Cry Me a River, Jordan

FERC fracks, election updates, Hill action


Speaker pro tem Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and not-Speaker Jim Jordan checking the memes

Rep. Jim “Gym” Jordan (R-Ohio), like Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) before him, has given up his attempt to become the Speaker of the House after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and other malcontents deposed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). After two failed ballots, Jordan finally recognized he does not have the unified support of the Republican caucus. He’s now backing a proposal from the center-right Republican Governance Group caucus to extend the powers of Speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who was hand-picked by McCarthy to fill in. As mentioned before, corporate Democrats have been pushing a plan to keep McHenry on as Speaker pro tem, but on a tight, bipartisan leash.

Any compromise that would let Democrats sign on to keeping a Republican in power would likely lose Republican votes, so it’s still very unclear what plan can achieve a majority vote, and the House remains at a standstill, except for the stray committee hearings as discussed below.

At today’s monthly meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the certificate for TC Energy’s GTN Xpress natural gas pipeline expansion in the Pacific Northwest, which is vigorously opposed by Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and has drawn official complaints from the states of California, Oregon, and Washington for increasing smog and climate pollution. The case, docket number CP22-2-000, was easily approved at the brief meeting. “There was no evidence presented that this project would significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions,” FERC chair Willie Phillips told reporters, without evidence.

ELECTIONS UPDATE: Recent elections around the globe have been good for the extremist right:

  • Ecuador is back to banana republic status, with banana heir Daniel Naboa winning the presidency over leftist Luisa González

  • After Jacinda Ardern stepped down as prime minister, New Zealand took a hard turn to the right, backing the right-wing National and Act parties in a “bloodbath” for Labour

  • In Louisiana, Donald Trump-backed Jeff Landry, the state attorney general, took a majority of the vote in the primary to win the governorship outright, without needing to go to a general run-off. Climate hawk Dustin Granger is still in the running for the state treasurer race, though.

In one positive result, a record turnout in Poland driven by youth and women denied the ruling neo-fascist PiS party a majority, allowing former Prime Minister Donald Tusk to lead a center-left, pro-European Union coalition and away from Poland’s lurch towards autocracy.

In other election news, climate hawk Ron Harris, the former Minneapolis chief resilience officer, is running for the seat now held by Rep. Dean Phillips’ (D-Minn.), as the schnapps-and-gelato entrepreneur Phillips mulls a primary bid against President Joe Biden.

Lead Locally has announced its down-ballot Green New Deal slate for elections this fall. The 36 candidates include candidates for mayor of Tuscon, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Marlborough, Mass., for the Virginia House of Delegates, and for city councils and planning commissions from Louisiana to Utah. You can contribute to these critical climate races here.

This morning, the House Natural Resources Federal Lands subcommittee heard testimony on three anti-migrant bills. The titles of the legislation drive home the ideological project: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’s (R-Staten Island) “Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023,” Rep. Tom Tiffany’s (R-Wisc.) “Trash Reduction And Suppressing Harm from Environmental Degradation (TRASHED) at the Border Act,” and Rep. Bruce Westerman’s (R-Ark.) “Ensuring Border Access and Protection on Federal Land Act.” Given these members’ districts, one might think they’re primarily concerned by the dangers of the undermilitarized Canadian border, but no. Westerman’s bill would waive protections against habitat destruction to authorize a continuous road along the entire southern border, and Malliotakis’s bill would prevent the United States from providing housing to migrants on federal lands.

At 10 am, Senate Energy chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) led a hearing on the Department of Energy’s grant-making programs funded by Biden’s major infrastructure bills, with DOE witnesses David Crane, Under Secretary for Infrastructure, Jigar Shah, Director of the Loan Programs Office, and Inspector General Teri Donaldson.

Also at 10 am, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee interviewed the career diplomats who are Biden’s ambassadorial nominees to Somalia, Liberia, and EgyptRichard H. Riley IV, State Department spokesman and former Liberian Peace Corps volunteer Mark Toner, and Kurdish-American Herro Mustafa Garg respectively.

At 10:30 am, House Energy and Commerce energy, climate, and grid security subcommittee helda hearing on “the role of artificial intelligence in powering America’s energy future,” because House Republicans missed the opportunity to hold an equivalently nonsensical hearing touting blockchain for the energy sector before the crypto bubble burst.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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