OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act | Key Republican signals support for boosting EV infrastructure | Energy Department targets 60 percent reduction in solar costs by 2030
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Today we’re looking at a Democratic move that could eliminate a Trump-era climate rollback, our interview with Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito, and the Energy Department’s goal of vastly reducing solar energy costs.
IT’S ABOUT TO GET CRA-ZY: Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act
The Senate will take up a resolution to roll back a Trump-era rule that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate methane.
The Hill first reported Wednesday that the lawmakers had drafted the legislation to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to nix any regulations finalized in the previous 60 legislative days, against the methane rule.
The legislation, spearheaded by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Angus King (I-Maine), targets an August rule finalized by the Trump administration that critics described as a gift to the oil and gas industry, eliminating existing requirements on oil and gas companies to install technology to monitor methane emissions from pipelines, wells and facilities.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday that the Senate would take the bill up after returning from April recess.
So why did they make the rule? The EPA argued last year that the standards it rescinded were redundant, overlapping substantially with other regulations regarding volatile organic compounds.
But enviros didn’t like it: But the rule was especially alarming to environmentalists given that methane is significantly more harmful to the planet than carbon dioxide. Some studies indicate that the climate change-linked gas is 80 times more adept at trapping heat in the atmosphere in the first 20 years than carbon dioxide is.
Read more about the resolution here.
DRIVING OUR COVERAGE: Key Republican signals support for boosting EV infrastructure
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), a key Republican on infrastructure issues, is expressing willingness to work with Democrats on electric vehicle infrastructure, but also disagreed with the size and scope of the current infrastructure package expected to be proposed by the White House.
In an interview with The Hill on Thursday, Capito, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, mentioned working on electric vehicle charging stations as an area Republicans can support.
“As we see GM and others pledge to be all electric by a certain date, we need to have the infrastructure in place,” Capito said.
She said, however, that the Republican approach might be more incremental than Democrats’ and would focus on market incentives.
“There’s always a tendency, I think, on the other side to just have the federal government take the whole over and I don’t think that’s going to be necessary because I think market forces are going to drive the development of this,” she said.
Capito added that she would support “not just full-out providing, but some kind of tax incentives or some kind of credits.”
And what did she think of the White House’s forthcoming $3 trillion infrastructure proposal? She said that upon hearing the price tag of the White House proposal she had “sticker shock” and thought that package seemed overly broad, based on reporting on it.
“How do you get to $3 trillion on what I consider traditional infrastructure?” Capito said. “It includes rebuilding our schools, rebuilding housing. I mean, these are not traditional infrastructure reauthorizations as we have done them in the past.”
Read more from our discussion with Capito here.
HERE COMES THE SUN: Energy Department targets 60 percent reduction in solar costs by 2030
The Energy Department aims to cut solar energy costs by 60 percent by 2030, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced Thursday afternoon.
In addition to the target, Granholm announced a further $128 million in funding aimed at cutting the cost of deploying solar energy and hastening development. The announcement includes concentrating solar-thermal power projects, which capture heat from sunlight and use the energy to power engines or turbines.
A sunny view: “In many parts of the country, solar is already cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, and with more innovation we can cut the cost again by more than half within the decade,” Granholm said in a statement. “This first burst of funding will help us add even more affordable clean energy to the grid, jobs to communities across the country, and will put us on the fast track toward President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.”
Read more about the move here.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Top oil lobbying group calls for carbon pricing
The American Petroleum Institute (API) announced Thursday that it will support carbon pricing, a major shift for one of the nation’s foremost energy lobbying groups.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers made the announcement in a press call Thursday, saying that the lobbying group was not endorsing a specific plan, but rather “what we’re advocating here is a market-based approach and that could encompass many different ways to do this.”
“It could encompass an economy-wide … carbon tax or it could include a market price on emissions” like a cap-and-trade system, he added.
Oil lobby getting pushback from…Republicans? Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, seemingly took aim at the proposal Thursday afternoon.
“Proposals that impose a cost on carbon will hurt American families,” Barrasso said in a statement that did not mention API by name. “This will lead to higher electricity bills and gas prices for American consumers. Spiking Americans’ energy costs while our economy recovers from a global pandemic is a disastrous idea.”
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Scientists Support an Idea Long Thought Outlandish: Reflecting the Sun’s Rays, The New York Times reports
Plan to expand Texas highway stalled over environmental racism concerns, The Guardian reports
Seventy-three percent of Americans are concerned about the availability and affordability of energy, Gallup finds
Green groups blast plastic makers’ recycling push, Politico reports
New Mexico adopts rules to curb emissions from oil industry, KRQE reports
ICYMI: Stories from Thursday (and Wednesday night)…
Activists step up pressure on Minnesota pipeline
EPA withdraws expansion permit for Virgin Islands oil refinery
Key Republican signals support for augmenting electric vehicle infrastructure
Toomey presses SEC for answers on climate, ESG agenda
Tennessee officials investigating shooting death of bald eagle
Top oil lobbying group calls for carbon pricing
Energy Department targets 60 percent reduction in solar costs by 2030
Ted Lieu raises alarm over biodiversity and climate change
Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand electric vehicle charging tax credit
Botswana opens elephant hunting rights in attempt to boost industry
Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act
EPA to review interference in science during the Trump administration
Bald eagle population has quadrupled in last decade
Haaland defends leasing pause during Interior forum
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