower number of 4.2 million deaths from outdoor airborne particulate matter, a figure that includes natural sources.

Read more on the study here

ANOTHER BITE AT THE DAPL? The Biden administration will get more time to decide the fate of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

In a filing late Monday, the government asked a court to postpone a conference on the status of the pipeline for 58 days while it gets new officials up to speed on the case. 

“Department of Justice personnel require time to brief the new administration officials and those officials will need sufficient time to learn the background of and familiarize themselves with this lengthy and detailed litigation,” the government said. 

The docket shows the Feb. 10 conference for that case has been moved to April 9.

The government’s motion was initially opposed by Dakota Access LLC, but was not opposed by the tribes who sued over the pipeline. 

Last month, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that the government should have conducted an environmental impact statement before going forward with the pipeline and vacated easements granted for its construction to cross federally owned land.


However, it did not go as far as a lower court, which had previously ordered the pipeline shut down, leaving that decision up to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 

The court also left room for additional litigation to potentially shut down the pipeline if the USACE decides against it.

Read more on the case here

AND SPEAKING OF RETHINKING PIPELINES: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Biden is thinking about building that wall — and that's a good thing Buttigieg on exaggerated infrastructure jobs estimate: 'I should have been more precise' MORE (D-W.Va.) is urging President BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE to reverse course on the Keystone XL pipeline, for which the president revoked a key permit on his first day in office. 

In a new letter to the president sent Tuesday, Manchin argued that pipelines are the “safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”

“I encourage you to reconsider your decision to revoke the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and take into account the potential impacts of any further action to safety, jobs, and energy security,” he added. 

Republicans have also pushed back on the move to revoke the pipeline’s border crossing permit, but in recent days, Biden has also heard criticism from allies. 


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently said that he wished the president hadn’t canceled the permit on his first day in office and instead paired it with an announcement about job creation. 

Read more on the letter here


A Surprise in Africa: Air Pollution Falls as Economies Rise, The New York Times reports

Southeast Side activists go on hunger strike to stop scrap shredder, The Chicago Tribune reports

Kerry bets on setting aside confrontation with China to combat climate change, The Washington Examiner reports

Inside the Haaland-Grijalva partnership, E&E reports


ICYMI:Stories from Tuesday…

Study: Climate change exacerbating pollen season

Biden gets more time to decide on Dakota Access Pipeline

Senate advances nomination of Biden EPA pick Regan

Study: Fossil fuel air pollution linked to 1 in 5 deaths worldwide

Manchin urges Biden to reverse on Keystone pipeline

Key House Democrat urges 'economywide' approach to climate change