Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations

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Today we're looking at the Biden administration's goals on land conservation, Republican plans to tie the president to gas price hikes and a measure to create a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.


30 ROCK: Biden administration conservation goals to include 'different categories' of lands, official says

The Biden administration's conservation goals will include "different categories" of lands on which varying activities may occur, the leader of the White House's environment council told The Hill. 

White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory said in a Monday interview the administration will soon put out new information on President Biden's goal of conserving 30 percent of the country's lands and waters by 2030. 

Asked if there are any types of activities, like energy development, that wouldn't be allowed on land that's considered protected, Mallory said, "you'll see when we issue this that there are different categories of lands."

"There are lands that are more working lands and what occurs on those lands may vary," she said. 

What else is the council handling?: The council also deals with how a bedrock environmental law called the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires environmental analyses ahead of projects such as pipelines, highways and drilling on public lands, is implemented. 

She also said that the administration is aiming to go "as quickly as possible" on its review of the Trump administration's changes to NEPA. 

"We feel like we need to act as quickly as possible because it's creating this confusion in the world of permitting," Mallory said, but didn't give specifics on the timeline.

Read more about Mallory's comments here.


PUMP UP THE VOLUME: GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices

As gas prices are on the rise, Republicans see a window to step up their attacks on President Biden's energy agenda.

GOP criticisms of higher costs at the pump could resonate with Americans, and congressional Republicans have repeatedly bashed the Biden administration's push toward renewable fuel sources as a war on energy.

"Every time you go fill up, you're feeling that in your pocket," said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).

What's the actual reason for the increases?: Experts say the increasing demand for gas, and subsequent rise in prices, is due in large part to an improving economy as states loosen COVID-19 restrictions. The revitalized economy may outweigh higher gas prices for many Americans - but Republicans are betting on some frustration.

As the country makes progress in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, more people are expected to be empowered to travel, take vacations and once again use their cars.

Read more about the plans here.


EV-OLUTION: Ocasio-Cortez, Levin introduce revised bill to provide nationwide electric vehicle charging network

Reps. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) introduced a revised bill Wednesday that would build out a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.

If passed, the Electric Vehicles Freedom Act would create a plan for a network of public charging stations that would allow drivers to drive anywhere in the U.S. with limited risk of the battery dying too far from a station.

While the representatives introduced a similar measure in 2020, they cited the Democratic Senate majority and the Biden administration as factors that made its success more likely in 2021.

How does the bill fit into the broader progressive agenda?: Ocasio-Cortez also called the bill part of a broader slate of Green New Deal policies that she and her colleagues have recently introduced.

"The EV Freedom Act is a piece of legislation that upholds those core Green New Deal principles ... it's part of a much larger comprehensive approach to transportation, we're making sure we're not leaving any community behind," she said in a press call with Levin on Wednesday.

Ocasio-Cortez also emphasized the need to ensure that such buildouts of infrastructure addressed existing inequalities in transportation infrastructure, saying current access to electric vehicles in particular is "built upon lines and geography of privilege."

Read more about the bill here.



  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Energy Department budget request. Secretary Jennifer Granholm is slated to appear. 
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will have a member day hearing which will feature testimony from lawmakers both on and off the committee on various issues



Pennsylvania governor takes next step to start carbon emissions caps in 2022, The Associated Press reports

Texas Legislature advances bills to shield oil and gas from climate initiatives, The Texas Tribune reports

Solar and wind's competitiveness over coal is accelerating, analysis shows, according to Energy News Network

Maine fishing interests seek total ban on offshore wind energy, The Portland Press-Herald reports


ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday (and Tuesday night)...

Ocasio-Cortez, Levin introduce revised bill to provide nationwide electric vehicle charging network

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could reduce sea level rise by 50 percent: research

Germany unveils more ambitious carbon emission reduction plan after court ruling

Biden administration conservation goals to include 'different categories' of lands, official says

Haaland: Santorum's Native American comments 'unfortunate'

GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices

Republican seeks to use Obama energy policies to criticize Biden