Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Progressives fear infrastructure’s climate plans won’t survive Senate | EPA to propose vehicle emissions standards by July’s end | Poll shows growing partisan divide on climate change

U.S. Capitol
Greg Nash

HAPPY TUESDAY!!! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news.

Today we’re looking at progressive hopes that environmental aspects of Biden’s infrastructure proposal remain intact, what EPA administrator Michael Regan has to say about impending vehicle emissions standards and partisan divides on recognizing humans’ role in climate change. 

Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE

WILL PROGRESSIVE POLICIES PROGRESS? Progressives fear infrastructure’s climate plans won’t survive Senate

The White House infrastructure package released last week contains a number of environmental agenda items high on progressive wish lists, but some advocates are concerned those same items could be sacrificed to ensure passage in the 50-50 Senate.

What’s in the package: President Biden’s $2.25 trillion proposal would create a Civilian Climate Corps, boost spending on sustainability and clean energy and push for universal clean water by replacing all lead pipes in the U.S.

“On the whole, this proposal is a victory for our movement, and a real result of the power we’ve built over the past few years,” Ellen Sciales, press secretary for the Sunrise Movement, told The Hill.

But environmentalists are worried that what they see now might look different as legislation moves through Congress, particularly with a razor-thin majority for Democrats in the Senate. There’s also no guarantee that moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) will support all of the climate change provisions.

What’s the latest? A recent ruling by the Senate parliamentarian gives Democrats the option of advancing the infrastructure package through what’s known as the budget reconciliation process, which would let them avoid a GOP filibuster so long as they can keep all members of their caucus together.

“That is the fear; we don’t have much control over this aspect. And with reconciliation, a lot of policy gets dropped because of the arcane budget rules,” Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Hill.

Read more about their concerns here and click here for a recap on the proposal’s environmental provisions.


SOME PEOPLE HAVE HIGH STANDARDS: EPA to propose vehicle emissions standards that meet ‘the urgency of the climate crisis’ by July’s end

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to propose stricter emissions standards for vehicles by the end of July, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Tuesday. 

Regan told Bloomberg News in an interview that the new standards would be sufficient to meet “the urgency of the climate crisis.”

An EPA spokesperson told The Hill that the timeline was dictated by an executive order from President Biden that requires the administration to review the former Trump administration’s rule that relaxed the emissions limits by July. 

Yes, and: That rule also loosened the requirement for fuel economy standards, which dictate how much gasoline per mile that the U.S. fleet can consume, that the Biden administration could also tighten. 

The executive order also requires a review this month of the decision to revoke California’s ability to set its own tailpipe emissions standards, which have been stricter than the federal government’s standards and adopted by a number of other states. 

Future possibilities? According to the news outlet, Regan also did not rule out the possibility for additional regulations in the future that would essentially ban new conventional gas-powered cars. 

“We’re marrying our regulatory policy and what we have the statutory authority to do with where the science directs us and where the markets and technology are,” the administrator said. 

Read more about what he had to say here. 


SURVEY SAYS: There’s a partisan divide on acknowledging human effect on climate change

A new survey shows a strong partisan divide on whether Americans are willing to acknowledge the impacts that humans have on climate change.

The Gallup poll, published Monday, found that 88 percent of Democrats believe that increases in the planet’s temperature are primarily caused by human activities, while just 32 percent of Republicans said the same. 

Overall, 64 percent of U.S. adults acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activities are causing climate change. 

The numbers have been trending in opposing directions: In 2003, just 68 percent of Democrats — but 52 percent of Republicans — believed in human-caused climate change.

Read more about what the survey found on climate change attitudes here.


PRIVYET: Putin reportedly to go to Biden climate summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to attend President Biden’s virtual climate summit this month despite tensions between the two leaders. 

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing two anonymous officials with knowledge, that a speech for Putin is in the works, but that a final decision hasn’t been made on whether he’ll attend. 

Cannot confirm or deny: White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say whether the White House had heard from the Kremlin about the summit. 

“I expect as we get closer we’ll have confirmation on who will be participating in the summit,” she told reporters during a press briefing on Tuesday. 

OK, but what’s the tea? The report comes amid tensions between Russia and the Biden administration, particularly after the U.S. president called Putin a “killer” in a recent interview. 

Read more about the reported plans here.


QUOTE OF NOTE: Republicans in the West hope Land Management Bureau stays in Colo.

Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Vice Chair Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) met with local stakeholders Tuesday and released statements urging the Biden administration to keep the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo.

“By bringing our decision-makers closer to the lands they manage, we can ensure that the voices of local communities are being heard. We heard directly from Coloradans today about the positive impacts this move has had, and it is clear that keeping this Headquarters in the West is the right decision,” Newhouse said in a statement. 

The Trump administration moved the HQ from Washington D.C., and its opponents argued that it would weaken the agency by causing it to lose employees who did not want to relocate. 



Docs show more EPA turmoil after Jan. 6, E&E News reports

Federal OSHA regulators begin inspection of Tampa lead factory, the Tampa Bay Times reports

Florida’s Crisis Highlights a Nationwide Risk From Toxic Ponds, The New York Times reports

How a protest in a North Carolina farming town sparked a national movement, The Washington Post reports


ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday…

Poll shows partisan divide on acknowledging human effect on climate change

Third-driest year reported in California

Yellen: ‘We lost four important years’ in fight against climate change

Starbucks to stop using disposable cups in South Korea by 2025

Putin plans to go to Biden climate summit: report

EPA to propose vehicle emissions standards to meet ‘the urgency of the climate crisis’ by July’s end

Wisconsin governor declares state of emergency over wildfires

Kerry says India ‘getting job done’ on climate

Groups petition EPA to remove ethane and methane from list of compounds exempt from emissions limits

Progressives fear infrastructure’s climate plans won’t survive Senate

Tags Dan Newhouse Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Lauren Boebert Michael Regan Vladimir Putin

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