Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans put procedural delay on Haaland’s nomination | Interior Department announces next steps in review of oil and gas lease moratorium | Judge approves $1.5B Daimler settlement in diesel emissions probe

Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland
UPI Photo

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HOLD UP: Two GOP senators have put holds on Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to be Interior Secretary, putting up a procedural hurdle that will delay the New Mexico Democrat’s final confirmation vote.

Republican Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) said they will force debate on Haaland’s nomination, which would last for 30 hours.

Despite the delay: Haaland is still expected to be confirmed since she’ll need just a simple majority to eventually get to the floor.

A statement from Daines’s office said the senator thinks it’s important to have a floor debate on Haaland’s record.

“I will be forcing debate on Rep. Haaland’s nomination to Interior,” Daines said in a statement.“Her views will hurt the Montana way of life and kill Montana jobs. We must consider the impact she will have on the West.”

Lummis, in a statement, cited President Biden’s energy policies in her statement, adding that Haaland “will be a champion of this and even more radical policies.”

Haaland stressed during her Senate confirmation hearing that she’ll be implementing Biden’s agenda, not her own, and said fossil fuels will still play a role in the country’s energy mix.

Read more about the procedural move here. 

But, with one step back comes a small step forward: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) filed cloture on Haaland’s nomination on Tuesday, continuing the process toward her eventual confirmation vote. 


IN THE INTERIM: The Interior Department announced Tuesday that it will publish an “interim report” on its review of oil and gas leases on public lands this summer after President Biden froze new leases in January.

The report will be based in part on feedback the department receives at a virtual forum on March 25. Participants in the forum will include industry figures, labor organizations, environmental and natural resource groups.

“The federal oil and gas program is not serving the American public well. It’s time to take a close look at how to best manage our nation’s natural resources with current and future generations in mind,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis said in a statement. 

“This forum will help inform the Department’s near-term actions to restore balance on America’s lands and waters and to put our public lands’ energy programs on a more sound and sustainable conservation, fiscal and climate footing,” she added.

Read more about Interior’s next steps here.


ALL SETTLED: A federal judge on Tuesday approved a $1.5 billion settlement for the German automaker Daimler and its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz over alleged cheating on emissions tests. 

Daimler will make the payment following what the EPA said in September was cheating involving about 250,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016. 

They said: At the time, the company rejected the accusations, saying in a statement that it “denies the authorities’ allegations as well as the class action plaintiffs’ claims and does not admit any liability.”

The settlement, approved by D.C. federal judge Emmet Sullivan, included $875 million in civil penalties as well as the cost of recalling the vehicles and funding for mitigation projects in California, which was also a plaintiff in the case.

Read more about the settlement here.


TAKING SIDES: The Biden administration is siding with a pipeline company in a dispute over whether it can seize land from the state of New Jersey in order to complete construction. 

In a brief filed Monday in support of PennEast’s position, the Justice Department argued that states aren’t exempt from a law allowing permit-holders from taking necessary property for infrastructure projects that were approved by federal regulators.

Next steps: The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last month after a lower court ruled against the use of eminent domain to acquire land for the PennEast gas pipeline. 

Read more about its decision here. 



Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm discussed the importance of changes to the transportation sector in President Biden’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and pledged to put “billions of dollars” into electric vehicles.  

“The transportation sector is the largest source of those emissions so we need to jam on the accelerator here. DOE is going to invest billions of dollars over the next few years in the technologies that are going to make that EV future a reality,” she said during an event by the organization Securing America’s Future Energy. 



  • The Senate is expected to vote on whether to limit debate on the nomination of Michael Regan to be the EPA administrator.
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will have a hearing on “climate change in the electricity sector and fostering economic growth”
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will have a hearing called “The path forward: Restoring the vital mission of EPA.” Former administrators Christine Todd Whitman and Carol Browner are slated to appear.
  • The House Appropriations Committee will have a hearing on “Innovation and Investment in Water Resources Infrastructure”
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will have a hearing on “Why Rail is More Relevant Than Ever for Economic and Environmental Progress”



Illinois bill would ban celebratory balloon releases, Capitol News Illinois reports

Just Energy Group seeks bankruptcy protection after Texas loss, The Houston Chronicle reports

Republicans’ new favorite study trashes Biden’s climate plans – but who’s behind it? The Guardian reports

Florida state legislators advance bills to preempt local clean energy regulations, The Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times report


ICYMI:Stories from Tuesday…

Kerry calls for ‘decade of action’ on climate change

Rutgers to divest from fossil fuel industry

Interior Department announces virtual forum to review oil and gas lease moratorium

Judge approves $1.5B Daimler settlement in diesel emissions probe

Tags Biden nominees car emissions Chuck Schumer Cynthia Lummis Daimler Deb Haaland Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden Michael Regan oil and gas leasing Steve Daines

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