OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic

OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic
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HAPPY THURSDAY! 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 at @BudrykZack

Today we’re looking at the EPA’s reconstituted Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, confirmations of Interior and NOAA officials and a report on the pandemic’s impacts on the Bureau of Land Management.

AFTER THE CASAC SACKINGS (CASACKINGS?):  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees 

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new members of a clean air advisory group after taking the unusual step of dismissing the panel’s prior members, who were appointed under the Trump administration. 

In a statement, the agency announced the seven members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which provides independent advice on technical aspects of air quality standards. 

Guess who’s back, back again. Two of the members are Trump appointees who returned to the committee after being dismissed by Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganBiden to return to pre-Obama water protections in first step for clean water regulations Overnight Energy: Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas review | Biden admin reportedly aims for 40 percent of drivers using EVs by 2030 |  Lack of DOD action may have caused 'preventable' PFAS risks Nearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards MORE earlier this year. 

James Boylan works in air protection at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Mark Frampton is a professor emeritus in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Some backstory: Other Trump administration committee picks came under scrutiny for industry ties.

Read more about the reconstituted panel here

 

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FIRMLY CONFIRMED: Senate confirms Interior No. 2, NOAA administrator

Like a pencil, he’s No. 2: The Senate confirmed President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE’s pick for the No. 2 role at the Interior Department on Thursday with broad bipartisan support, but opposition from one progressive and a handful of Republicans.

Senators voted 88-9 to confirm Tommy Beaudreau as deputy Interior Secretary, with eight Republicans and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAngst grips America's most liberal city Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Democrats say they have the votes to advance .5T budget measure MORE (I-Vt.) opposing the nomination.

The progressive didn’t want the nomination to progress...Sanders's office told The Hill that the senator voted against Beaudreau because of his ties to oil companies.

Beaudreau has come under criticism from progressive groups for working with companies like French oil giant Total. 

President Biden nominated Beaudreau after pulling back his previous nominee, Elizabeth Klein, amid reported opposition from Senate moderates.

I NOAA guy: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday got a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time since 2017.

The Senate approved Richard Spinrad’s nomination to lead the oceans and weather agency by a voice vote, signaling that his nomination was noncontroversial. 

In addition to leading NOAA, Spinrad will also serve as the Commerce Department’s undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere. 

Read more about Beaudreau’s confirmation here and Spinrad’s confirmation here.

 

MANAGING IT: Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic

Keeping the majority of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites open during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 resulted in “harmful consequences” including vandalism and damages to restrooms, according to a report issued this week by an Interior Department watchdog.

Faced with the Trump administration’s insistence that most BLM sites remain open, state and field offices said officials at the bureau's headquarters were slow to provide full guidance, and that public messaging about the coronavirus pandemic was also frequently delayed.

“For instance, one State office employee noted that guidance from BLM headquarters or the U.S. Department of the Interior was usually received after State-developed guidance was available,” the report stated. “This employee also commented that the State office created its own guidance instead of waiting for direction from BLM headquarters or the Department.”

Read more about the report here. 

 

QUOTE OF NOTE: Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham, Cuellar press Biden to name border czar Trump takes two punches from GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whithouse (D-R.I.) team up to warn about foreign fossil fuels 

"Corruption, autocracy, and terrorism are a persistent threat to nations that stand on the rule of law, and America has long been the exemplar of the rule-of-law nation," they wrote in a piece published in TIME. "A world in which oil and gas money has less power is a world that will likely have less corruption, autocracy, and terror. That world will be a safer world for America."

Read more about what they had to say here.

 

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WHAT WE’RE READING:

Pebble: Appeals Court revives case challenging EPA’s removal of watershed protection, Alaska Public Media reports

Three Hurricanes. A Deep Freeze. A Biblical Flood: Lake Charles Is America’s Climate Future, BuzzFeed News reports

NASA says Earth is now trapping an ‘unprecedented’ amount of heat, The Washington Post reports

States' feud delivers Supreme Court's first groundwater test, E&E News reports

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Pelosi says she would not be open to gas tax expansion, Reuters reports

 

ICYMI: Stories from Thursday (and Wednesday night)…

Graham, Whitehouse: Global transition to renewables would help national security

NOAA gets first Senate-confirmed administrator since 2017

EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees

Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic

Gucci unveils animal-free leather alternative

Environmental groups urge congressional leaders to leave climate provisions in infrastructure package

Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior

Family of woman decapitated by gate in Utah sues Park Service, claiming negligence

337K affected by power outage in Puerto Rico

'Dangerous' and 'record-breaking' heat wave affects 50 million Americans

 

OFF BEAT AND OFF-BEAT: I wood like to see it.