Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Newsom asks Californians to cut personal water consumption to fight off drought | John Kerry to visit Moscow officials to discuss ‘global climate ambition’ | EPA bans sale of COVID-19 disinfectant authorized under Trump

TGIF!  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 Californians being asked to reduce their water use, John Kerry’s upcoming trip to Russia and the EPA reversing course on a disinfectant approved under Trump. 


WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE: Newsom asks Californians to cut personal water consumption to fight off drought

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called on residents of the state to cut their water use by 15 percent as the state expanded its drought emergency declaration to 50 of the state’s 58 counties.

The order does not make cuts to water use mandatory and instead suggests individual reductions such as one fewer day a week of outdoor watering, or less frequent use of washing machines. Newsom told reporters Thursday that the state was “encouraging people to do common-sense things,” according to The Sacramento Bee.

“The entire state is in a drought today, and to meet this urgent challenge we must all pull together and do our part to reduce water use as California continues to build a more climate-resilient water system to safeguard the future of our state,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re proud of the tremendous strides made to use water more efficiently and reduce water waste, but we can all find opportunities this summer to keep more water in reserve as this drought could stretch into next year and beyond.”

Has the state tried mandatory restrictions before?: In 2015, Newsom’s predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), initially made the same call for voluntary reductions but ultimately ordered 25 percent mandatory reductions, according to the Bee.

Newsom faces the state’s second-ever gubernatorial recall election in September, although most polling shows him heavily favored to remain in office.

Read more about the orders here


RUSSIAN FOR A SOLUTION: John Kerry to visit Moscow officials to discuss ‘global climate ambition’

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will visit Moscow to speak to officials next week about “global climate ambition.”

The trip will take place from July 12-15, the State Department said in a short announcement. It comes as the two nations are at odds over a multitude of issues.

The story so far: Russia participated in a White House climate summit in April. President Biden said at the time that he was “heartened” that Russian President Vladimir Putin called for collaborating with other countries to advance carbon dioxide removal.

“The United States looks forward to working with Russia and other countries on that endeavor,” Biden said at the time. “It has great promise.”

China and the U.S. lead the world in terms of emissions of coal and petroleum fumes, according to The Associated Press. Russia is ranked number four due to its dependence on coal burning.

Read more about the announcement here


WORD TO THE WISE: EPA bans sale of COVID-19 disinfectant authorized under Trump

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week issued an order stopping the sale of a disinfectant that the Trump administration granted emergency authorization to combat COVID-19.

The agency said in a news release Thursday that its investigators determined Allied BioScience, the maker of the disinfectant, was marketing, selling and distributing it in “ways that were inconsistent” with law, regulations and the terms and conditions of emergency authorizations.

The agency also said it was also revoking an emergency exemption for the chemical, known as SurfaceWise2, in Arkansas and Texas because of “company misconduct described above and scientific concerns regarding product performance.”

“Pesticides can cause serious harm to human health and the environment, which is why EPA requires their registration before being distributed for use,” said Larry Starfield, acting head of the agency’s law enforcement office, in a statement. “EPA is committed to holding companies accountable for not adhering to federal environmental laws.” 

SurfaceWise2 was originally approved for use in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, including on some American Airlines aircraft, at airport facilities and at orthopedic facilities.

Read more about the decision here



On Monday:

  • The House Appropriations Committee will mark up its budget bill for the Energy Department

On Wednesday:

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on the nominations of Jane Nishida, who would lead international and tribal affairs at the EPA; Jeffrey Prieto,  who would be the EPA’s top lawyer and Alejandra Castillo, who would be assistant secretary for  economic development at the Commerce Department. 
  • The EPW Committee will also hold a hearing on the nomination of  Michael Connor, who would be assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, overseeing the Army Corps of Engineers’s civil works program
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a business meeting on its energy infrastructure legislation

On Thursday:

  • The House Climate Crisis Committee will hold a hearing titled “Advancing Environmental Justice Through Climate Action”
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled “Are Toxic Chemicals From Tires And Playground Surfaces Killing Endangered Salmon?” 



ERCOT report confirms gas- and coal-fired plant outages played big role in June grid woes, The Dallas Morning News reports

Countdown to billionaire space race raises climate questions, E&E News reports

France calls for global floor on carbon pricing, Reuters reports

Updated Minnesota conservation program aims to close ‘pre-weatherization’ gap, Energy News Network reports

South Dakota  Gov. Kristi Noem defends merged ag, environment agencies at summit, The Grand Forks Herald reports


ICYMI: Stories from Friday…

Newsom asks Californians to cut personal water consumption to fight off drought

6.0 magnitude earthquake rattles California-Nevada border

John Kerry to visit Moscow officials to discuss ‘global climate ambition’

Republicans look to hammer Democrats over gas prices

EPA bans sale of COVID-19 disinfectant authorized under Trump


OFFBEAT AND (SOMEWHAT) OFF-BEAT: This will really get your goat!

Tags Gavin Newsom Joe Biden John Kerry Kristi Noem Vladimir Putin
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