Polluters Over People

H.R.1, Russian roulette, and other things to not think about too much


Cherry blossoms on the Potomac today.

With the temperature hitting an eye-popping 83°, Thursday, March 23rd was peak bloom for the Tidal Basin cherry trees, two weeks before the historical average. Just enjoy the early beauty; don’t think about it too much.

Other things not to think about too much: Twenty-six people are dead after massive tornadoes struck Mississippi and Alabama as part of a massive storm on Friday night, obliterating the majority-Black towns of Rolling Fork and Silver City in the Mississippi delta.

Europe’s parched winter is presaging a deadly summer of wildfire. And summer begins in March: Spain’s first major wildfire of the year raged in the eastern Valencia region on Friday, destroying over 7,000 acres.

For what it’s worth,1 President Joe Biden now says it had been his “strong inclination” to disapprove the ConocoPhillips Willow oil drilling project but he says the lawyers changed his mind.

In February, the European Parliament voted to phase out gas-powered cars; but Germany has rescinded its backing for the law, gaining a loophole for “CO2-neutral” fuels.

On the upside, meet Scotland’s new leader, Humza Yousaf:

“My top priority as your next First Minister would be to build the energy security Scotland so desperately needs through a revolutionary increase in our green energy capacity.”

A post shared by Molly Lawless (@hoorayformollywood)


It’s another busy week for climate hearings on Capitol Hill, as House Republicans move to hold a floor vote on their cartoonish pro-polluter bill, H.R. 1. The legislation, which Republicans have dubbed the Lower Energy Costs Act and Democrats are calling the Polluters Over People Act, is an omnibus of radical giveaways to extractive industries, primarily oil and gas. The bill repeals incentives for electrification, weakens water and air pollution rules, mandates rapid oil and gas leasing on land and sea, repeals the tax on methane pollution, eliminates the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, provides carve-outs from pollution regulation for all fossil-fuel infrastructure, and eliminates controls on the export and import of liquefied natural gas.

This afternoon, the House Rules Committee began its hearing on the bill and the amendments filed by members; the meeting on the amendments was gaveled to a close at 9 pm. Republicans will stay on message in committee hearings this week promoting small businesses that happen to be fracking businesses and blaming Biden’s energy policy for inflation.

While House Republicans host a fossil-fuel fest for their funders, Senate Democrats are chairing several hearings on the costs of our dependence on petrochemicals:

On Tuesday, East Palestine’s member of Congress, Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), the chair of the environment and manufacturing subcommittee of the House energy committee, holds a hearing on the government response to the Norfolk Southern disaster, with officials from the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA. Trumper Max Miller (R-Ohio), chair of House Science’s environment subcommittee, holds a hearing promoting the Weather Act, which is pushing the privatization of weather satellites and data collection. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) convenes highway-construction lobbyists for a hearing on the implementation of the infrastructure act.

On Thursday, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) chairs an Agriculture subcommittee hearing on the Farm Bill and forests, where the threat of global warming to our forests will be used as justification to subsidize the timber industry accelerating logging.

And the cavalcade of budget hearings continues:

And then there’s that small chunk of the budget ($842 billion) going to the Department of Defense. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs chair Mark Milley testify before Senate Armed Services on Tuesday and House Armed Services on Wednesday. There are also hearings for the Air Force ($215 billion) and the Space Force ($30 billion); the Navy and Marine Corps ($255.8 billion); and the Army ($185.5 billion).

Oxford as a chess opening is a stretch, but otherwise…

Shannon Osaka’s Washington Post piece criticizing climate “doomism” has this optimistic take from Zeke Hausfather:

“It’s not like 1.9C is not an existential risk and 2.1C is. It’s more that we’re playing Russian roulette with the climate.”

That’s a relief!

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1 Not much!

2 Raimi prepared his master’s thesis on the potential social impacts of fracking in North Carolina for state officials including David Rouzer (R-N.C.), the sea-level-rise denying politician who is now the chair of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

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