Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland to say fossil fuels will ‘play a major role,’ but climate must be addressed |  Biden administration supports court’s restrictions for biofuel exemptions | Republican senators take aim at Paris agreement with new legislation

HAPPY MONDAY! 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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PUTTING HAALAND TO THE TEST…IMONY: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Biden’s nominee to lead the Interior Department, is expected to testify at her confirmation hearing Tuesday that fossil fuels will continue to “play a major role” in the U.S. but that the country must work harder to address climate change. 

“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services,” an advance copy of Haaland’s prepared statement to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee says. 

“But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed,” Haaland plans to add. “Together we can work to position our nation and all of its people for success in the future, and I am committed to working cooperatively with all stakeholders, and all of Congress, to strike the right balance going forward. “

Her planned testimony says that this balance will include “harnessing the clean energy potential of  our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities.”

She also plans to acknowledge that her nomination is historic, as she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary, and she’ll be leading a department that has significant responsibilities to the country’s 574 federally recognized tribes.

“The historic nature of my confirmation is not lost on me, but I will say that it is not about me,” she wrote. “Rather, I hope this nomination would be an inspiration for Americans — moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us.”

Read more about what she’s expected to say tomorrow here. 

THINKING THE COURT’S DECISION IS (RE)FINE:The Biden administration announced on Monday that it supports limits set by a court last year on when small oil refineries can get exemptions from a requirement to blend a certain amount of biofuels such as ethanol into their product.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement that it supports an interpretation issued by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. 

In that ruling, a three-judge panel decided that the agency had been giving out too many waivers, saying they should be for refineries that continually received them and that were facing disproportionate economic troubles caused by the requirements.

“EPA supports that court’s interpretation of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) small-refinery provisions,” the agency said in a statement. 

Read more about the statement here. 

WANTING TO SAY AU REVOIR: Republicans are taking aim at the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, introducing long-shot legislation on Monday aiming to undercut it.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is introducing a resolution expressing the sentiment that the agreement qualifies as a treaty and should be sent to the Senate for approval. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is unveiling a bill aimed at cutting off funding for the administration’s move to rejoin the multinational deal. 

The Republicans’ legislation is unlikely to be taken up in the Senate, as Democrats hold control of the chamber.

Read more about their legislation here. 

NOMINEE TRACKER: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is teeing up a blitz of confirmation floor votes on President Biden’s nominees this week.

Under a deal stuck earlier this month, the Senate is expected to hold a vote to confirm Vilsack, who held the same position during the Obama administration, on Tuesday.

Schumer is also teeing up a vote on former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) to lead the Department of Energy.

Read more about the upcoming votes here. 

LIFE IN THE PFAS LANE: The EPA is moving forward with developing drinking water regulations for two types of PFAS chemicals called PFOA and PFOS, it said Monday. 

The agency is reissuing the action, which was previously announced on the last day of the Trump administration “without substantive change,” an EPA spokesperson said in an email to The Hill. 


  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to consider Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior secretary
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on “The Urgent Need for Investment in America’s Wastewater Infrastructure”
  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “Climate Change and Social Responsibility: Helping Corporate Boards and Investors Make Decisions for a Sustainable World”


Texas crisis a wake-up call for the power grid, The Washington Examiner reports

Arctic drilling plan in Alaska hits roadblock, Reuters reports

Abbott appointees made ‘astonishing’ cuts to power reliability team before deadly Texas storm, The Houston Chronicle reports

Seagrass Is A Vital Weapon Against Climate Change, But We’re Killing It, HuffPost reports

ICYMI:Stories from Monday and over the weekend

Biden administrations supports court’s restrictions for biofuel exemptions

Haaland: Fossil fuels will ‘play a major role,’ but climate must be addressed

Republican senators take aim at Paris agreement with new legislation

Judge rejects Biden request for delay in Trump environmental rollback case

Refineries released tons of pollution into air during Texas winter storm

Bill Gates: Weatherized energy plants could’ve prevented deaths in Texas winter freeze

Biden announces disaster declaration for Texas amid severe weather

Texas households face massive electricity bills, some as high as $17K, after winter storm

Schumer sets up confirmation blitz in Senate


Biden’s infrastructure plan needs input from cities and regions, writes Henry Cisneros, secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration


Tags Charles Schumer Deb Haaland Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden Marsha Blackburn Steve Daines
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