Overnight Energy: Five key energy components of the bipartisan infrastructure bill | EPA announces new members of science board after firing Trump appointees

Overnight Energy: Five key energy components of the bipartisan infrastructure bill | EPA announces new members of science board after firing Trump appointees
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MONDAY AGAIN. 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 details of the bipartisan infrastructure package, the new additions to the EPA’s science board, and bipartisan objections to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

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THE BILL COMES DUE: Five key energy components of the bipartisan infrastructure bill

The newly unveiled $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill contains numerous components aimed at improving the country’s energy, transportation and water needs.

The bill’s introduction comes as infrastructure legislation is seen as the best chance to take big steps on climate action — though many expect a $3.5 trillion Democratic-only package to include more expansive measures to address climate change.

Here are five big energy and environment topics tackled in the bipartisan bill:

  • Climate-focused transportation, but not necessarily emission-free
  • Cleaner power from sources other than renewables
  • Electric grid upgrades
  • Energy efficiency in buildings
  • Cleaning up lead, toxic chemicals in water systems

Read more about the bill here

 

ALL A-BOARD: EPA announces new members of science board after firing Trump appointees

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday announced the new members of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) after previously firing the boards members who had been appointed during the Trump administration. 

EPA Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganEPA finalizes rule cutting use of potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration Former EPA chief to chair pro-Trump think tank's environmental center Overnight Energy & Environment — Effort to repeal Arctic refuge drilling advances MORE selected the 47 members of the board, six of whom belonged to the board when he disbanded it in March, the EPA said.  

The agency touted the new SAB members as the most diverse since the committee was established, saying that it’s comprised of 22 women and 25 men and includes 16 people of color. 

“This highly qualified, diverse group of experts will ensure that EPA is receiving sound science-based advice to inform our work to protect people and the environment from pollution,” Regan said in a statement. 

“We worked expeditiously and deliberately to finalize the new Science Advisory Board, and now we can move forward knowing EPA’s work is guided by the most credible, independent expertise,” he added.

What will they do?: The Scientific Advisory Board provides scientific advice to the administrator, including reviewing the quality and relevance of the information being used to propose regulations and reviewing agency programs. 

The board will now be chaired by Alison Cullen, an environmental policy professor at the University of Washington. 

In March, the Biden administration said it would replace the membership of both the SAB and the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) to reorient the committees toward a more “balanced” group of experts. 

The Trump administration had put some controversial members on these boards, including those with industry ties.

Read more about the appointments here

 

REVENGE OF THE NORDS: Menendez, counterparts from multiple nations join in opposition to Nord Stream 2

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden, don't punish India Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian  Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict MORE (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday released a statement with his counterparts from a slew of European countries opposing the deal that the U.S. and Germany reached in July to allow the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

In July, the Biden administration announced that it had reached an agreement with Germany to allow for the construction of the Russian-made Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas to Europe, despite having previously expressed strong opposition to the pipeline as a security threat and imposed sanctions.

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The agreement includes investments in helping Ukraine become energy independent from Russia as well as commitments from Germany to confront Russia on any misuse of the pipeline.

What’s their argument: The chairmen stated that they saw the pipeline as a "geopolitical project" aimed at expanding Russia's influence in the European energy market and a tool that could be used to blackmail and pressure Ukraine.

"The EU and United States must work together to increase sanctions pressure on the Kremlin to counter aggression in Ukraine," the wrote.

The officials warned that the development of the pipeline would likely result in an undermining of the "development of a single, liberalized, and open European market" by working against alternative investments.

Read more about the statement here

 

EV-PEASY: Biden's electric cars goals can be achieved, say experts

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President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE’s reported electric vehicle goals can be achieved but will require robust action from both the government and the private sector, say experts interviewed by The Hill.

The administration is reportedly pushing to have 40 percent of car sales be electric by the end of the decade, a major leap from the roughly 2 percent of sales they make up today. 

Still, experts on the industry say the jump can be achieved, and some proponents say the administration should try to go further. 

Why the urgency?: The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the country, so reducing vehicle emissions is a major way the Biden administration can reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The administration also hopes to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Read more here

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

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  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on nominees for Energy Department science roles and an Interior Department policy role

 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

Biden’s Climate Plans Are Stunted After Dejected Experts Fled Trump, The New York Times reports

BLM plans emergency wild horse gathers amid extreme drought, E&E News reports

Two U.S. companies seek extension of Trump-era solar tariffs, Reuters reports

Is remote working better for the environment? Not necessarily, The Guardian reports

Midwest Lawmakers Urge Biden to Consider Biofuels in Environment Agenda, NAFB reports

 

ICYMI: Stories from Monday (and the weekend)...

Five key energy components of the bipartisan infrastructure bill

EPA announces new members of science board after firing Trump appointees

Menendez, counterparts from multiple nations join in opposition to Nord Stream 2

Infrastructure deal would require study on job losses from Keystone's end

Researchers paint bleak picture of forest fires beyond 2030

'The land is us' — Tribal activist turns from Keystone XL to Line 3

Biden's electric cars goals can be achieved, say experts

 

OFFBEAT AND OFF-BEAT: Getting the chair