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Another day hotter and deeper in debt

Climate hawks shine in Tuesday's elections; the Clean Power Association gets dirtier


The results are in from yesterday’s elections, and there’s a lot to cheer about. In Pennsylvania, Green New Dealer Sara Innamorato won the Allegheny County executive race; labor-backed Cherelle Parker sailed to victory in the Philadelphia mayoral primary; and Democrats held the swing statehouse special election. Sierra Club-endorsed Democrat Donna Deegan will become mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. In Kentucky, coal billionaire Kelly Craft amusingly burned through $10 million to come in third in the GOP primary to challenge Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. And Climate Cabinet-endorsed religious and business leader Yemi Mobolade won the Colorado Springs mayoral race.

The debt-ceiling negotiations that are cutting short President Joe Biden’s Pacific diplomatic tour include the Republican fossil-fuel agenda, particularly Rep. Garret Graves’ (R-La.) so-called Builder Act, which would cripple the National Environmental Policy Act permit process.

Pushed by the Biden White House’s embrace of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) anti-NEPA agenda, the climate hawks in the Democratic caucus have been scrambling to come up with a coherent agenda that would support clean-energy development without completely bulldozing environmental justice or opening the floodgates to further fossil-fuel projects.

Politico’s Josh Siegel reports on what Republicans are hoping to get. Although Siegel doesn’t name names, Graves is the top Republican negotiator in the debt ceiling talks, so insiders like us can read between the lines. The GOP proposal is almost amusingly insulting:

It would include changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a landmark law passed in 1970, to allow both fossil fuel and clean energy projects to be built faster, the aide said.

In turn, the Republicans would offer assurances that they would later take up Democratic proposals to give the federal government a bigger role in approving interstate power transmission lines.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), a former renewable energy executive, told Siegel he’s not interested in the GOP’s “pay now, win later” deal.


Under the leadership of the dirty former Obama official Jason Grumet, the American Clean Power Association lobbying group is becoming a pure fracked-gas greenwashing operation for its roster of fossil-giant member companies. Grumet’s latest hire is the slimy Frank Macchiarola, the American Petroleum Institute’s senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs. Macchiarola’s career has entirely been one of promoting fracking and attacking renewable energy.

Defenders of Wildlife laid off 15 staffers last week, including the DOW union’s chief organizer, Heidi Ridgley.

On Monday night, the U.S. Forest Service re-issued approval for the construction of the fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline through Appalachia’s Jefferson National Forest, despite two court rulings determining the developers had “inadequately considered” the project’s environmental impact.

Ben Goldfarb profiles the handful of humans trying to save the Behren’s silverspot, the Myrtle’s silverspot, and the Uncompahgre fritillary.

This morning, Senate Environment chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) held a hearing on clean-energy permitting reform with White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Brenda Mallory, Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council director Christine Harada, and Office of Management and Budget deputy director Jason Miller. Carper’s first question recognized the importance of early engagement with affected communities in the permitting process.

Mallory’s new lead on environmental permitting, as of May 22nd, will be Hill veteran Ana Unruh Cohen, of late the staff director for the now defunct House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Carper is working on his own version of a permit reform plan, as are several Senate Republicans. According to Roll Call’s David Jordan, Manchin’s “goal is to have a compromise bill on the floor before the chamber leaves town for its August recess.”

In the House, Republicans marked up legislation to overturn Biden’s recent protection of Minnesota wilderness from mining (H.Con.Res. 34); to reverse the Cottonwood decision requiring the U.S. Forest Service to reinitiate Endangered Species Act consultation on completed forest plans when a new species is listed (H.R. 200); to use wildfires as an excuse to increase logging near endangered sequoias (H.R. 2989); and to override pollution controls on fire retardant (H.R. 1586).

In the House Oversight committee, subcommittee chair Pat Fallon (R-Texas) went up against ranking member Cori Bush (D-Mo.) in a hearing on the Biden administration’s electric vehicle push. Meanwhile, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) chaired a hearing on FEMA’s strategic five-year plan for disaster preparedness, and Tracey Mann (R-Ks.) hosts CAFO lobbyists.

In the afternoon, Senate Foreign Relations interviews Jennifer M. Adams, the foreign-service nominee to be ambassador to Cabo Verde, an archipelagic nation trying to go fully renewable, as well as the ambassadorial nominees for Micronesia, Laos, North Korea, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Tomorrow, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds its monthly meeting, with plans to approve several more fracked-gas projects. Climate activists are gathering to protest the fossil-fueled FERC starting at 7 am.

Politico is hosting an “energy summit” in the afternoon with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), White House economist Heather Boushey, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, DOE Loan Programs Office Director Jigar Shah, and many other clean-energy luminaries. The summit is PRESENTED BY fossil-fuel utility Southern Company, famed for financing climate denial for decades, and tar-sands and natural-gas pipeline company TC Energy, which has just finished cleaning its latest megaspill from the Keystone Pipeline. Be sure to check it out!

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