Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed
© Greg Nash

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 possible doom of a key clean energy program, the Biden administration’s “forever chemicals” plans and what the latest round of appropriations bills mean for the environment.

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.

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Let’s jump in. 

Reports that clean energy program cut riles Capitol Hill

The Clean Electricity Performance Program’s place in the reconciliation bill was cast in doubt late Friday amid reports that it would “likely” be cut amid opposition from Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump haunts Biden vaccine mandate in courts IRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks MORE.

This was met with pushback from a number of Democrats.

“It is a moral imperative for humanity and our planet’s future to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Kevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan MORE (D-N.Y.). “There are many ways to do it, but we can’t afford to give up. Biden admin is already backing too many pipelines - we need clean energy.”

Meanwhile, others touted the reconciliation bill’s other measures, with Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Democrats push tax credits to bolster clean energy Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan MORE (D-Ore.) highlighting clean energy tax credits.

“While I strongly support the Clean Energy Payment Program, it’s important to note that the overwhelming majority of emissions reductions come from the energy tax overhaul,” Wyden said in a statement over the weekend. 

Wyden also discussed a carbon price with reporters on Monday. 

"I'm working very closely with my colleagues on a carbon pricing issue," he told reporters, adding that moderate senators are interested in working on carbon pricing, particularly in light of recent climate-related events.

A MESSAGE FROM API

Europe’s ongoing energy crisis should make U.S. policymakers rethink pushing for a future where Americans’ daily lives and the U.S. economy will be virtually dependent on intermittent energy sources.Read more.

EPA to regulate certain types of 'forever chemicals' in drinking water in 2023

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters prior to a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

The Clean Electricity Performance Program’s place in the reconciliation bill was cast in doubt late Friday amid reports that it would “likely” be cut amid opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

The EPA on Monday released its strategy for addressing a type of cancer-linked chemicals called PFAS, including its plans to finish a rule to regulate certain types of PFAS in drinking water in 2023.

PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and these substances are a group of man-made chemicals that have been linked to health problems such as kidney and testicular cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure rates can be difficult to assess, but one 2015 study found PFAS to be in the blood of 97 percent of Americans.

The EPA’s overall strategy is focused on researching PFAS, restricting their release into the air, land and water and broadening cleanup efforts.

What are the specifics?: The agency’s drinking water limit pertains to certain types of PFAS called PFOA and PFOS, saying it hopes to propose an enforceable drinking water limit for them in fall 2022 and finalize it in fall 2023. 

The Trump administration also eyed regulating PFOA and PFOS, proposing its own regulation on the substances last year.  

The drinking water standard is a long-awaited milestone for environmental advocates, but some have called for PFAS to be regulated as an entire group instead of on an individual basis because there are hundreds of them and they can occur in mixtures. 

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The EPA is also developing a new testing strategy for the substances. 

As part of that strategy, the agency is expected to require manufacturers to conduct and fund studies, and could issue testing orders by the end of this year. 

Read more about the announcement here

Democratic appropriations bills would increase environmental funding by $6B

An appropriations bill unveiled Monday by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid MORE (D-Vt.) would increase funds for the Interior Department and other environmental agencies by $6 billion compared to 2021 levels.

The 2022 bill would include discretionary funding of $44.6 billion, as well as $2.4 billion for the Wildfire Suppression Operations Reserve Fund.

The bill’s provisions also include advanced appropriations for the Indian Health Service for the first time. The appropriations include $7.6 billion for Indian Health Service, $1.38 billion more compared to the level enacted in fiscal 2021.

It would also increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by $1.3 billion compared to fiscal year 2021, for a total of $10.54 billion. This increase, according to committee leadership, would enable the agency to hire nearly 1,000 staffers shed over the last decade.

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The appropriations bill would also increase funding for environmental justice, a major stated priority of Administrator Michael Regan, from $12 million to more than $200 million.

After an unprecedented wildfire season in the western and northwestern U.S., the bill would also provide $3.845 billion for wildfire suppression, $2.45 billion of which would go to the Wildfire Suppression Operations Reserve Fund. 

Read more about the appropriations bills here

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of  Charles Sams III to be National Park Service Director, Willie Phillips, Jr. to be a FERC Commissioner and Brad Crabtree to lead DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a series of lands and forest bills featuring Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for lands and minerals management Steve Feldgus and Christopher French, deputy chief of the national forest system

A MESSAGE FROM API

Europe’s ongoing energy crisis should make U.S. policymakers rethink pushing for a future where Americans’ daily lives and the U.S. economy will be virtually dependent on intermittent energy sources.Read more.

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WHAT WE’RE READING

Coast Guard designates cargo vessel as ‘party in interest’ in oil spill, The Los Angeles Times reports

The Biomass Industry Expands Across the South, Thanks in Part to UK Subsidies. Critics Say it’s Not ‘Carbon Neutral’, Inside Climate News reports

OPEC+ misses target again, as some members struggle to raise oil output, Reuters reports

Judge orders revised Mexican gray wolf recovery plan, E&E News reports

ICYMI

And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: Just right


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.