Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — White House plans extreme heat workplace standard

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — White House plans extreme heat workplace standard
© Getty Images

Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today we’re looking at the Biden administration’s latest plans for an extreme heat workplace standard, a world leader saying major economies must do more on climate change, and a look at Alaska’s post-fossil fuels future. 

For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: rfrazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.


Let’s jump in.

Biden administration looks to protect workers from extreme heat

The Biden administration on Monday announced it is developing a workplace standard aimed at preventing illness and death from heat exposure. 

The White House said in a fact sheet that the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to propose a rule on heat illness prevention in the workplace. 

It did not specify what exactly the rule would entail, instead saying that the department is seeking “diverse perspectives and technical expertise” on topics like heat stress thresholds and monitoring exposure. 

Currently, there’s not a standard in place to protect workers from extreme heat.

How bad is the problem?: In the U.S. there's an annual average of 702 heat-related deaths and 9,235 hospitalizations because of heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the standard is being developed, local OSHA offices will put additional resources toward heat-related complaints and expand their scope of inspections for heat-related hazards, the White House said.

In addition to the standard, OSHA is also developing a program that will devote resources and staff to heat inspections in high-risk industries.

And it will form a "Heat Illness Prevention Work Group" aimed at better understanding challenges and best practices for protecting workers from heat hazards.

Read more about the announcement here:

Johnson urges wealthy nations to meet climate finance goals

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on wealthier nations to do more to address the impacts of climate change and phase out the use of fossil fuels, as a recent report projects those countries will miss their $100 billion climate finance goal.

At a meeting in New York with world leaders and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Johnson said the leaders of major economies must increase their financial contributions to the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Ahead of the agreement, developed nations agreed to contribute a total of $100 billion a year toward such efforts beginning in 2020, but an analysis from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released last week found they mobilized just under $80 billion in 2019.

“In coming together to agree the $100 billion pledge, the world’s richest countries made an historic commitment to the world’s poorest — we now owe it to them to deliver on that," Johnson said.

“Richer nations have reaped the benefits of untrammeled pollution for generations, often at the expense of developing countries," he added. "As those countries now try to grow their economies in a clean, green and sustainable way we have a duty to support them in doing so — with our technology, with our expertise and with the money we have promised.”

The state of play: Meanwhile, a report released Monday by international aid group Oxfam projected that richer nations will continue to miss the target over the next four years. Based on current roadmaps and strategies, those economies will only reach $95 billion a year by 2025, according to the group. The year-by-year numbers indicate developing nations, which are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, could miss out on up to $75 billion between 2020 and 2025.

Read more here:


We’re calling on Congress to pass the climate test -- and only support a reconciliation package with real climate action that cuts climate pollution in half by 2030. Read LCV’s letter now.


Alaska plots its post-oil financial future

For 45 years, Alaska has lived a charmed fiscal life. It has reaped billions in taxes from oil and gas companies, revenue it uses to shift the burden for running the government away from residents who, as a result, enjoy some of the lowest tax rates in America.

The Alaska Permanent Fund, first established in 1976, has earned so much from those oil and gas companies drilling on state lands that it has been able to distribute a regular dividend to every man, woman and child in the state, a quasi-universal basic income program that has itself become a major driver of the state’s economy.

But oil and gas production is slowing, both for economic and political reasons. Some companies are moving away from Alaska’s oil fields, and climate change threatens islands and seaside villages across the state. Alaska lawmakers have even had to rely on a budget reserve fund to plug deficits in recent years.

In short, the gravy train that has allowed Alaska to stockpile more money than any other state is slowing, inexorably, to a halt.

So what’s next?: Alaska’s changing financial fortunes have forced a reckoning in Juneau, one that has pitted the state’s myriad political factions — alliances far more complicated than the typical partisan divides found in what residents call the Outside — against each other.

Legislators and Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) are now considering the state’s first fiscal plan, one that will have a short-term impact on how much money each resident receives from the Permanent Fund Dividend this year and a much longer-term effect on fiscal health.


“Everyone agrees we can’t continue what we’re doing, because it’s going to lead to a huge problem,” Dunleavy told The Hill in a series of interviews this week. “It’s about Alaska’s future as a viable, self-sustaining industry.”

The fiscal plan would amend the state constitution to restructure the permanent fund, limit the amount of money available for government spending and guarantee an annual dividend for residents at a set formula.

Read more about the shift here:


The Senate Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on the nominations of Laura Daniel-Davis to be Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Camille Touton to be Commissioner of Reclamation and Sara Bronin to be Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.


New evidence of corruption at EPA Chemicals Division, The Intercept reports


Shell announces $9.5 billion sale of West Texas oil field assets to ConocoPhillips, CNBC reports

Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters US deficit hits .8 trillion, second largest in history Financial oversight panel unveils climate risk plan MORE faces climate test as environmentalists push for more aggressive action, The Washington Post reports

Norway promises Europe more gas as prices soar, Reuters reports


We’re calling on Congress to pass the climate test -- and only support a reconciliation package with real climate action that cuts climate pollution in half by 2030. Read LCV’s letter now.


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.