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The Week in Climate Hearings: Inappropriations

GOP vs. Iran and the IRA

Iran’s missile assault against Israel pushed the Republican plans to launch an all-out attack against high-efficiency washing machines off the agenda. The House will now consider several Republican anti-Iran bills instead. Congress is planning to take next week off, so Tuesday through Thursday are extra busy, no celebrating Emancipation Day for Capitol staffers.

As discussed earlier, the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Money Fund are this week, with climate protests planned for Friday, April 19th.

Possum Blockade

Activists block construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, April 11, 2024. Inside the possum blockade: couple Ted Glick and Jane Califf.

Climate Hearings This Week

Unnatural Resources

The House Committee on Natural Resources has a consequential week, starting with a Tuesday morning markup of nine pieces of legislation. The four controversial bills are:

Then on Wednesday morning, Rep. Westerman is back in a federal lands subcommittee hearing using wildfires to justify weakening environmental restrictions on logging national forests. Westerman’s unnumbered draft bill will be discussed by National Forest deputy chief Chris French, several logging industry advocates, and forest scientist and activist Dr. Kimiko Barrett.

And on Thursday morning, the energy subcommittee criticizes the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management assessments of oil and gas reserves on the Outer Continental Shelf, with three oil industry boosters and Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum.

More Climate Hearings

A Tuesday morning Senate Foreign Relations business meeting on a backlog of nominees and legislation includes consideration of S.618, the United States Foundation for International Conservation Act. There will also be votes on ambassadorial picks for countries from Albania to Zimbabwe and several other top foreign policy and trade positions.

Speaking of which, at the same time the House Ways and Means Committee will review the Biden administration’s trade policy agenda with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

On Wednesday, House Republicans are looking to roll back Biden climate initiatives. At 10 am, the Financial Services Committee is conducting a markup of five congressional resolutions to overturn the SEC’s corporate climate disclosure rule and Treasury’s banking climate risk rule, among other legislation, and Ways and Means is marking up two bills limiting the Clean Vehicle Tax Credit from the Inflation Reduction Act by tightening rules against foreign components in EVs qualifying for the credit.

Also at 10 am, the Senate environment committee considers the renomination of Christopher Hanson as chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the House Transportation railroads subcommittee examines the commuter rail industry with officials from Denver, northern Indiana, south Florida, the Northeast Corridor, and southern California.

On Thursday at 9 am, the House Oversight’s energy subcommittee questions the DOE Office of Fossil Energy’s Brad Crabtree about the Biden Administration’s pause on liquified natural gas exports.

Budget Hearings

Tyndall Air Force Base wreckage

Tyndall Air Force Base, destroyed by 2018’s Hurricane Michael.

Budget season continues with a backbreaking load of hearings for appropriators.

On Tuesday at 3 pm, the House Armed Services Committee will review the budget for Department of Defense Energy, Installations, and Environment Programs with the climate resilience officers of the armed forces: Brendan Owens, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment, and his counterparts in the branches, the Army’s Rachel Jacobson, the Navy’s Meredith Berger, and the Air Force’s Ravi Chaudhary. As Owens will testify:

“The number of incidents where hurricanes, flooding and wildfire have left billion-plus dollar recovery actions in their wake is increasing at an unsustainable rate (e.g., $1 billion at Offutt Air Force Base, $3 billion at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, and over $4 billion at Tyndall Air Force Base). . . . The reality of a changing climate poses a range of risks to Department readiness and threatens installation resilience through dangerous heat, flooding, drought, wildland fire, and extreme weather.”

Owens is also responsible for Defense’s gargantuan task of decontaminating military bases of PFAS. Over 81 percent of military sites have water contaminated with these highly toxic “forever chemicals.”

Other climate-related appropriations hearings on Tuesday:

On Wednesday at 9:30 am, House Appropriations looks at the Army Corps of Engineers (Civil Works) and the Bureau of Reclamation budget with Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water & Science Michael Brain, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael C. Connor, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon.

The FY 2025 budget provides $7.2 billion for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation. The leadership of the Corps and BOR recognize their agencies are key to the nation’s climate resilience, from withstanding climate disasters to generating renewable energy.

More on Wednesday and Thursday with House appropriators:

The Climate Politics Almanac’s weekly reviews of climate hearings on the Hill would not be possible without the generous support of subscribers like you.

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