The Black Knight always triumphs


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The California Air Resources Board is meeting this morning in Sacramento to discuss its 2022 Scoping Plan, a blueprint for the next 20 years of climate policy in California. The draft plan sets a vague target of “carbon neutrality” by 2045, a vision of expanded fracked-gas plants with the pipe dream of carbon sequestration for oil refineries. The California Environmental Justice Alliance has been pushing hard against the plan and is rallying folks at today’s meeting for a phase-out of fossil-fuel production by 2030. California residents can submit comments to CARB through a Sierra Club petition site.

Negotiations on the corpse of the Build Back Better legislation continue, where by that I mean that yet more elements have been jettisoned in the futile effort to appease Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Coal). Now it’s the tax-credit for union-made electric vehicles and direct payment of clean energy tax credits. It’s just a flesh wound! Chicken! Chicken!

The House Science Committee is following up its devastating investigation of untracked methane pollution with a hearing today assessing the federal programs for measuring greenhouse pollution, led by Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.). Government scientists Eric Lin (NIST), Ariel Stein (NOAA), Karen St. Germain (NASA), and Bryan Hubbell (EPA) will be testifying.

U.S. PIRG, Environment America, and Frontier Group have collaborated on a timely report on the deadly and untracked methane pipeline infrastructure:

From 2010 through nearly the end of 2021, almost 2,600 pipeline incidents related to the release of gas occurred in the United States that were serious enough to be reported to the federal government, 328 of which resulted in explosions. Those explosions and fires killed 122 people and injured 603.

The amount of gas leaking to the environment is far greater than captured in federal leak reporting or emissions estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A 2020 study, for example, estimated that there are more than a half million leaks in local gas distribution systems in the U.S., and that leakage from these systems was five times greater than the amount estimated by the EPA.

FEMA resilience director David Maurstad is testifying on FEMA’s plan to reform the troubled National Flood Insurance Program before the Senate Banking Committee.

Career diplomat Geoffrey Pyatt is appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination to Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, a role which has only existed since 2012 and only been filled since 2018. The fracking executive Amos Hochstein was nominated by President Barack Obama for the role in 2015, but his nomination was ignored by the Senate. Hochstein is now Biden’s top international energy advisor, in a non-Senate-confirmed role. Pyatt was ambassador to Ukraine for most of President Obama’s second term, then served as ambassador to Greece until May 2022. If confirmed, Pyatt will oversee the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, managing billions of dollars in international fossil and renewable energy projects, and be the U.S. representative at the International Energy Agency.

The FY 2023 appropriations crunch continues with the full-committee markup of the agriculture and military construction bills this morning, and the subcommittee markups of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development budgets and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education budgets. The transportation mark allocates 5 percent of its infrastructure funding to public and rapid transit, so I can’t say we’re really moving the needle there.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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