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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by $14B | White House budget proposes $1.4B for environmental justice

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by $14B | White House budget proposes $1.4B for environmental justice
© Greg Nash

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Today the Biden administration declined to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline and unveiled its budget proposal, including an additional $14 billion on climate spending and $1.4 billion for environmental justice.

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RETAINING ACCESS: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown

The Dakota Access pipeline will remain in operation while the federal government reviews its environmental impact, a lawyer for the federal government indicated Friday.

Ben Schifman said the Biden administration is requiring the pipeline to abide by conditions that were set in a now-vacated permit that allowed for its construction but “has not taken any additional action.”

However, Schifman left the door open for potential changes in the future, saying it’s a matter of “continuing discretion.”

Surprise! Judge James Boasberg reacted with surprise that the administration did not take a firmer stance after asking for additional time.

“I would’ve thought there would have been a decision one way or the other at this point,” he said.

What comes next? Boasberg said he’ll now have to evaluate a request from tribes to shut the pipeline down. Meanwhile, Dakota Access lawyer David Debold said he’s going to ask a larger panel of judges to weigh in on Boasberg’s prior decision that the pipeline had not undergone sufficient environmental review. 

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Opponents weren’t pleased: “What we heard today is a decision to let the pipeline continue to operate,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. 

“In the absence of a valid permit, the pipeline is going to keep operating, exposing the tribe and its members to the risk of disaster while the Army Corps studies what those risks are and what a spil would mean,” Hasselman added. “It’s not right.”

Read more about the decision here.

GREEN MONEY: Biden hopes to boost climate spending by $14 billion

President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE is asking the federal government to spend an additional $14 billion on tackling climate change in his budget request for fiscal 2022. 

The White House budget proposal unveiled Friday includes funding increases at the Energy Department, Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of 10.2 percent, 16 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively, compared to what Congress appropriated for fiscal 2021. 

The request is in stark contrast to President Trump’s budget requests for the departments, which last year proposed a 26 percent cut to the EPA and an elimination of 50 of the agency’s programs.

What’s next? As the federal budget is set by Congress, presidential budget requests largely signify an administration’s policy priorities and goals. They could also give an indication as to what the president’s congressional allies could push for. 

“Responding to the climate crisis depends on helping communities transition to a cleaner future. But instead of investing in climate science and technology at the Environmental Protection Agency, we’ve cut funding by 27 percent since 2010, adjusted for inflation,” acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Read more about the proposal here.

REGAN REVOLUTION: Biden budget proposes $1.4 billion for environmental justice

The White House’s discretionary budget request released Friday includes more than $1.4 billion for environmental justice initiatives, which the Biden administration has called a major priority.

The budget proposal includes $936 million for the creation of an Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The initiative would include $100 million to create a community air quality monitoring and notification program to update data in areas with air pollution problems.

"The FY 2022 discretionary request for EPA makes historic investments to tackle the climate crisis and to make sure that all communities, regardless of their zip code, have clean air, clean water, and safe places to live and work," EPA Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganOvernight Energy: EPA takes major step to battle climate change Carper asks EPA to require half of new cars to be zero-emissions by 2030 EPA proposes major rule to reduce certain greenhouse gases MORE said in a statement Friday. "Today's announcement recognizes that science is at the core of all that we do at the EPA and says loud and clear that the EPA is back and ready to work."

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An eye toward water infrastructure: The proposal also includes more than $3.5 billion toward improving water infrastructure. Citing crises such as the contamination of drinking water in Flint, Mich., the Biden administration has also called for the replacement of all lead pipes nationwide in its $2 trillion infrastructure package.

The White House has also emphasized the job creation potential in its pitches for aggressive climate policy, and the budget request emphasizes its potential to alleviate rural poverty.

Read more about the proposal here.

PERSONNEL NEWS: Biden to nominate DOE intergovernmental official

President Biden on Friday said he's set to nominate Ali Nouri as the Energy Department's assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs. Nouri was previously serving as the principal deputy assistant secretary in the department's congressional and intergovernmental affairs office. 

Nouri has also worked at the Federation of American Scientists, which works on national security issues including reducing the spread of nuclear weapons; as an advisor in the Senate and advised then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

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On Tuesday:

The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States will hold a hearing on H.R. 1884, the “Save Oak Flat Act.”

On Wednesday:

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a business meeting to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize programs under them

On Thursday:

The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on the role of the Department of Energy and energy innovation in American economic competitiveness

The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the cost of inaction on climate change

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The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on increasing risks of climate change and NOAA's role in providing climate services

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will hold a hearing on the CLEAN Future Act and environmental justice

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on practical steps toward a carbon-free maritime industry

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a hearing on “Making the Case for Climate Action”

WHAT WE’RE READING:

COVID-19 surge complicates busy maintenance season for Canada's oil sands, Reuters reports

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Cornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel MORE (R-Texas) and Rep. Eddie Bernice JohnsonEddie Bernice JohnsonWhy does Rep. Johnson oppose NASA's commercial human landing system? OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice Congressional proclamation prioritizes a critical societal issue: Lack of women of color in tech MORE (D-Texas) team up on bipartisan bill to weatherize Texas energy grid, The Dallas Morning News reports

New York energy chief to feds: No wind farms off Hamptons, Newsday reports

Kerry says Biden wants a carbon price 'at some point', E&E News reports 

ICYMI: Stories from Friday…

Haaland return sets up Biden decision on Utah national monuments shrunk by Trump

Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown

Interior bolsters offshore wind by revoking Trump-era legal opinion

Biden budget proposes $1.4 billion for environmental justice

Biden hopes to boost climate spending by $14 billion

Way to goat: Good for him