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The Week in Climate Hearings: Burning Issues

REINS Act, gas stoves, EPA's climate-pollution rules

On Tuesday, the House will hold a hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse pollution rules for power plants. Tuesday also marks the last day to register to speak at next week’s virtual public hearing on the rules.

The House of Representatives will take up two pieces of legislation this week to roll back the ability of the federal government to regulate anything, as well as two pieces of legislation to specifically prevent the government from establishing rules to protect people from the hazardous and wasteful pollution from gas stoves.

The bills approved on Monday afternoon by the House Rules Committee for floor votes this week are:

  • H.R. 277 – REINS Act of 2023, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law

  • H.R. 288 – Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2023, which requires courts to decide de novo all questions of law, including the interpretation of statutes, rules, and guidance, without agency deference (see this previous discussion of the Supreme Court’s work on this front)

  • H.R. 1615 – Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, which prohibits the Consumer Product Safety Commission from using federal funds to (1) regulate gas stoves as a banned hazardous product, or (2) issue or enforce a product safety standard that prohibits the use or sale of gas stoves or substantially increases their price

  • H.R. 1640 – Save Our Gas Stoves Act, which prohibits the Secretary of Energy from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing the proposed rule titled “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Conventional Cooking Products” or any energy conservation standard if it is likely to result in the unavailability of a type (or class) of product based on what type of fuel that product consumes

Tuesday, June 6

In the morning, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) chairs an all-white-male energy and commerce subcommittee hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse pollution standards for the power sector. Patrick O’Laughlin, the CEO of Ohio’s Buckeye Power, and others will claim the EPA’s rules phasing out high-polluting coal plants over the next 15 years will be impossible to meet. The Democratic witness, Jay Duffy of the Clean Air Task Force, will argue the EPA plan is too weak. As Vox’s Rebecca Leber has explained, the EPA plan is too weak. A week later, the EPA will begin a three-day virtual hearing to receive public comment on the proposed rules; Tuesday, June 6 is the last day to register to speak.

The Environment subcommittee of the House Science Committee receives testimony from state climatologists, a California state water resources manager, and a corporate meteorologist on the reauthorization of the Weather Act.

House Natural Resources receives testimony from NOAA deputy administrator Janet Coit, marine scientist and cetacean-risk specialist Jessica Redfern, and commercial boating lobbyists on whether we can afford to stop running over the dwindling population of right whales.

In the afternoon, a trio of climate deniers at organizations attached to Koch Industries—the Independent Women’s Forum’s Mandy Gunasekara, Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Jason Isaac, and Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore—will testify before House Oversight on the evils of compliance with environmental, social, and governance policies, also known either as “responsible investing” or “woke capitalism.” The Democratic witness is former Maryland attorney general Brian Frosh, who has called for mandatory climate risk disclosure and pressed federal agencies to incorporate climate justice into their rulemakings.

Wednesday, June 7

In the morning, Senate Agriculture subcommittee chair John Fetterman (D-Pa.) holds a hearing on the horticulture title of the Farm Bill, with testimony from mushroom and vegetable farmers and sustainable agriculture scientist Dr. Margaret Leigh Worthington.

Senate Budget chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) continues the farming theme with an all-white-male hearing on agriculture and conservation with agricultural economist Brandon Willis, Minnesota farmer Martin Larsen, Iowa Farm Bureau president Brent Johnson, and CAFO operator Bryan Sievers.

Senate environment chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) receives testimony from Everglades advocate Eric Eikenberg, Phoenix city environmental manager Tricia Balluff, and South Carolina environmental manager Lorianne Riggin on ecosystem restoration projects of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

In the afternoon, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement hosts a panel of Trump-and-Bush-administration white supremacists about immigration enforcement. The witnesses include Trump’s former Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, now at the openly nativist America First Policy Institute; Trump’s former Acting Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Joseph Edlow; and Bush administration torture official Steven Bradbury, now at the Heritage Foundation.

Thursday, June 8

At 10 AM, Senate Energy and Natural Resources chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) chairs a hearing on the federal response to escalating wildfires; one might expect that he will not be the first Democrat to discuss how the rise in wildfires is caused by the surging pollution from the burning of fossil fuels.

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