Politics Overnight Energy: EPA pledges new focus on environmental justice | Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers | Biden administration asks court to toss kids' climate lawsuit
Biden to propose $2 trillion infrastructure, jobs plan funded by corporate tax hike
The White House is comparing President Joe Biden's infrastructure proposal to the construction of interstate highways and the Space Race.The White House is billing the proposal, dubbed the American Jobs Plan, as a domestic investment not seen in the U.S. since the construction of the interstate highways in the 1950s and the Space Race a decade later.
IT IS WEDNESDAY, MY DUDES. Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.
Today the a new focus on environmental justice, on the firing of Trump-appointed environmental advisers and the Biden administration says an amended climate change lawsuit from children a second time.
Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at . Follow her on Twitter: . Reach Zack Budryk at or follow him on Twitter: . Signup for our newsletter and others .
OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden faces big decision on Dakota Access Pipeline | Intel community warns of fragile future shaped by pandemics, climate change | Haaland meets with Utah politicians, tribes as Biden weighs monument change
IT'S THURSDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE. Today we're looking at a major decision the Biden administration is expected to make tomorrow on the Dakota Access Pipeline, an intelligence report warning of pandemic and climate impacts, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland's visit to Utah.
THE NEEDS OF THE MANY: EPA to step up enforcement in overburdened areas
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Wednesday it would boost enforcement of environmental laws in areas that face disproportionate impacts from pollution as part of several actions the Biden administration plans to take to advance equity.
The EPA also said it would look at the impacts of potential regulations on underserved, overburdened and tribal communities and consider options that most benefit them, as well as engaging with these communities.
Officials said they will further prioritize benefits to underserved communities in the grant process "to the extent allowed by law."
"Too many communities whose residents are predominantly of color, Indigenous, or low-income continue to suffer from disproportionately high pollution levels and the resulting adverse health and environmental impacts," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a message to all agency staff, according to an EPA press release.
Biden infrastructure plan includes massive spending and regulations to curb climate change
President Joe Biden is aiming to deliver on many of his climate change campaign promises with a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan to help the country recover from the pandemic. © Provided by Washington Examiner The comprehensive plan, which Biden will unveil in Pittsburgh later Wednesday, includes significant funding to electrify transportation, eliminate carbon emissions from the power sector, and build up U.S. capacity to manufacture clean energy technology such as electric car batteries, according to a White House fact sheet.
"We must do better. This will be one of my top priorities as Administrator, and I expect it to be one of yours as well," he added.
What prompted the move?: The EPA said its actions were part of a response to a January executive order that directs agencies to "work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity."
Studies have shown that that low-income communities and communities of color face greater pollution impacts.
WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT: Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers
Two Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee said Wednesday that they are looking into the Biden administration's decision to reconstitute two key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory groups, dismissing 40 appointees of former President Trump.
Overnight Energy: Biden clean electricity standard faces high hurdles | Appeals court agrees to pause lawsuit over Trump-era emissions rule | US, UAE say they'll invest in Middle East decarbonization
WEREN'T WE JUST HERE? Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.Today, a major Biden administration campaign promise on clean power has a fight ahead of it; a lawsuit over a Trump administration emissions rule is on hold; and John Kerry talks decarbonization in the Middle East.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Reps. James Comer (Ky.) and Ralph Norman (S.C.) criticized the move as an apparent "political purge."
"We are conducting oversight of your decision to abruptly fire all Trump administration appointed members of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and Science Advisory Board (SAB)," Comer and Norman wrote.
"The midterm firing of science advisory board members within the first months of a new Administration demonstrates a deeply troubling partisan political agenda," they added.
CASAC advises the agency on technical aspects of its air quality standards, and SAB reviews scientific information used by the agency in rulemaking.
What answers are Republicans seeking?: In their letter, the lawmakers asked for documents related to the decision, including any communications with the White House on it.
"As such, we request documents and information about the decision to fire these officials, including the process used for this unprecedented decision," they added.
OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court sides with Georgia over Florida in long-fought water war | FEMA unveils new flood insurance calculation it says will be more equitable | Energy Dept. pushes to reverse Trump-era rule on efficiency standards
HAPPY THURSDAY!!! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack. Signup for our newsletter and others HERE. Today we're looking at the Supreme Court siding with Georgia in its water dispute with Florida, changes to the National Flood Insurance Program and an Energy Department move toward making it easier to set energy efficiency standards.
