Politics Overnight Energy: Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas review | Biden admin reportedly aims for 40 percent of drivers using EVs by 2030 | Lack of DOD action may have caused 'preventable' PFAS risks
Daily on Energy: Biden Gulf of Mexico drilling lease auction generates big interest
Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Newsletter Default 11-2021 AN EAGERLY AWAITED AUCTION: President Joe Biden can do no right when it comes to grappling with high energy prices. Republicans are blaming Biden’s policies, including his pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, while giving him no credit for restarting auctions, rather than doing more to fight a court order.
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Today we're looking at reported details on the Biden administration's vehicle mileage push, an inspector general probe finding that a lack of Defense Department action may have caused "preventable" PFAS risks and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland facing questions on the federal oil and gas program.
Manchin, Sinema are increasingly receiving campaign contributions from GOP donors: NYT
The two lawmakers have attended fundraisers hosted by conservative-leaning donors who are virtually absent from most Democratic political circles. As Manchin led the charge in pruning Biden's roughly $3.5 trillion infrastructure reconciliation framework down to its current price tag closer to $2 trillion this summer, he also reportedly attended a fundraiser at a $18 million mansion in Dallas which brought out GOP donors who were effusive in his efforts, according to The Times.
IN THE HOT SEAT: Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas review
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) grilled Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on the status of the Biden administration's review of oil and gas drilling on public lands in a hearing Tuesday.
"While I've supported the administration's desire to pause lease sales to make sure the American people are getting fair returns for our shared resources, we are now well - now into the early summer timeline when we were told the review would be completed," Manchin said during a Tuesday hearing on the Interior Department's fiscal 2022 budget request.
"We need a plan to move forward for responsible oil and gas leasing both onshore and offshore," he added.
Arizona and West Virginia would win big from BBB: Are Manchin and Sinema paying attention?
Do the two senators who control fate of BBB value “corporations and billionaires" over their own constituents? Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
In response, Haaland did not commit to a specific timeline but said "the review is being finalized internally and should be out very soon."
A refresher: Haaland that the administration's review of federal oil and gas leasing would be finalized in "early summer."
INDUSTRY STANDARD? Biden admin reportedly aims for 40 percent of drivers using EVs by 2030
The Biden administration is set to issue vehicle mileage standards that will first restore Obama-era standards and then exceed them, with a goal of 40 percent of U.S. drivers using electric vehicles by 2030, reported.
The rules, which would undo Trump-era rollbacks, would first apply to 2023 cars, which would be subject to California's 2019 rules cutting emissions by 3.7 percent a year. By 2025, the Obama-era level of a 5 percent annual increase would be fully restored and would continue to increase beginning in the model year 2026, according to the AP, citing four officials briefed on the plan.
Native American leaders say Chaco prayers being answered
CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK, N.M. (AP) — The stillness that enveloped Chaco Canyon was almost deafening, broken only by the sound of a raven's wings batting the air while it circled overhead. Then a chorus of leaders from several Native American tribes began to speak, their voices echoing off the nearby sandstone cliffs. They spoke of a deep connection to the canyon — the heart of Chaco Culture National Historic Park — and the importance of ensuring that oil and gas development beyond the park's boundaries does not sever that tie for future generations. © Provided by Associated Press U.S.
However, the EPA is expected to announce the requirements will begin increasing faster in 2027 in a nonbinding statement, with hopes that the pressure will nudge the vehicle industry into increasing their electric vehicle output. One of the officials told the AP the EPA will seek to request that new vehicle sales be 40 percent electric by 2030.
The agency declined The Hill's request for comment.
...and speaking of vehicles: A group of 139 Democratic lawmakers is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to "promptly" reinstate California's ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards - which is expected to increase electric vehicle adoption.
In separate letters to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on Tuesday, 26 senators and 113 House members urged the swift reversal of the Trump administration's move to revoke California's emissions standards waiver, a major climate change rollback.
