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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins | EPA asks court to nix Trump rule limiting GHG regs | Green group asks regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying 

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins | EPA asks court to nix Trump rule limiting GHG regs | Green group asks regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying 
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WANTED: POLICIES THAT BENEFIT TRIBES - Advocates hope Haaland confirmation comes with wins for Native Americans 

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Indigenous groups are excited about the historic nature of Deb HaalandDeb HaalandWe can't let sand mining threaten storm-buffering, natural infrastructure Haaland: Santorum's Native American comments 'unfortunate' Haaland: Government 'ready to solve' crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans MORE’s confirmation as Interior secretary. They are also hopeful she will advocate for and enact policies that help Native communities.

Advocates are hoping that Haaland, a former lawmaker from New Mexico who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, will help prioritize tribal involvement in decisions around environmental issues and land use, as well as help bring critical broadband internet access to tribes.

Tribal consultations: Shannon O’Loughlin, chief executive and attorney at the Association on American Indian Affairs, said she hopes the Biden administration’s Interior Department will take a different approach to tribal consultations than its predecessor, which she said did not do an adequate job of listening to tribal leaders.

“The last four years we have suffered from an Interior Department that had no idea how to consult with tribes,” she said, adding that she hopes Haaland will “collaborate and consult in a way that’s not just a procedural process, but will listen effectively and substantively to tribes about whatever issues are on the table.”

A faster land-swap process: There are a lot of tribes that are seeking to restore lost lands and get more lands placed into trust that are their homelands,” said Wendy Helgemo, a senior legislative attorney at Big Fire Law and Policy Group, which focuses on tribal law.

Helgemo added that many hope the federal government will “approve those activities more quickly.”

Broadband: “There’s a lot of rurality to this nation still and we don’t have connections and how that’s impacted health care, kids, governance, name it,” said Traci Morris, the executive director of Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute. “She’ll be able to work with colleagues at [the Department of Agriculture] who implement all the broadband grants ... and she knows the folks at the [Federal Communications Commission] working on this, so … I’m hopeful for partnerships that create lasting impact.”

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Read more about what Native advocates hope to see here

 

Meanwhile...Haaland’s got some travel coming up:

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will visit two national monuments in Utah that shrunk under the former Trump administration in April.

Her visit comes before the expected release of an Interior report on the national monuments.

In an executive order signed on his first day in office, President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Argentina launches 'Green Mondays' campaign to cut greenhouse gases On The Money: Federal judge vacates CDC's eviction moratorium | Biden says he's open to compromise on corporate tax rate | Treasury unsure of how long it can stave off default without debt limit hike MORE called for a review of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments. 

During the Trump administration, former President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE reduced the size of the monuments by some 2 million acres.

Biden's executive order called for the submission of the secretary’s report within 60 days, or March 21. However, the Interior Department announced Wednesday that the secretary would release her report in April, after her visit.

Read more about the upcoming Utah trip here.

 

COURTING A REVERSAL: EPA asks court to nix Trump rule that could prevent emissions limits on polluting industries

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday asked a court to throw out a Trump administration rule that could prevent setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries. 

Grounds for the request: The agency said in a court filing that under the previous administration, the rule “failed to provide any public notice or opportunity for comment on the central elements of the Significant Contribution Rule, rendering it unlawful.”

It also said that it did not undertake significant analyses that are relevant to the rule’s “underlying legal and factual questions.”

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The rule, finalized just before President Trump left office, only allows greenhouse gas limits on power plants, exempting industries such as oil and gas production and iron and steel manufacturing. 

Read more about the rule and EPA court filing here.

 

LOB SHOT: Green group asks energy regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying

In a petition Wednesday, the Center for Biological Diversity called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take action against what it says are electric utilities’ use of customer money to bankroll anti-environmental lobbying organizations.

The environmental group argues in its petition that customers unknowingly subsidize lobbying activity with their bill payments, specifically citing the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) funding of the Republican Attorneys General Association, as well as the American Gas Association’s history of lobbying state legislators against phasing out fossil fuels, citing laws passed in 2020 in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Under current accounting practices, utilities are able to recover the costs spent on this lobbying directly from customers, the center claims in the FERC petition.

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The groups cited pushed back: In a statement to The Hill, Adam Benshoff, EEI’s vice president for regulatory affairs, said "this filing is not legally or factually accurate."

"The lobbying portion of EEI’s dues already is not recoverable and is calculated using the Internal Revenue Code’s definition of ‘lobbying and political activities,’” Benshoff said. "By law, EEI notifies its member companies of the portion of their dues that is used for activity that falls within this definition, and they do not seek any cost recovery of these amounts."

In a statement to The Hill, an American Gas Association spokesperson said: “AGA is focused on supporting our members' ability to deliver natural gas safely 24/7/365 and with the highest level of environmental stewardship.”

Read more about the Center’s petition here.

 

CAPTURE THIS MOMENT: Bipartisan lawmakers back carbon capture with new legislation 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is throwing its support behind a still-developing type of technology that seeks to capture carbon that’s released during activities such as burning fossil fuels to prevent it from going into the atmosphere. 

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Sens. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Biden sales pitch heads to Virginia and Louisiana Republicans hammer Biden on infrastructure while administration defends plan Sunday shows - Biden economic agenda dominates MORE (R-La.) and Reps. Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyNew signs of progress emerge on police reform OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins | EPA asks court to nix Trump rule limiting GHG regs | Green group asks regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying  Bipartisan lawmakers back carbon capture with new legislation  MORE (D-Texas) and David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyThe Memo: Hunter Biden and the politics of addiction OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins | EPA asks court to nix Trump rule limiting GHG regs | Green group asks regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying  Lawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack MORE (R-W.Va.) introduced a bill on Wednesday that seeks to help fund the deployment of transport systems that collect the captured carbon and bring it to storage sites. 

The legislation would also help provide funding for the storage and use of captured carbon. 

Read more about the bill here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on research needs for a secure and resilient grid
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the CLEAN Future Act
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing called “Restoring Abandoned Mine Lands, Local Economies, and the Environment”
  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on addressing ocean plastic pollution through recycling
  • The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on protecting the financial system from climate risks

 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

Some on Wall Street Profited off Texas Blackouts. In a Private Call, a Top Regulator Pledged He Would Try to Protect Their Windfall, Texas Monthly reports

Biden’s Solar Dreams Collide With Scorn for China ‘Genocide,’ Bloomberg reports

Unionizing showdown bedevils Audubon, E&E News reports

 

ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday...

Lawmakers ask Biden to revoke permit for major plastics plant over pollution concerns

Ohio lobbyist named in bribery probe found dead in Florida

Haaland to travel to Utah to visit monuments shrunk under Trump

Bipartisan lawmakers back carbon capture with new legislation 

Environmental group asks energy regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying

Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins

Texas officials say $29 million in electric bills to be forgiven

EPA asks court to toss Trump rule that could prevent emissions limits on polluting industries