Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Dems vow to keep emissions cuts

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Dems vow to keep emissions cuts

Welcome to Wednesday’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 Democrats insisting they’re still committed to emissions reduction, a United Nations report on the state of fossil fuel production and the Biden administration potentially scuttling a Minnesota mining project.

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.

A scramble to keep emissions reductions

Democrats say they are determined to deliver bold climate action in the social spending bill being crafted in the House and Senate even without a key program that drew opposition from Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin warns about inflation as Democrats pursue Biden spending bill Overnight Health Care — Biden mandate faces Dem resistance Exporting gas means higher monthly energy bills for American families MORE (D-W.Va.).

The loss of the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which was expected to bring deep emissions cuts from the power sector by reducing emissions from electricity generation, represented a big blow to the legislation's climate provisions.  

But Democrats are weighing “alternatives” to the CEPP, which sought to reduce emissions from electricity generation.

What they're saying: “We’re working right now, as we speak, on the call I’m about to join, on what the alternatives are going to be,” Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaKhanna advocates for 'honest and reflective patriotism' in America Democrats call on Education secretary to address 'stealthing' at federal level Showdown: Pelosi dares liberals to sink infrastructure bill MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters at around midday on Wednesday. 

“We’re talking to ... the policy experts and we’re going to see what other alternatives they’re recommending. This is very much an ongoing negotiation. It’s not sufficient just to have the tax credits from solar and wind,” he added, referencing provisions outside the electricity program that are still in the bill. 

The view from the ground: Advocates said Democrats can’t afford to let the opportunity of taking meaningful action on climate slip away in a rare moment when the party holds the White House and majorities in the House and Senate.

If the chance of enacting meaningful measures is missed this time, the party might not get another good chance for years given fears in the party that Republicans could retake the House majority next year.

“It's not hyperbole to say this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver bold climate jobs and justice investments,” said Ben Beachy, the director of the Sierra Club’s living economy program.

Read more about the assurances here.


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.


Plans for fossil fuel production around the world are twice the level necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The projected increases include 240 percent more coal, 57 percent more oil and 71 percent more gas in 2030 than would be necessary to keep warming at or below 1.5 degrees, according to UNEP.

Governments also have directed more new money to fossil fuel production than to renewable energy since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, to the tune of more than $300 billion.

What else did it find?: The UNEP report analyzes planned production by 15 countries: the U.S., China, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

The governments in question are projected to collectively increase production of both gas and oil with coal production falling only slightly.

In recent years, Group of 20 countries and major multilateral development banks have scaled back their international public finance for fossil fuel production.

Lucile Dufour, senior policy adviser at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, called this decline “encouraging” but added that “these changes need to be followed by concrete and ambitious fossil fuel exclusion policies to limit global warming.”

Read more about the report here.

Biden officials order two-year study on Minnesota metals mine 

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced a two-year study of the environmental impact of a proposed Minnesota copper-nickel mine, potentially scuttling the project.

In an application with the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service called for a full study of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The proposed Twin Metals mine in northeastern Minnesota would be located in the watershed that joins Boundary Waters.

The Wednesday order would bar new leasing or prospecting permits for mining upstream of the wilderness area, but would not affect private lands or existing rights. Depending on the findings, it could bar mining in the affected area for up to 20 years.

“A place like the Boundary Waters should be enjoyed by and protected for everyone, not only today but for future generations,” Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandNevada governor apologizes for state's role in indigenous schools The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE said in a statement. “Today the Biden Administration is taking an important and sensible step to ensure that we have all the science and the public input necessary to make informed decisions about how mining activities may impact this special place.”

In a statement, Twin Metals said it was “deeply disappointed” by the announcement and that it was “working to determine the best path forward to continue advancing our proposed world-class underground copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals mine.”


  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on spending at the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy. The office’s acting assistant secretary Katy Huff is slated to appear.
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. Nuclear Legacy in the Marshall Islands
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a series of bills. Christopher French, deputy chief of the national forest system, and Jeff Rupert, director of Interior’s Office of Wildland Fire, are slated to appear.


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.


Police Increasingly Cite Climate Disasters When Seeking Military Gear, Documents Show, HuffPost reports

EPA’s Chemicals Head Tells Staff to Consider Work-Life Balance, Bloomberg reports

Manchin has raked in $400K in fossil fuel donations, E&E News reports

Australia branded worst climate performer ahead of UN summit, The Associated Press reports



And finally, something to watch that’s actually ON-beat: Trevor NoahTrevor NoahTrevor Noah blasts African travel ban over omicron Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Dems vow to keep emissions cuts Monica Lewinsky: 'The idea that I bore more responsibility' than Clinton is 'insane' MORE talks PFAS.


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.