NOT SO PFAST: Lack of DOD action may have caused 'preventable' PFAS risks, watchdog says
Biden administration aims for 40 percent of drivers using EVs by 2030: report
The Biden administration is set to issue vehicle mileage standards that will first restore Obama-era standards and then exceed them, with a goal of 40 percent of U.S. drivers using electric vehicles by 2030, The Associated Press reported.The rules, which would undo Trump-era rollbacks, would first apply to 2023 cars, which would be subject to California's 2019 emissions rules cutting emissions by 3.7 percent a year. By 2025, the Obama-era level of a 5 percent annual increase in fuel efficiency standards would be fully restored and would continue to go up beginning in the model year 2026, according to the AP, citing four officials briefed on the plan.
A report from an internal watchdog says that a lack of action from the Defense Department may have led to people being exposed to "preventable" risks from toxic chemicals.
The department's inspector general said in a report issued last week that in 2011, Defense officials issued an alert saying that firefighting foam that had a type of chemicals known as PFAS in it "contain[s] chemicals that present human health and environmental risks and require[s] special handling and disposal."
It said that this alert wasn't translated into action, however, because officials within the program didn't develop and present their recommendations to an emerging chemicals council - and the department was ultimately not required to act on the risk alert.
The watchdog also found that Department of Defense (DOD) officials including firefighters were not aware of the risk alert.
Taking their time: Risk management actions for PFAS in firefighting foam weren't required for several more years, until 2016.
All in all, the inspector general said that because of the lack of action "people and the environment may have been exposed to preventable risks from PFAS‑containing [firefighting foam]."
And the report generated some calls for change from Capitol Hill.
Biden sets out oil, gas leasing reform, stops short of ban
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday recommended an overhaul of the nation's oil and gas leasing program to focus on areas that are most suitable for energy development and raise costs for energy companies to drill on public lands and water. The long-awaited report by the Interior Department stops short of recommending an end to oil and gas leasing on public lands, as many environmental groups have urged. But officials said the report would move toward a more responsible leasing process that provides a better to return to U.S. taxpayers for oil and gas drilling on the nation's vast public lands and waters.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) in an interview called for a "culture change" at the department on PFAS, saying it should be achieved by making people aware of how the department is handling the issue and through top-down changes in the administration.
"We have to expose the reality of how the Department of Defense is handling this and this is one of the reasons that I led this effort to get the IG to take a look at this," he said, adding that he hopes that "the administration also will take time to direct, through the secretary of Defense right on down, that this be taken more seriously."
NOMS NEWS: Senate approves DOJ environment nominee, Stone-Manning passes procedural vote
- The Senate voted 58-41 Tuesday Todd Kim to lead the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, with eight Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with all the chamber's Democrats.
- Tracy Stone-Manning, Biden's pick to lead the Bureau of Land Management, advanced through a procedural vote 50-49 along party lines
WHAT WE'RE READING:
Oregon governor signs ambitious clean energy bill,
London judges reverse course to reopen $7 bln Brazil dam lawsuit against BHP,
Historic floods fuel misery, rage in Detroit,
Florida is buying $300 million in land. It's for the environment - and developers.,
ON TAP TOMORROW:
- The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee's National Parks Subcommittee will hold a on the impacts of overcrowding in national parks on park resources and visitor experiences
- The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will hold a to examine the benefits of investing in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water infrastructure projects
ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday...
9 months after the Texas freeze, the power grid remains vulnerable
This story was reported and written as a partnership between The Texas Tribune and NBC News. © Provided by NBC News MIDLOTHIAN, Texas — After last winter’s freeze hamstrung the flow of electricity to millions of customers from one big Texas utility, the company’s CEO, Curt Morgan, said he’d never seen anything like it in his 40 years in the energy industry. During the peak days of the storm, Morgan’s company, Vistra Corp.
Biden adviser's brother on GM's behalf
Eight Republicans to confirm head of DOJ environmental division
Watchdog: Lack of DOD action from 'forever chemicals'
Manchin over Biden oil and gas
Heavy wildfire smoke, researchers say
Nearly 140 Democrats to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards
Biden administration by 2030: report
OFFBEAT AND OFF-BEAT:
Oil pipeline planned even as California moves away from gas .
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A proposal to replace an oil pipeline that was shut down in 2015 after causing California's worst coastal spill in 25 years is inching though a government review, even as the state moves toward banning gas-powered vehicles and oil drilling. Consideration of the $300 million proposal by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline is expected to enter a critical phase next year at a time when new scrutiny is being placed on the state’s oil industry after an offshore pipeline break in October near Huntington Beach.