Democrats set to miss Memorial Day deadline for climate deal

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Democrats set to miss climate deal deadline, but clean energy tax credits show signs of life

Congressional Democrats are expected to beat a self-imposed deadline on Monday to reach an agreement on the biggest climate change legislation in the nation’s history.

Climate advocates have called on Democratic leaders to strike a deal on President Bidenis at a standstill Building back better bill before Remembrance Daywhile the politics of the looming midterm elections could thwart any legislative progress.

But Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), one of Congress’s most vocal climate hawks, acknowledged Thursday that the real deadline was Sept. 30, when the fiscal year 2022 budget resolution that underpins the draft Build Back Better law will expire.

“Sept. 30, of course, because that’s when the reconciliation measure expires, and probably before August vacation,” said Whitehouse, when asked about the timeline for reaching a handful deal. of hand with Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.), the lawmaker who, along with Republicans, derailed negotiations on the spending bill in December.

Senator Martin Heinrich (DN.M.), for his part, pushed back on the assumption that time limits are useful for deliberations.

“I don’t think it’s particularly constructive, the timelines,” Heinrich told The Climate 202. “What’s usually constructive are negotiations among members.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) met with Manchin on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the budget reconciliation bill, a person familiar with the matter told The Climate 202. Talks are continuing, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private. discussion.

Clean energy tax credits, methane levy

Meanwhile, leading Senate Democrats on Thursday projected optimism that the party could reach consensus on two central climate provisions in the Build Back Better bill by the August break.

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he spoke with Manchin about the measure’s $325 billion clean energy tax credit package, which takes a technology-neutral approach that appears to appeal to holdout centrists.

“I never get into my conversations with the members, but [Manchin] and I’ve spoken several times,” Wyden told reporters. “And the issue of technological neutrality…brings both parties together.”

the Senate Finance Committee last year passed Wyden’s Clean Energy Act for Americawhich would consolidate more than 40 energy incentives into three technology-neutral credits for clean energy, clean transportation and energy efficiency.

Manchin has already killed the Clean Electricity Performance Program in the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill, saying it could accelerate the retirement of coal and natural gas plants. But tax credits might be more palatable to Manchin because their technology-neutral approach doesn’t favor renewables over fossil fuels — and leaves the door open for carbon-capture technology.

Meanwhile, the President of the Senate in charge of the environment and public works Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) reiterated Thursday that it had reached a “compromise” with Manchin and other stakeholders on the levy on emissions of methane, a potent global-warming gas.

“A lot of work has been done to find common ground – Democrat, Republican, and also with industry and the environmental community,” Carper said. “I think we have, for all intents and purposes, a very good compromise. I think we are ready to go.

Hitting the brakes on EV credits?

Despite broad support for clean energy tax credits in the Democratic caucus, Manchin continued to worry about the offer of incentives to Americans who buy electric vehicles.

“I’m struggling with electric vehicles right now,” Manchin told reporters Wednesday after walking out of one of his bipartisan energy meetings, which have so far shown little sign of progress.

Yet the West Virginia senator acknowledged that two American automakers – You’re here and General Motors — have already sold 200,000 qualifying electric vehicles in the United States, disqualifying themselves from any additional tax credits. If Congress does not act, the situation will benefit foreign automakers over domestic ones.

“I don’t think that’s our intention,” Manchin said. “We want it to be in North America. Here on this continent.

Supreme Court allows Biden’s higher social carbon cost — for now

the Supreme Court On Thursday, he said he would, for now, allow the Biden administration to use a higher estimate of the societal cost of rising greenhouse gas emissions when federal agencies write regulations, said the Washington Post. Robert Barnes and Anna Phillips report.

In a sentence order With no comment or dissent noted, the justices rejected a request by Louisiana and other Republican-led states to block federal agencies from using the administration’s higher climate measure, known as the social cost. carbon. The metric is used to inform a variety of consecutive actions, including new oil and gas drilling permits.

Lawyers in Louisiana called the estimates “a power grab aimed at manipulating the entire US federal regulatory apparatus.” But the Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar told the Supreme Court that states should not be able to sue before an agency has even finalized a rule using the new estimates, adding that the litigation has upended planned infrastructure spending.

Six Democrats urge Biden to back Commerce solar probe

Six Democrats sent a letter for President Biden Thursday, expressing his support for the Commerce Department’s is investigating whether solar panels assembled in four Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam – are circumventing rules aimed at blocking solar imports from China.

“These laws are designed to ensure that U.S. manufacturers and producers can compete on a level playing field, free from unfair business practices,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, led by Meaning Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (pa.), with Rep. Marcy Captur (Ohio).

The letter comes after other Democrats called on the administration to fast-track Commerce‘s investigation, warning it undermines Biden’s clean energy goals and jeopardizes national solar projects.

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senator Jacky Rosen (Nev.) said the investigation “has thrown the entire solar industry into uncertainty and threatens jobs, brings us back to our clean energy goals.”

Thursday’s letter was also signed by Representative Tim Ryan (Ohio), who is facing a tough Senate race against donald trump-supported G.O.P. optimistic JD Vance in Ohio, a major manufacturing state.

Scott Pruitt ‘endangered public safety’ by asking drivers to speed up, report says

Scott Pruittwho ran the Environmental Protection Agency below donald trump‘endangered public safety’ by repeatedly ordering his federal security officers to drive at high speed with sirens blaring because he was running late, according to a federal report published Thursday, Eric Lipton reporting for the New York Times.

For example, on a 2017 trip to retrieve Pruitt’s dry cleaning, a special agent drove in the wrong direction in oncoming traffic, with sirens and emergency lights on, because Pruitt was late for an agency meeting, according to the EPA felon’s report. execution division.

Pruitt, who resigned in 2018 under a cloud of ethics scandals, is now running for the Oklahoma Senate as a Republican. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Interior Offers California’s First-Ever Offshore Wind Lease Sale

the Interior Department Thursday posted a notice of proposed sale for offshore wind leases off California, paving the way for the first offshore wind auction on the West Coast.

The proposed notice of sale includes five lease areas that encompass more than 373,000 acres and could support more than 4.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy – enough to power more than 1.5 million homes.

“Today we are taking another step towards unlocking the immense potential of offshore wind energy off the west coast of our country to help combat the effects of climate change while creating well-paying jobs. “said the Home Secretary. Deb Haaland said Thursday in a statement.

White House plans to reopen old refineries to lower oil prices

The Biden administration is reaching out to the oil industry to ask about restarting idle refineries, marking the White Housethe last ditch effort to deal with rising gas prices ahead of the midterm elections, Ari Natter reporting for Bloomberg News.

According to a person familiar with the matter, members of the National Economic Council and other officials interviewed oil and gas industry representatives about the factors that led to the closure of some refining operations and whether there are plans to reopen.

However, no direct request to restart operations has been made, according to the person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the moves.

G-7 ministers could commit to phasing out coal and public funding of fossil fuels

The climate ministers of Group of Seven Economic powers are expected to issue a statement on Friday that would commit to phasing out coal-fired power by 2030 and achieving a net-zero electricity sector by 2035, according to a draft obtained by from Reuters Kate Abnet.

“We commit to phasing out domestic coal-fired power generation and non-industrial coal-fired heat generation by the year 2030,” the draft meeting statement said. “Relentless” refers to power plants that are not equipped with carbon capture technology.

Meanwhile, the climate advocacy group International Oil Change said he expected the statement to call for an end to public funding of fossil fuels by the end of this year. A similar commitment was made by 39 countries and institutions at COP26 The United Nations climate summit in Scotland last fall.

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