HAPPY FRIDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news.
Today, we’re looking at Republicans’ request for further information in a sting operation involving an Exxon Mobil lobbyist, record July heat and House moderates’ line in the sand on infrastructure.
FOR THE RECORD: Republicans seek full tape behind Exxon sting
Republicans this week asked for more details on the sting operation linked to an Exxon Mobil lobbyist amid increased scrutiny of the company by Democrats.
In a letter sent Thursday obtained by The Hill, Reps. James Comer (Ky.) and Ralph Norman (S.C.) asked for a full, unedited video and transcript of the undercover interview that a group called Unearthed conducted with Exxon Mobil lobbyist Keith McCoy.
“It is critical that the American people view the interview in its entirety before forming any judgments on the veracity, context, and scope of the statements made therein,” wrote Comer and Norman, the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its Environment Subcommittee respectively.
The story so far: Democrats on the Oversight and Reform Committee, including Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyTrump company in late-stage talks to sell DC hotel: report Trump Hotel lost more than M during presidency, say documents Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Dip in COVID-19 cases offer possible sign of hope MORE (D-N.Y.), have recently requested an interview with McCoy after the lobbyist said on tape that Exxon Mobil "aggressively" fought against science on climate change.
The Republicans in their letter added that as Democrats probe Exxon Mobil, members should “have the opportunity to view the entire interview as part of this investigation.”
The lawmakers added that the version of the interview posted to the group's website creates an "incomplete record of the conversation."
In response to the letter, Unearthed editor Damian Kahya didn’t say whether the group would abide by the Republicans’ request. Instead Kahya said the group will “continue to consider what further journalistic disclosures would be in the public interest and fair to the relevant parties.”
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER: July was Earth's hottest month on record
July 2021 was the planet’s hottest month ever recorded, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA’s numbers indicate the earth’s combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees. The temperature was 0.02 degrees above the previous hottest month, July 2016, after 2019 and 2020 matched the 2016 record.
The Northern Hemisphere, meanwhile, saw an all-time high July land-surface-only temperature at 2.77 degrees above average. The previous record, July 2012, was 2.14 degrees above average.
Asia also saw its single hottest July on record, according to NOAA, while Europe tied its second-highest, July 2010.
Arctic sea ice coverage, meanwhile, was at its fourth-lowest level for July in the 43 years NOAA has kept records. July 2012, 2019 and 2020 were the only years Arctic sea ice was smaller. However, Antarctic sea ice saw its largest extent since 2015 and the overall eighth-highest extent on record.
Meanwhile: The data release comes days after a long-awaited report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which issued a dire warning on global temperatures. The report projected average global temperatures 1.5 degrees higher than the pre-industrial baseline by 2040, past the previously established point the U.N. agency said would result in major impacts on weather, biodiversity and food availability.
BUILDING BLOCKS: Moderates vow to block budget to secure infrastructure funding
A group of House moderates on Friday threw a wrench in the Democrats' two-pronged economic agenda, threatening to block a multitrillion-dollar budget bill until party leaders enact the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure package, according to a letter obtained by The Hill.
House Democrats had intended to return to Washington the week of Aug. 23, interrupting their long summer recess in order to pass the budget blueprint, which was approved by the Senate on Wednesday.
That budget resolution authorizes Democrats to begin crafting their $3.5 trillion package of economic priorities — including an expansion of social safety net programs, health care coverage, immigrant rights and environmental protections — which is expected to be considered by both chambers in the fall.
Only afterward, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda Biden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns MORE (D-Calif.) said, will the House vote on the Senate's $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which was also passed by the upper chamber earlier this week.
A group of nine moderate Democrats, however, have another design in mind.
In the letter sent to Pelosi on Friday, the centrist lawmakers maintained that their districts simply can't wait for the infrastructure spending to go out the door. They demanded that the Senate's bipartisan bill be adopted this month, or they won't support the budget resolution — a threat with real teeth given the Democrats' slim House majority and the Republicans' unanimous opposition to the Senate's reconciliation bill.
“The country is clamoring for infrastructure investment and commonsense, bipartisan solutions," the letter reads. "With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can’t afford months of unnecessary delays and risk squandering this one-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package. It’s time to get shovels in the ground and people to work.”
The New York Times was first to report on the Democrats' letter.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Droughts shrink hydropower, pose risk to global push to clean energy, Reuters reports
Biden faces pivotal energy test in Chaco Canyon, E&E News reports
As Duke Energy promotes controversial legislation in N.C., money pours in and rumors fly, Energy News Network reports
Clean energy projects highlighted in Granholm’s Alaska tour, The Associated Press reports
Biden’s infrastructure plan may bulldoze environmental justice concerns, advocates worry, The Washington Post reports
ICYMI: Stories from Friday...
Republicans seek full tape behind Exxon sting
July was Earth's hottest month on record
Moderates vow to block budget to secure infrastructure funding
OFFBEAT AND OFF-BEAT: Paws of life