ARE YOU KIDDING?: Biden administration asks court to toss kids' climate lawsuit
The Biden administration on Tuesday called on a U.S. district court to reject a second attempt by a group of children to sue the U.S. government over climate change.
The original lawsuit, filed in 2015 by 21 children and their allies, sought to force the government to phase out fossil fuel emissions. In 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.
The 21 plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States filed a request in March to file a narrower, amended complaint. In its Tuesday filing, the government argued the proposed new filing would still lack standing under the 2020 ruling.
What does the government say is the issue?: "[T]he proposed amendment would be futile in this case because Plaintiffs' new requests for declaratory relief are not materially different from their old ones," it states. The filing notes that both the dismissed complaint and the proposed amendment cite the Declaratory Judgment Act and request that the court rule the government has violated the plaintiffs' rights to due process.
"Because the Ninth Circuit has already determined that Plaintiffs' request for declaratory judgment 'is not substantially likely to mitigate the plaintiffs' asserted concrete injuries,' and thus fails the first prong of the redressability test ... Plaintiffs' proposal to assert a substantially identical request for relief must be denied as futile," the filing states.
Electric vehicles and biofuel: Pentagon poised to go greener under Biden
"Where the military goes, the civilian world often follows," says one influential player helping to shape the policy.The Biden administration has made clear from the beginning that combating climate change is a top priority — and the Pentagon, the world’s single largest energy consumer, has a key role to play. The military has a record of developing new policies intended to curb greenhouse gases, and a massive budget of roughly $700 billion annually to carry them out.
MAKING THE PITCH: Biden invokes Flint water crisis in infrastructure pitch
President Biden invoked the lead exposure disaster in Flint, Mich., in a Wednesday speech pitching his infrastructure plan, saying there are "hundreds" of similar crises waiting to happen across the country.
"Everybody remembers what happened in Flint, there's hundreds of Flints all across America," he said when discussing the part of his plan that aims to eliminate all of the country's lead pipe and service lines in drinking water systems.
Biden's remarks come as Democrats and Republicans feud over the size and scope of the infrastructure package, with some GOP lawmakers arguing that the $2.25 trillion proposal goes beyond infrastructure in the strictest sense.
"How many of you know when you send your child to school, the fountain they're drinking out of is not fed by a lead pipe?" Biden asked. "How many of you know the school your child is in still has asbestos in the walls and lacks the ventilation? Is that not infrastructure?"
What's the backstory?: In 2014, the Michigan city began to get its water from the Flint River, but the water was corrosive, causing lead from pipes to get leached into the drinking water.
Lead exposure can damage children's brains and nervous systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are an estimated 6 million to 10 million lead service lines in the country.
WHEELERS UP: Wheeler, Bernhardt join Pence advocacy group
Supreme Court halts California coronavirus rules that limit home worship
This is the latest case in which the high court has barred officials from enforcing coronavirus-related restrictions applying to religious gatherings.The 5-4 unsigned opinion, published just before midnight on Friday, highlighted the deep divisions over the issue, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with three liberals who dissented. The court also noted that this was the fifth time it had overturned the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in similar cases.
Trump administration Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Trump EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler have joined the advisory board of a new political advocacy organization spearheaded by former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence said that the group, called Advancing American Freedom, will aim to defend conservative values and oppose the Biden administration.
WHAT WE'RE READING:
JPMorgan secretly emailed the Trump administration about bailing out the oil industry,
Marine species increasingly can't live at equator due to global heating,
Brazil's Bolsonaro says he could change Petrobras fuel pricing policy,
In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, proposed utility sale rekindles energy debate,
ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday...
CO2, methane emissions surged in 2020 despite pandemic: NOAA
EPA and union reach to restore 2007 contract protections
Biden invokes in infrastructure pitch
Indian prime minister country committed to Paris climate pledges
Republicans of Trump-appointed science advisers
Saks Fifth Avenue animal fur
Biden nominates as department's top lawyer
Biden administration to toss kids' climate lawsuit
EPA to enforcement in overburdened areas
FROM THE HILL'S OPINION PAGES:
In animal news...
Techies give an old fashioned Supreme Court decent marks in coding case .
Programmers say the Supreme Court, often teased for its ambivalence toward technology, got it (mostly) right in describing some nuances of software.Often teased for their ambivalence toward technology – Chief Justice John Roberts once asked a lawyer in 2010 to explain the difference between an email and a pager – the justices this week were forced to grapple with complicated programming concepts in a multi-billion-dollar copyright dispute between tech giants Google and Oracle.