Running up that hill

Green New Dealers fight Manchin's poison pills as the ocean turns into a hot tub


The Green New Deal happy hour last night was a celebratory and serious affair, with a wide array of good people arriving by Metro and bicycle to a subway-car-turned-bar. The theme of the evening, with carbon-juiced thunderstorms looming on the horizon, was the necessity of alliance between environmentalists and labor. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) talked about passing a climate bill that will make the Inflation Reduction Act look small; Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) expanded on the vision of the Green New Deal. And labor representatives from the UPS, SAG-AFTRA, Starbucks, and Wabtec locomotive fights rallied the crowd.

Workers with UE Locals 506 and 618 at the Erie, Pa. Wabtec plant have been on strike for a month, fighting for good green jobs: both for better wages and also for a corporate commitment to build more low-and-zero-pollution Tier 4 locomotives. You can support their strike fund here.

SPOTTED: Sunrise spokesperson JP Mejia, who just turned 21; WE ACT’s Manny Salgado and Jasmine Jennings; LA Sierra Club chapter director Morgan Goodwin; Grow Progress’s Yoav Magid; and many more.

Climate hawks in the House are declaring war on Sen. Joe Manchin’s fossil-fuel poison pills in the Inflation Reduction Act, which require oil and gas lease sales before wind and solar projects can be approved. The CLEAN Energy NOW Acts, introduced today, would strip that language:

The Comprehensive Legislation for Expanding and Advancing Nonrestrictive (CLEAN) Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), repeals paragraph (1) of Section 50265(b) of the IRA to end the mandate that DOI hold an onshore oil and gas lease sale in the 120 days prior to issuing an onshore solar or wind right of way.

The Nonrestrictive Offshore Wind (NOW) Act, introduced by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), repeals paragraph (2) of Section 50265(b) of the IRA to end the mandate that DOI hold an offshore oil and gas lease sale in the year prior to issuing an offshore wind lease.

The bills have about two dozen original co-sponsors.

This morning, Manchin is chairing yet another one of his “all of the above” hearings, with Opportunities for Congress to Reform the Process for Permitting Electric Transmission Lines, Pipelines, and Energy Production on Federal Lands. Not satisfied with President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) attaching his polluter-permitting priorities to the IRA and the debt ceiling bill, Manchin is working with the Republicans to push for further stripping of environmental protections. Witnesses include fossil-fuel lobbyists Antonio Smyth of coal-and-gas-dominated American Electric Power, Kelly Speakes-Backman of natural-gas-heavy Invenergy, Chad Teply of Williams, Erik Milito of the Ocean Industries Association, and Pete Obermueller of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, and Republican fossil-fuel ally Jason Stanek.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, still without a full membership as Biden has not yet even nominated a replacement for Manchin-deposed Rich Glick, holds its monthly meeting tomorrow. Schumer has sent FERC a letter calling on the commission to strengthen its electric transmission rules.

At 9:40 am, Senate Budget chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) counters with his latest climate hearing, The Fiscal Consequences of Climate Change on Infrastructure. His witnesses include Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-La.), long-time energy policy expert Susan Tierney, Tulane climate adaptation professor Jesse Keenan, and electric utility CEO Linda Apsey. The Republican witness is former Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Donald Trump staffer Alexander Herrgott.

This evening, Whitehouse is holding a virtual climate town hall with Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) and Earthjustice president Abbie Dillen and environmental justice leader Mustafa Santiago Ali.

This morning, Senate Environment chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) held a markup of bills to reduce diesel pollution, reauthorize the WILD Act, and protect coastal habitat, before holding a hearing on recycling e-waste to reduce the need for mining critical minerals.

In the afternoon, Environment’s clean air subcommittee chair Ed Markey (D-Mass.) chairs a hearing on reducing air pollution from trains, with environmental justice activist Ivette Torres, railworker labor leader Carl Rosen, and railroad lobbyist Ian Jefferies testifying. Of course, while it’s critically important to electrify the train network, it doesn’t help that much if cleaner trains used to transport coal, tar-sands oil, vinyl chloride, and liquefied natural gas.

Additionally, Indian Affairs chair Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) holds a hearing on Native priorities for the Farm Bill reauthorization, and Foreign Relations chair Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) interviews civil servant Dennis Hankins to be ambassador to Haiti, Latino Democratic operative Nathalie Rayes to be ambassador to Croatia, and Obama-diplomat-turned-corporate-lobbyist James O’Brien to be the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

At 10:15 in the morning, the House Natural Resources committee is marking up controversial Republican bills to exempt cell towers from environmental permitting and change water-rights payments, as well as several other non-controversial federal lands, wildfire, and habitat bills.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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