Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution

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 . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE

Today we’re looking at the Biden administration’s reported 2030 emissions target, the return of the Green New Deal resolution and an inspector general report that raised concerns about the rulemaking process behind a fuel economy and vehicle emissions rollback. 


EMISSION POSSIBLE? Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030

The Biden administration is expected to commit to cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030, two people briefed on the matter told The Washington Post.

A White House spokesperson declined The Hill’s request for comment. A White House official told the Post that a final decision hadn’t been made.

Biden is slated to announce his emissions reduction target for 2030 on Thursday, updating the country’s commitment under the Paris Agreement.

Every several years, countries update their interim targets under the global climate agreement, which aims to limit the planet’s warming to less than 2 degrees celsius over pre-industrial levels.

Read more about the reported cuts here and read our deeper dive into the updated targets here.


DEAL ME IN: Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday reintroduced a resolution in support of a Green New Deal. 

The resolution, which would be an expression of congressional sentiment rather than a law, says that it’s the government’s duty to create a Green New Deal that can be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization. 

OK but how? It calls for meeting the country’s power demand through zero-emission energy sources and “overhauling” transportation to remove pollution through investing in zero-emission vehicles, public transit and high-speed rail. 

The politics: The Green New Deal resolution, first introduced in 2019, has become a political lightning rod, as the idea has been embraced by progressives, but fiercely rejected by Republicans who have sought to paint it as extreme.

The lawmakers said Tuesday that they hope to go beyond what Biden has proposed on climate.

Yes, and: Markey said during Tuesday’s press conference that he and Ocasio-Cortez are also introducing a Civilian Climate Corps bill to put people to work and help the environment. 

Read more about the resolution here.


NHT SO FAST: EPA staff warned of factual, legal issues in Trump vehicle climate rollback, watchdog says 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff warned of factual and legal issues in a Trump administration joint vehicle climate rollback issued with a Department of Transportation agency, an internal government watchdog said.

A report from the office of the EPA’s inspector general raised the concerns about the interagency collaboration between the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a new report issued on Tuesday. 

The report said that EPA technical staff told leadership that they hadn’t seen about 650 pages of the 1,000-page rule before it was sent to the White House for review because of a “lack of interagency collaboration at the technical level.”

The rule, which was primarily put together by NHTSA, had “numerous errors and inaccuracies” when it was submitted for interagency review, the inspector general said, citing comments by the EPA. 

The report said that then-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who was tapped to lead the agency by former President Trump, ultimately signed the rulemaking “with many comments unaddressed by NHTSA.”

It also said that in 2019, technical staff “reported that the continued failure to correct errors could leave the rule legally vulnerable.”

Read more about what the watchdog had to say here.


BILL WATCH: Lawmakers introduce several environmental measures

So far this week, lawmakers have introduced a number of energy and environment related bills (Happy Earth Week y’all. It’s already exhausting.) Here are some that are on our radar:

  • Today, Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) reintroduced legislation to help farmers and foresters interested in participate in carbon markets
  • Yesterday, Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) reintroduced a new version of his “Trillion Trees” bill, which seeks to increase tree planting and conservation
  • Today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) reintroduced a bill aiming to make industry pay for Superfund cleanup 
  • Today, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) reintroduced legislation aiming to create and sustain jobs in forest and watershed restoration



  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the EPA’s budget request for next year. Administrator Michael Regan is slated to appear. 
  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled “Working towards climate equity: the case for a federal climate service



La. race an energy fight between Dems in ‘Cancer Alley,’ E&E News reports

China’s Solar Dominance Presents Biden With an Ugly Dilemma, The New York Times reports

Audubon CEO resigns after complaints of toxic workplace, Politico reports

U.S. House panel advances bill allowing anti-trust suits against OPEC, Reuters reports

Fossil fuel interests say they’re allies of communities of color. The NAACP disagree, Grist reports


ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday (and Monday night)…

EPA staff warned of factual, legal issues in Trump vehicle climate rollback, watchdog says

IEA predicts 5 percent rise in global CO2 emissions from energy this year

Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution

Exxon pitches $100B carbon storage project

Three people charged in Fiat Chrysler emissions scandal

Biden administration kicks off 100-day plan to shore up cybersecurity of electric grid

Biden to set major climate change goal this week

Power companies back regulations that cut electric emissions 80 percent 

GAO raises concerns about government inspections of offshore pipelines

Biden to commit to halving US emissions by 2030: report


SOMETHING OFFBEAT AND (KIND OF) OFF BEAT:  A company is purposefully selling a bad-tasting beer to make a point about climate change.  So you’re telling us beer can actually get worse???

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Andrew Wheeler Bruce Westerman Debbie Stabenow Donald Trump Earl Blumenauer Ed Markey Jason Crow Lindsey Graham Michael Bennet Michael Regan Mike Braun Mike Simpson Sheldon Whitehouse
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