Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate passes $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill | Energy Dept. proposes rule aimed at increased lightbulb efficiency | Administration begins review of bird habitat Trump left open for mining

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HAPPY TUESDAY!!! 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 Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, 

IT’S FINALLY INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK! Senate passes $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill in major victory for Biden

The Senate on Tuesday passed a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, a significant win for President Biden and the first step on his top legislative priority.

Senators voted 69-30 on the bill, which was spearheaded by a bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Nineteen GOP senators voted with all Democrats to pass the legislation.

The bill is now heading to the House, where it faces an uncertain future and skepticism from progressives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has vowed she won’t take it up until the Senate passes the second part of its infrastructure two step, a sweeping $3.5 trillion spending package that includes Democrats’ top priorities.

But the BID is still kind of a BFD… The Senate’s passage of the bipartisan measure on Tuesday gives a victory for Biden and the centrist-minded group that led the legislation and placed big bets and months of time on the ability to get a bipartisan infrastructure deal, one of Washington’s long-running legislative white whales.

“Congress has talked about truly modernizing our nation’s infrastructure for as long as we can remember. The United States Senate delivered so that we can finally give the American people the safe, reliable, and modern infrastructure they deserve,” Portman, Sinema and the eight other senators who were the core negotiators said in a joint statement after the vote.

But wait…remind me what’s in that bill again? It includes funding for: electric grid updates, electric vehicle chargers, zero-emission school buses, “alternative fuel” buses and electric and “low-emitting” ferries, cleaning up PFAS and lead in drinking water and boosting for nuclear, hydrogen, carbon capture and hydropower. 

And as the focus turns to Democrats’ reconciliation bill, climate change is on everyone’s mind...Environmentalists and their allies on Capitol Hill are seizing on a new United Nations (U.N.) report on greenhouse gas emissions to argue that the $3.5 trillion spending plan from Democrats unveiled Monday is vital to help combat climate change.

The report, published by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday, issued dire warnings about rising temperatures while noting that reducing global emissions will have a significant impact on long-term warming.

Democratic leaders quickly highlighted those predictions in their push for a multitrillion-dollar budget reconciliation plan they’re hoping to pass later this year, almost certainly without any GOP votes.

“Without immediate and bold action, we are staring down ever-worsening floods and heat waves, droughts, and sea level rise,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech on Monday.

Read more about today’s passage here, refresh your memory on its key E&E provisions here and read more about Democrats invoking the IPCC report in their spending push here.

SOME LIGHT READING: Energy department proposes rule aimed at increased lightbulb efficiency

The Biden administration is proposing the restoration of Obama-era rules aimed at increasing efficiency of consumer lightbulbs by including more types of bulbs in regulations.

The Energy Department said Tuesday it is proposing a return to the Obama administration’s definitions that includes cone, globe and candle-shaped bulbs in certain regulations after the Trump administration exempted them.

The proposal indicates a possible two-step process to incorporate the additional bulbs in the rule and then increase regulations on all of the bulbs — including common pear-shaped bulbs. The stricter rules are expected to push the market toward LEDs.

Tuesday’s proposal doesn’t itself propose tighter standards, but the agency indicated in May that it was eyeing the implementation of a standard that’s expected to undermine incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs.

Read more about the proposed rule here.

SAGE GROUSE IN THE HOUSE: Biden administration begins review of bird habitat Trump opened for mining

The Biden administration has begun its review of a bird habit kept open for mining under the Trump administration, the Bureau of Land Management announced Tuesday.

The bureau previously announced the review in May following a court order. The land in question included federal lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming that are home to the greater sage grouse.

In 2015, the Obama administration proposed withdrawing about 10 million acres of Sage Grouse habitat from new mining. In 2017, the Trump administration reversed course. 

A federal judge vacated the Trump-era decision in February, saying it wasn’t sufficiently justified. 

Nada Wolff Culver, Bureau of Land Management deputy director for policy and programs, said in a statement that the Biden administration “will revise its environmental analysis of the need for proposed withdrawals using the best-available science and continued engagement with our many stakeholders.” 

Read more about the move here.


Lesson learned: EPA notified Congress of costly tech upgrades, E&E News reports

Exxon launches U.S. shale gas sale to kick-start stalled divestitures, Reuters reports

Report: Racial disparities afflict EPA drinking water funds, E&E News reports

The environment is Gen Z’s No. 1 concern – and some companies are taking advantage of that, CNBC reports

‘Climate change is going to cost us’: How the US military is preparing for harsher environments, DefenseNews reports

ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday (and Monday night)…

Republicans ask court to compel Biden administration to sell drilling leases

Biden administration begins review of bird habitat Trump opened for mining

Nearly 200 House Democrats call for focus on clean energy tax credits in reconciliation

Tens of thousands of salmon die in Arctic chlorine leak

Nation’s largest self-driving electric shuttle network launches

Biden officials push to hike lightbulb efficiency after Trump reversal

Wyden asks White House for details on jet fuel shortage amid wildfire season

Greek prime minister apologizes for wildfire response

Democrats seize on ‘alarm bell’ climate report in spending plan push

Senate passes $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill in major victory for Biden

Tags Charles Schumer Joe Biden Kyrsten Sinema Nancy Pelosi Rob Portman
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