Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Tuesday'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 a potential pathway to a deal on climate spending, a Biden administration move toward expanding endangered species protections, and a warning that the world could be falling short of its Paris goals. 

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.


Democrats hope for Manchin buy-in on methane fee 

Senate Democrats working on the climate provisions of the budget reconciliation package think they have a path to a deal that will include a methane fee and believe they will get buy-in from centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE (D-W.Va.).

Democratic senators on Tuesday expressed optimism about nailing down an agreement on the bill’s climate provisions after several Democratic committee chairmen held a meeting on the issue at the Capitol on Monday evening. 

But while the methane fee is expected to be a part of the final package, a proposal to tax carbon emissions is viewed as much less likely.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerProgressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan Collins says she supports legislation putting Roe v. Wade protections into law Biden should seek some ideological diversity MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday announced he feels confident that negotiators will be able to put together a “robust” package of climate proposals.

“There’s going to be a very strong, robust climate package. And our goal is to meet the president’s goal, and there are different ways to get there,” he said. 

Some more specifics... A Democratic senator briefed on the negotiations said the climate provisions are moving ahead on two tracks, with the methane fee on a trajectory to being included in the final package and a carbon tax on a much less certain path. 

“The thing to pay attention to is we’ve been told is there will be two iterations. One is the climate spending piece, which is going on right now. ... And once that’s settled, there will be a separate emissions review” and that will be the chance to add a carbon tax, said the lawmaker. 

The first bucket will also include legislation to establish the Civilian Climate Corps, a priority of Sens. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  MORE (D-Del.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators seek to curb counterfeit toys and goods sold online Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Pledged money not going to Indigenous causes MORE (D-Mass.).

The second bucket will include more controversial proposals that have yet to be worked out — such as carbon pricing and a border adjustment fee for carbon intensive imports — and its future is much less certain.

OK, but what does Manchin have to say? Manchin confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that he is working with Democratic colleagues in good faith on the methane fee. 

“You can’t use things as a hammer,” he warned. “You’ve got to give an incentive to do the right thing. ... Methane pricing done wrong is very detrimental. It won’t happen.”

“Incentivize or penalize. Penalize doesn’t work. Incentivize does work,” he added.


WHITE HOUSE TALKS DOLLAR FIGURES

The White House is indicating that Democrats could spend at least $500 billion on climate in their spending package — indicating a smaller topline cut than other programs in the reconciliation bill. 

During The Hill’s A More Perfect Union event on Tuesday, White House chief of staff Ron KlainRon KlainNew variant raises questions about air travel mandates White House scrambles for safety on holiday parties The massive messaging miscues of all the president's men (and women) MORE alluded to the figure, saying, “We have a proposal in the reconciliation bill, in the Build Back Better bill, to make a historic investment in climate change.”

“More than $500 billion over 10 years. Just to put that in perspective, the entire Department of Energy over the next 10 years is going to spend $450 billion. We’re talking about an investment in climate change larger than the entire Department of Energy. We just now have to go get that done. I think we’re making a lot of progress in that regard,” he said. 

Two sources also confirmed to The Hill that the White House was telling lawmakers that the climate provisions will probably cost more than $500 billion, saying that an Axios report on the topic was accurate. 

Read more about what Democratic senators have to say here and what the White House is saying here.



A MESSAGE FROM AMERICAN CLEAN POWER

Clean energy sources like wind, solar and energy storage power American jobs and economic opportunity across the U.S. Clean energy is powering the future, and together, we are the future of power. Read more.



Biden moves to undo two Trump-era Endangered Species Act rollbacks

The Biden administration will move to rescind two Trump-era rollbacks of protections for endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced Tuesday.

The first of the two rules, announced in December, would have curtailed the definition of “habitat” to pertain to areas that can currently support a species. Environmentalists pushed back on the move at the time, noting that it would exclude areas that could potentially support species in the future.

The second rule, finalized days later, would have barred FWS from granting critical habit protections to an area if an analysis determined it was of greater benefit not to provide them. These analyses would include impacts identified by private companies — something critics argued could tip the scales against conservation and in favor of industry. 

But, the administration’s announcement didn’t deal with another Trump-era rollback of the Endangered Species Act, finalized in 2019. That rule weakened protections for threatened species. 

Read more about the announcement here.

 

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As part of The Hill's A More Perfect Union festival, lawmakers, security experts and energy leaders explore how to proactively safeguard water, power, gas, and other systems from next-generation digital threats and prevent disruptions to everyday life. 

Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay MORE (D-Va.), FERC Commissioner Allison Clements and CSIS's Suzanne Spaulding join The Hill's Steve Clemons. RSVP today.



A MESSAGE FROM AMERICAN CLEAN POWER

Clean energy sources like wind, solar and energy storage power American jobs and economic opportunity across the U.S. Clean energy is powering the future, and together, we are the future of power. Read more.



ON TAP TOMORROW

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Christopher Frey to be assistant administrator for research and development at the EPA and Jennifer Clyburn Reed to be Federal Co-Chair of the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Wildland Firefighter Workforce Reforms
  • The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Ensuring Equity in Disaster Preparedness Response and Recovery.”
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing entitled “The Federal Coal Program: A Bad Deal for Taxpayers and a Threat to Climate”


WHAT WE’RE READING

EPA eyes new rules for PFAS in waste, E&E News reports

Conservation group to drop Audubon name over ‘pain’ caused by slaveholder, The Guardian reports

Brazil to seek zero deforestation by 2028, up from 2030, The Associated Press reports

ICYMI:

 

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.

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