Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard |  White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill

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Today we're looking at  a re-introduced bill aiming to tackle PFAS contamination, the White House saying a gas tax won't be part of their infrastructure plan, and Climate Envoy John Kerry's upcoming travel to China. 

But first...

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2 PFAS 2 PFURIOUS: Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) have reintroduced legislation targeting so-called forever chemicals that previously passed the House, expressing optimism that the Democratic Senate is more likely to pass the measure.

The legislation would establish a national drinking water standard for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up sites contaminated by such substances under its Superfund program.

It would also provide annual funds of $200 million toward wastewater treatment and water utility assistance.

So, what's new??? In a virtual press conference Tuesday, Dingell confirmed that the reintroduced bill is "identical" to the earlier version but said it would stand a better chance of becoming law in a Democratic Senate.

Read more about the bill here.


GAS WHO? White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill

The White House said Tuesday that raising the federal gasoline tax is not being considered as part of President Biden's infrastructure package.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that a gas tax increase is not being discussed when asked about reports that Biden was considering a hike to pay for his $2.25 trillion package.

Instead: The president has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to pay for the package.

"I think that was a little bit of a garble, unintentional, but in yesterday's meeting with members of Congress the president mentioned the gas tax only to make a point that even a significant increase in the gas tax, which some people have proposed would pay for only a fraction of the investment the country needs," Psaki said.

Psaki added that Biden believes raising the gas tax would be burdensome to Americans.

"Now, fundamentally, he does not believe that paying for this historic investment in rebuilding our nation's infrastructure and creating millions of jobs should be on the backs of Americans," she said.

Read more about her remarks here. 


WHERE IN THE WORLD IS KERRY? Kerry to visit China ahead of White House climate summit

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will become the first Biden administration official to visit China as the U.S. attempts to enlist the world's top greenhouse gas emitter in efforts to reduce international emissions.

In a statement Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson said Kerry will visit Shanghai and Seoul from April 14 to April 17 and discuss "raising global climate ambition" with South Korean and Chinese leaders.

Key timing: The trip will come days before an April 22 White House climate summit, where President Biden is set to announce the new emissions target under the Paris climate agreement. Biden reentered the pact after former President Trump withdrew the U.S. from it.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are among the 40 world leaders who have been invited to Washington for the meeting.

The announcement of Kerry's meeting comes as he has emphasized the necessity of cooperation from Beijing for nations to meet emissions reduction targets. Last week, during a diplomatic trip to India, Kerry told reporters he was "hopeful [but] not confident at this point" about Chinese cooperation.

Read more about the trip here.


ON THE INTERIOR: Biden reportedly picks deputy Interior secretary

President Biden will nominate Tommy Beaudreau to be second-in-command at the Interior Department, E&E News reported Tuesday. 

Sources told the news outlet that he could be nominated as soon as Wednesday. 

Beaudreau worked at the department for six years under the Obama administration, including serving as the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, as well as acting assistant secretary for land and minerals management and chief of staff. 


AMERICA FIRST, COMING UP NEXT: Former Energy Secretary (and former Texas Governor, presidential candidate, etc.) Rick Perry is among the Trump administration alumni who are part of a new group called the America First Policy Institute. Perry will head the group's Center for Energy Independence.

Read more about the group here.



  • The Senate is expected to vote on whether to confirm Brenda Mallory to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality



Analysis: 8 counties got half of 2020 flood claims, E&E News reports

U.S. energy secretary says state incentives could boost clean energy standard, Reuters reports

Environmental groups sue over contentious California cannabis grow, the Times-Standard reports


ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday...

Tensions emerge between green groups and Biden over Dakota Access Pipeline

Florida wastewater reservoir to close after leak, DeSantis says

Appeals court backs drilling protections reinstated by Biden

Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard

White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill

Kerry to visit China ahead of White House climate summit

Companies, European leaders call on US to halve emissions by 2030

Nearly 400 state and local officials call for ban on new fracking permits

Japan plans to dump treated water from Fukushima disaster into the ocean


And lastly: The world's biggest rabbit was stolen! Truly hare-raising stuff.