Overnight Energy: Democrats reach budget deal including climate priorities | Europe planning to cut emissions 55 percent by 2030 | Army Corps nominee pledges not to politicize DAPL environmental review

Overnight Energy: Democrats reach budget deal including climate priorities | Europe planning to cut emissions 55 percent by 2030 | Army Corps nominee pledges not to politicize DAPL environmental review
© Greg Nash

IT IS WEDNESDAY, MY DUDES. Welcome to THUNDERSTRUCTURE: Everything you need to know about the day's climate energy developments.

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Today we’re looking at a flurry of infrastructure action, Europe’s ambitious plan for carbon emissions and another hearing for President BidenJoe BidenUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Biden to tap law professor who wants to 'end banking as we know it' as OCC chief: reports MORE’s nominee for assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. 



Democrats reach deal on $3.5T price tag for infrastructure bill

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid MORE (D-N.Y.) and Budget Committee Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Manchin: Biden told moderates to pitch price tag for reconciliation bill Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions MORE (I-Vt.), have reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion price tag for a Democratic-only infrastructure package.

Schumer, emerging from an hours-long meeting with Budget Committee Democrats, said they had reached a deal on the budget resolution — which greenlights reconciliation, the process Democrats will use to bypass a GOP filibuster on the infrastructure bill — including a $3.5 trillion top-line figure. President Biden is going to meet with Senate Democrats on Wednesday as they work to lock down support for the deal.

"The budget committee has come to an agreement. The budget resolution with instructions will be $3.5 trillion," Schumer said, speaking to reporters with Sanders and other members of the panel. "Every major program that President Biden has asked us for is funded in a robust way."

The deal will also include funding for expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing and addressing climate change — key asks from progressives, including Sanders. A Democratic aide familiar with the deal said that the budget resolution will also include language prohibiting taxes from being raised on individuals who make less than $400,000 or small businesses.

Read more here



Reconciliation package to include several climate priorities left out of bipartisan framework

The $3.5 trillion budget proposal being put together by Senate Democrats will include a raft of climate priorities, including a clean electricity standard, clean energy and vehicle tax credits and a civilian climate corps, according to a senior Democratic aide. 

The aide said that overall, the proposed budget resolution for fiscal 2022 will meet the goals of reaching 80 percent clean electricity and cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030. 

Other policies that will be included in the $3.5 trillion proposal include weatherization and electrification of buildings, polluter import fees and the creation of a clean energy accelerator. 

It’s also expected to fund climate smart agriculture, wildfire prevention and forestry as well as federal procurement of clean technologies. It’s not clear how much money would be directed to the climate-specific provisions. 

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed to the $3.5 trillion package Tuesday night.

Read more here


Democratic senator: Reconciliation package to include clean electricity standard

Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Democratic leaders vow climate action amid divide Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that a standard requiring a certain amount of electricity to come from clean sources will be included in the Democratic-backed infrastructure bill expected to be passed through reconciliation. 

The clean electricity standard "is the cornerstone of the progressive, practical transformation to a clean energy future we urgently need," Smith tweeted.

In an interview with The Hill prior to her tweet, Smith, who is crafting the clean electricity standard legislation with Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), said she had expected the standard to be part of the legislation. 

The senator also told The Hill that while the details of the standard will have to be worked out in negotiations, she’s hoping to see a requirement for 80 percent clean electricity by 2030. 


“My goal is to get to 100 percent clean electricity as soon as possible. President Biden’s goal is to be doing it by 2035,” she said, referencing Senate rules that allow reconciliation bills to raise the deficit for no more than 10 years. “We need to set a strong and a bold goal,” Smith said, noting that she hopes to see incentives for achieving interim goals every year and also penalties if companies don’t achieve them.  

Read more here


EUROPE TO BAT: Europe planning to cut emissions 55 percent by 2030

The European Union on Wednesday announced a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by the end of the decade, a target that outpaces that of the U.S., Britain or China.

The proposal from Brussels includes an alteration to the EU’s carbon market, the mechanism by which major industrial carbon producers such as the steel industry pay for emissions. It would also include a border-adjustment tax on non-European goods that would offset the disadvantage to domestically-produced goods subject to the regulations, according to the Times.

The U.S., the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to reduce its own emissions by up to 43 percent by 2030, while China, the world’s biggest emitter, expects its own emissions to peak by that point.


The measure must first pass the European Parliament, where it is likely to be the subject of sharp debate and be extensively amended.

What else is in the proposal?: The proposals also include plans to make at least 38.5 percent of all energy renewable by the end of the decade, establish a carbon market for buildings and road transportation and phase out internal-combustion vehicles by 2035.

Buildings and road transportation collectively comprise more than half of all European emissions, but addressing them will likely be contentious, as it will affect the middle and working classes.

Politicians and policymakers have been hesitant to attempt to take approaches to climate change that could lead to increased taxes. In 2018, increases in fuel taxes that affected the working class led to widespread protests and riots by the so-called yellow vest movement in France.

Read more about the proposal here




CORPS COMPETENCIES: Army Corps nominee pledges not to politicize DAPL environmental review

President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of the Army for civil works pledged to ensure that an environmental review of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline is not politicized.

Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOn The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff The Memo: Biden beats Trump again — this time in the Senate MORE (R-N.D.) asked Michael Connor about the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which was ordered by a federal court in 2020, in a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday.

“If you’re confirmed, with this EIS continuing … do I have your commitment that you’ll do everything you can to keep politics out of the EIS process?” Cramer asked.

“Yes, we need to move forward consistent with law and the very clear direction the court has given,” Connor replied. “Those are legal questions and they’re technical questions that need to be followed up. I want to oversee that and understand it given the visibility of the issue and the importance of tribal consultation.”

The story so far: Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, ordered a full EIS for the pipeline in 2020; however, in March he refused a request by tribal communities to shut down the pipeline while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts the full review.

Read more about the hearing here



  • 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?”



Climate change is fueling mass-casualty heat waves. Here's why experts say we don't view them as crises, CNN reports

Denver children aren’t tested enough for blood lead levels, state health officials say, The Denver Post reports

Firefighters face hurdles in quest for PFAS-free gear, E&E News reports

The Green New Deal Does Not, Strictly Speaking, Exist, The Atlantic reports


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

Senate committee advances bipartisan energy infrastructure bill

Lawmakers introduce bill allowing higher ethanol blend in gasoline after ruling

Tourists fined for touching endangered seal in Hawaii 

600 tons of dead fish wash up on Florida shores due to toxic red tide

Coastal communities saw record-setting high-tide flooding in past year: NOAA

Reconciliation package to include several climate priorities left out of bipartisan framework

Shuttered oil refinery files for bankruptcy after DOJ complaint

Parts of Amazon now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb: study

Gore warns of 'yawning gap' between long-term climate goals and near-term action plans

Democratic senator: Reconciliation package to include clean electricity standard

Army Corps nominee pledges not to politicize DAPL environmental review

Maine shifting recycling costs to companies

Europe planning to cut emissions 55 percent by 2030

Energy Dept. seeks to cut cost of energy storage, boost renewables

Idaho governor warns of 'mega-fires,' urges public help


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