Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Manchin blasts new spending bill provision

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WVa., who has been a key holdout on President Joe Biden's ambitious domestic package, is surrounded by reporters
Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

Welcome to Thursday’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 Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) latest complaint about Democrats’ climate and social spending bill, a settlement for the Flint, Mich., victims and a new look at the future of EPA methane regulations. 

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 knocks tax credit for union-made EVs 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) expressed opposition to a provision in Democrats’ climate and social spending bill that would give additional tax credits for union-built electric vehicles.

A version of the legislation released by the House would provide customers a $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicles, with an additional $4,500 credit if the vehicle is made in the U.S. by union workers.

Manchin objected to the $4,500 credit for union-built vehicles. 

What did he say? “When I heard about this, what they were putting in the bill, I went right to the sponsor [Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.] and I said, ‘This is wrong. This can’t happen. It’s not who we are as a country. It’s not how we built this country, and the product should speak for itself,’ ” Manchin told Automotive News during a Toyota event in his home state. 

“We shouldn’t use everyone’s tax dollars to pick winners and losers. If you’re a capitalist economy that we are in society then you let the product speak for itself, and hopefully, we’ll get that, that’ll be corrected,” he added. 

Senate Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote on their legislation because of the 50-50 split in the upper chamber, so they need to win Manchin’s support. 

Automakers with nonunion workforces like Honda, Toyota and Tesla have criticized the additional credit as unfair. Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers union has praised it as supportive of good working conditions. 

Read more about his comments here.


Here’s how we’re supporting the Global Methane Pledge

ExxonMobil supports reducing methane emissions by 30% by the year 2030, in line with the Global Methane Pledge. We are working to reduce methane emissions, and encourage others in and out of our industry to join. Learn more.

Judge OKs $626M settlement in Flint crisis

A Michigan judge late Wednesday approved a $626 million settlement for thousands of people in Flint, Mich., whose water was contaminated with lead.

The settlement will be paid to city residents, with most of the money being given to children who were affected by the contamination, but some also going to the adult population. 

The vast majority of the settlement will be paid by the state of Michigan. The rest will be paid out by the city of Flint, McLaren hospitals and a company called Rowe Professional Services. 

The backstory: Flint’s drinking water was contaminated after the source of their water supply was shifted from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014. The water wasn’t adequately treated and this caused lead from pipes to leach into the city’s drinking water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this exposed approximately 99,000 residents to lead, which has been linked to a number of health issues, and has a greater impact on children than adults. 

The water source switch has also been linked to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 12 people.

Some residents opposed the agreement… The settlement has met some resistance from some city residents, including adults who have argued the fact that about 80 percent of the compensation will go to minors is unfair. 

Levy addressed that objection in her filing, noting the disproportionate harm of lead exposure on children. 

“It is fair, reasonable, and adequate to award a greater proportion of settlement funds to those who are most vulnerable to the effects of lead and other contaminants,” she wrote. 

Some residents have also argued that the compensation isn’t sufficient in general. 

But a lawyer representing many of the children called the agreement a win. “Although this is a significant victory for Flint, we have a ways to go in stopping Americans from being systematically poisoned in their own homes, schools, and places of work,” lawyer Corey Stern said in a statement.

Read more about the agreement here.

EPA details potential adds to methane rule

A flag of the Environmental Protection Agency is seen outside their headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 3

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) top air quality official on Thursday gave new details about what a future “supplemental” rule regulating methane emissions could look like.

This possibly forthcoming rule would be in addition to recently proposed regulations for the potent greenhouse gas. 

Asked why the rule as announced does not include a phase-out of routine methane flaring — a process in which the planet-warming gas is burned off during fossil fuel production — EPA acting air chief Joe Goffman cited the agency’s ambition for a final rule at the COP26 international climate summit.

“We’re using the myriad requests for specific comment in this proposal to try to get at … some of these issues, whether it’s coverage of sources and practices like flaring or the continual campaign that we and others have to improve the data, to continually bring it closer and closer into alignment as a reliable indicator of reality,” he said.

“That’s going to be part of what we hope the record for this proposal will create, which we can then reflect in a supplemental proposal, which we then can carry forward in a final action,” he continued.

The administration previously teased the supplemental proposal in its recently released methane plan. That plan said that in 2022, the agency would seek additional methane reduction including from pollution sources that aren’t currently regulated like abandoned oil and gas wells.

Read more about Goffman’s remarks here.





And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: Bear with me.

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.{mosads}

Tags Debbie Stabenow Joe Biden Joe Manchin

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