Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin opens door for $1.9T to $2.2T spending bill

Sen. Joe Manchin
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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 latest from Sen. Manchin on spending bills, our primer on the California oil spill in case you’re looking for the basics and a new report showing serious devastation to coral reefs. 

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.

Manchin signals support for deal of up to $2.2T 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday signaled he is open to a budget reconciliation bill in the ballpark of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion, above the limit he set just last week of $1.5 trillion.

Manchin and his fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are still far apart from liberals such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who thought the upper chamber had a deal to spend $3.5 trillion on President Biden’s human infrastructure package, but the two sides are inching closer.

“I’m not ruling anything out, but the bottom line is I want to make sure that we’re strategic and we do the right job and we don’t basically add more to the concerns we have right now,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday.

It was a small departure from his position last week when he announced: “My top-line has been $1.5 [trillion].”

He also told reporters last week that he doesn’t want “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”

Climate provisions remain among some of the biggest issues to be worked out, with Manchin raising concerns about his colleagues’ Clean Electricity Performance Program which would seek to reduce emissions from electricity. 

Read more about Manchin’s comments here.


The California oil spill, explained 

An oil spill off the coast of Southern California has sent up to 144,000 gallons from an oceanic pipeline into the sea, closing beaches and serving as a reminder of how U.S. energy sources can be calamitous to the environment.

The spill isn’t as large or as devastating as others in recent history, but it’s had significant attention because of its proximity to millions of people.

Here are some things to know: 

It came from an underwater pipeline

The spill comes from an underwater pipeline connected to an offshore drilling platform called Elly. 

Elly and the pipeline are operated by Beta Offshore Operating Co., which is a subsidiary of Amplify Energy. 

According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Beta has received 53 warnings and 72 severe citations for violations of its safety or environmental standards. 

The spill is expected to impact wildlife and the economy. 

It has hit Huntington Beach’s Talbert Marsh — an area where 80 bird species have been counted. Some birds had been found covered in oil, but local news reported Monday that initial assessments showed fewer affected birds than originally expected.

It’s also affecting beaches, prompting closures and it’s  expected to hit the local economy given the importance of tourism in the region.

“Our economy relies heavily on tourism and beachgoers and things like that … but even more so we have businesses — restaurants and things — I was with a restaurant owner this morning whose restaurant’s right across the street and I imagine people are not coming down to the beach, they’re not going to stop by his place,”  Steven Rosansky, president and CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, told The Hill in an interview on Monday. 

It’s major — but smaller than historic spills like Deepwater Horizon

While the event is considered a major spill, it’s not nearly as large as other infamous spills like the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 or the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.

Those spills released 134 million and 11 million gallons of oil, respectively, into the ocean. The current spill’s 144,000 gallons is just a small fraction of that.

Read more key information on the spill in The Hill’s primer here.

14 percent of world’s coral reefs destroyed in a decade: research 

A global analysis released on Tuesday found that 14 percent of the world’s coral reefs were lost between 2009 and 2018, an amount greater than all the coral currently living in Australia’s reefs.

The report was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and partners including the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN).

In “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020,” the GCRMN noted that coral reef populations had actually recovered somewhat following the first mass coral bleaching in 1998. In the decade that followed, reefs were able to recover to pre-1998 levels.

However, a progressive loss of coral cover was observed between 2009 and 2018, according to the report. As the monitoring network noted, although coral reefs cover only 0.2 percent of the seafloor, they are responsible for supporting at least 25 percent of marine life.

Coral bleaching occurs when environmental conditions surrounding coral change. One example is when temperatures drastically rise or fall, coral will release symbiotic algae living inside their tissue, causing the coral to become white. Coral bleaching does not directly cause them to die, but does place a higher degree of stress on the organisms.

Read more about the report here.


Companies behind an Illinois-Missouri pipeline are asking the Supreme Court to reverse a decision that could shut it down.

In a petition to the high court, backers of Spire STL, which carries natural gas across a 65-mile stretch, asked for a review of a decision that vacated a permit for the vessel. 

In June, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated an approval for the pipeline, saying that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did not adequately justify the approval. 

In the new petition, Spire Missouri Inc. and Spire STL Pipeline LLC have asked the high court to halt the vacatur. The filing argued that the decision was “at odds” with decisions from other circuit courts and also that it would harm consumers. 

Read more about their petition here.



  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers’ response to Hurricane Ida 
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the status and management of drought in the West. Interior official Tanya Trujillo is slated to testify. 
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled “Emerging Contaminants, Forever Chemicals, and More: Challenges to Water Quality, Public Health, and Communities”
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will also hold a hearing on various proposals to establish or reauthorize heritage areas






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. 


Tags Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema

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