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The Week in Climate Hearings: Risk Management

RMP, Hands Off Our Home Appliances, and Kris Sarri

White House climate advisor John Podesta, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods

White House climate advisor John Podesta, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, and another old white guy

White House climate advisor John Podesta and ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods spoke together today at the Milken Institute Global Conference, as did Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), DOE Loan Programs Office Director Jigar Shah and Chevron CEO Michael Wirth.1

Woods, whose company organized a conspiracy to block climate action for decades, complained “the world is way behind” on addressing the climate crisis, saying “there’s a need to do more math.”

The attendees did not discuss how the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the whose approval Manchin forced as part of the Inflation Reduction Act deal, ruptured during pressure testing last week, or the 4-year-old boy swept to his death by flash floods in Texas yesterday (though Podesta did talk about the rising extreme weather around the globe).

This premier neoliberal conference, taking place this week in Los Angeles, also features Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, neo-fascist Argentinian President Javier Milei and neo-Nazi-friendly billionaire Elon Musk. Attendees can meet Jeff Goodell and get a signed copy of his book The Heat Will Kill You First and party with Reggie Watts.

Back on the Hill, House Republicans are planning on moving a bill attacking energy-efficient appliances to the floor and criticizing the EPA’s new chemical production safety rules in an energy and commerce hearing. Administration officials on the Hill for budget hearings this week include EPA administrator Michael Regan, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Monday, May 6

At 4 pm, the House Rules Committee makes a second go at Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) Mining Regulatory Clarity Act (H.R. 2925), which died on the House floor last week due to bipartisan opposition. The committee is also moving forward with Rep. Debbie Lesko’s (R-Nev.) Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act (H.R. 6192), which would greatly restrict energy-efficiency standards for appliances from dishwashers to stoves.

Tuesday, May 7

At 10 am, the House Energy and Commerce environment and manufacturing subcommittee holds a hearing on the EPA’s new Risk Management Program rules, critical safety procedures for chemical plants and oil refineries. The Republican witnesses are Gentner Drummond, the Oklahoma Attorney General, who will testify the rules are “openly hostile to America’s oil and gas industry”; and petrochemical industry representatives Jatin Shah and Richard Erstad. The United Steelworkers’ Jim Savage, who barely survived a hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit explosion at an oil refinery in 2019, will testify in support of the EPA’s updated rule on hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit standards.

Also at 10 am, House appropriators meet with Scott Nathan, CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, The DFC invests in energy, climate, and mining projects around the world.

At 10:15 am, the House Natural Resources Committee will mark up non-contentious legislation on the Alabama Underwater Forest National Marine Sanctuary, Delaware River Basin conservation, and American Samoa home rule.

Wednesday, May 8

It’s a busy day of budget hearings as the Senate returns to work. In the morning:

In the afternoon, Senate appropriators chaired by Jack Reed (D-R.I.) interview the heads of the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Government Publishing Office on their budget. The GAO, led by Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, has a comprehensive list of recommendations for improving federal climate resilience. The CBO, led by the Republican economist Phil Swagel, assesses the costs and benefits of climate policy and of the costs of inaction.

The member day for requesting earmarks in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations is in the morning and the member day for Commerce, Justice, Science, and related agencies is in the afternoon.

Thursday, May 9

At 10 am, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets with Kris Sarri, the president’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, a key international climate policy position. A lifelong conservation advocate, Sarri worked Sen. Reed’s office, in the Obama Interior Department, and as the head of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Also at the nomination hearing is virologist John Nkengasong, the current U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, nominated to be Ambassador-At-Large for Global Health Security and Diplomacy.

Also at 10, Senate appropriators discuss the Department of Labor budget with acting Secretary Julie Su. The Department of Labor is not directly funding the Climate Corps program. The budget does provide an increase of $50 million (out of a budget of $13.9 billion) in apprenticeship programs in support of clean energy and climate-related industries and occupations.

At 9:30 am, House appropriators hold their member day for Interior and Environment earmark requests.


1  Speaking of Chevron, the oil giant is sponsoring the Punchbowl and Axios Generate newsletters this week. Unlike our competitors, Hill Heat isn’t funded by the fossil-fuel industry, but by subscribers like you.

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