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The Week in Climate Hearings: Heading for Disaster

Woke capitalism, fire weather, and FEMA

Climate Finance

This week, House Republicans on the Financial Services Committee are going after “woke capitalism”! They’re hoping to exploit the Rupert Murdoch-media campaign against corporate environmental, social, and governance policies, also known as responsible investing, to push limits on corporate regulation and shareholder democracy. Their hearing on Wednesday morning, Examining Environmental and Social Policy in Financial Regulation, targets the Securities Exchange Commission with a raft of legislation obviously written by corporate lobbyists. Some of the bills would allow companies to ignore ignore all “environmental, social, or political” shareholder proposals.

Oh look, corporate lobbyists Lawrence Cunningham and Ted Allen are testifying! In a recent letter, Cunningham slagged the SEC’s proposed climate disclosure policy as “overzealous rulemaking that exceeds its authority” that was “heavily influenced by a small but powerful cohort of environmental activists.”

Cunningham and Allen will be joined by a pair of Exxon and Koch-backed activists—the Manhattan Institute’s James Copland and the American Enterprise Institute’s Benjamin Zycher, who has moved from tobacco denial to climate denial.

Although there isn’t much information available, the housing and insurance subcommittee is apparently holding a related anti-ESG hearing on Friday.

Climate Envoy John Kerry

On Thursday morning, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry faces the House Foreign Affairs oversight subcommittee to discuss the State Department’s climate agenda. The subcommittee chair Brian Mast (R-Fla.) is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus (sic) but also a firm supporter of Donald Trump. Ranking member Jason Crow (D-Colo.) is one of the House’s more vigorous climate hawks.

Disaster Relief

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Small Business Committee is marking up S. 943, the Small Business Disaster Damage Fairness Act of 2023, and S. 1763, the Small Business Wildfire Smoke Recovery Act, among other pieces of legislation.

On Thursday morning, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell testifies before the House Homeland Security emergency management subcommittee, chaired by Long Island’s Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), with ranking member Troy Carter (D-La.).

Fire Weather

On Wednesday morning, the science committee is holding a hearing on enhancing fire weather prediction and coordination, with Oklahoma state forester Mark Goeller, drone imagery entrepreneur James Peverill, and wildfire dynamicist Dr. Ali Tohidi. My fire weather prediction: There will be lots more.

Coal, Oil, and Gas

On Wednesday morning, the House Natural Resources subcommittee on energy and mineral resources will hold an oversight hearing titled “Examining the Biden Administration’s Record on Federal Coal Leasing.” Chair Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) has invited the coal-industry boosters Randall Luthi, the Wyoming energy advisor; Matthew Adams of the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, which runs the massive Four Corners Power Plant fueled by coal from the open-pit Navajo Mine in New Mexico; and John Driscoll of the Port of Mobile, which derives huge revenues from the MacDuffie Coal Terminal fed by Alabama metallurgical coal. The Democratic witness is Sara Kendall, executive director of the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) will chair a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on pending public lands, forests, and mining legislation, including her End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2023 (S. 1622) and Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) Mining Schools Act of 2023 (S. 912), which would spend $10 million a year on promoting mining in higher education.

The vast MacDuffie Coal Terminal in the Port of Mobile. Credit: Healthy Gulf

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