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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior says it isn't immediately reinstating coal leasing moratorium despite revoking Trump order | Haaland seeks to bolster environmental law targeted by Trump | Debate heats up over role of carbon offsets in Biden's 'net-zero' goal

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior says it isn't immediately reinstating coal leasing moratorium despite revoking Trump order | Haaland seeks to bolster environmental law targeted by Trump | Debate heats up over role of carbon offsets in Biden's 'net-zero' goal
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IT’S FINALLY FRIDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news.

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.

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Today we’re looking at the Biden administration’s decision not to immediately reinstate coal leasing on federal lands, Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandHaaland makes endorsement in race for her old House seat Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Interior secretary approves new Cherokee constitution providing citizenship rights for freedmen MORE’s efforts to strengthen environmental laws targeted under the Trump administration, and a debate over the role of carbon offsets.

 

COAL SHOULDER: Interior says it isn't immediately reinstating coal leasing moratorium despite revoking Trump order

The Interior Department says a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands is not being immediately reinstated even though Secretary Deb Haaland has revoked a Trump administration move that reversed it. 

The Trump-era order, which terminated the Obama administration’s moratorium on new coal leasing, was one of a dozen such Trump-era moves that Haaland rescinded Friday. 

A department spokesperson, however, denied that the move reinstates the Obama era leasing ban, saying the announcement doesn’t immediately take action on coal development, and that the agency is continuing to review a path forward.

Why the delay?: Sharon Buccino, the senior director of the land division at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s nature program, said the Obama pause has not been reinstated because of the specific language of the 2016 order that says it is effective until “its provisions are amended, superseded, or revoked.”

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She argued that when the policy was revoked under then-President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE, it died. 

“It was in fact revoked by Trump, so that basically terminates what Obama did,” Buccino said.

Read more about the decision here:

 

BACK TO NEPA-LAND: Haaland seeks to bolster environmental law targeted by Trump

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday issued an order aimed at bolstering implementation of a key environmental law, seeking to work around rollbacks from the former Trump administration.

Haaland's order states that Interior bureaus and offices should not apply 2020 changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) “in a manner that would change the application or level of NEPA that would have been applied to a proposed action before the 2020 Rule went into effect.”

The secretarial order states that in instances where the department’s regulations “irreconcilably conflict” with the Trump-era changes, the issue should be brought to both the relevant assistant secretary within the department and to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality.

What does the law mean?: NEPA requires environmental analyses ahead of projects such as pipelines, highways and drilling or other major actions on public lands.

The Trump administration sought to weaken the law by reducing the required time for reviews from about 4 1/2 years to two years and removing requirements to consider effects on climate change.

It also complicated the process for communities to weigh in and allowed for more industry involvement in the process.

Read more about Haaland’s order here

 

SET IT OFF: Debate heats up over role of carbon offsets in Biden's 'net-zero' goal

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Environmentalists are debating how carbon offsets should fit into President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE's goal of putting the country on track to reach “net-zero" emissions by 2050.

The administration soon will offer its first clues on how it plans to achieve that goal with the release of an updated U.S. plan for meeting Paris agreement commitments. The report, known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), will spell out the country’s new interim emissions targets.

Proponents of using carbon offsets argue that they’re necessary for reaching net-zero targets and that anything that ultimately removes carbon from the air is a good thing. Opponents counter that offsets essentially punt emissions reductions down the road, and they point to evidence showing the approach is not always effective.

Next steps on emissions: The administration is slated to announce its new NDC ahead of a climate summit with world leaders on Earth Day. Biden is expected to set a goal that goes beyond former President Obama’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent before 2025 when compared to 2005 levels.   

Environmentalists who support offsets say that they would like to see an NDC that’s focused on emissions reductions, but that the Biden administration could include offsets in addition.

Read more about the debate here

 

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ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

On Tuesday:

  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Interior Department’s budget request for next year. Secretary Deb Haaland is slated to appear.
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the global fight against climate change. Patricia Espinosa, the leader of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will appear. 
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on offshore wind. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Amanda Lefton is slated to appear.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Generating equity: Deploying a just and clean energy future"

On Wednesday:

On Thursday: 

  • Day 1 of the White House Climate Summit
  • The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges that exist for advancing and deploying carbon and carbon-dioxide utilization technologies in the United States.
  • The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing to examine 21st century communities, focusing on capitalizing on opportunities in the clean energy economy.

On Friday:

  • Day 2 of the White House Climate Summit

 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

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Science could aid climate cases. Big Oil is fighting it, E&E News reports

Biden to pledge climate aid for developing nations next week, Bloomberg reports

Danish energy giant Orsted is pivoting to onshore wind in new $684 million deal, CNBC reports

Maryland environmental groups plan to sue Eastern Shore factory that’s set to receive millions in taxpayer funds, The Baltimore Sun reports

 

ICYMI: Stories from Friday…

Interior says it isn't immediately reinstating coal leasing moratorium despite revoking Trump order

White House adviser: Climate summit will 'show the world that we're back'

Haaland seeks to bolster environmental law targeted by Trump

Researchers see links between renewable energy and improved health

Debate heats up over role of carbon offsets in Biden's 'net-zero' goal

 

SOMETHING OFFBEAT AND OFF BEAT:  I moove for no man