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Politics Overnight Energy: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires

16:00  27 november  2021
16:00  27 november  2021 Source:   thehill.com

New Delhi Considers Lockdown, But Not for COVID, as Smog Chokes City of 20 Million

  New Delhi Considers Lockdown, But Not for COVID, as Smog Chokes City of 20 Million Smog covered the Indian city of New Delhi where air particles were seven times higher than what the World Health Organization deemed as safe levels.Authorities closed schools indefinitely and closed some coal-burning plants Wednesday to help curb the crisis. The city has more than 20 million people and is heavily reliant on coal, which accounts for 70 percent of the country's power.

MONDAY AGAIN. Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.

Ro Khanna wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Energy: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires © Greg Nash Overnight Energy: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires

Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack.

Today we're looking at congressional action on that Exxon tape, the Biden administration's latest move on water regulations, and how climate change can exacerbate man-made wildfires.

Can America prevent a global warming cold war?

  Can America prevent a global warming cold war? There is a glaring geopolitical disparity in climate action between democracies and dictatorships.Yet, the climate crisis doesn't permit the luxury of time. Leading science finds that to limit devastating near-term climate impacts, and reduce risks of runaway warming, China especially must cut its emissions as soon as possible this decade, not just in the long-term. So far, however, despite the new declaration, and climate discussions this week between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has made no such commitment. In fact, Chinese coal use just reached an all-time high.

TALE OF THE TAPE: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are asking an Exxon Mobil lobbyist to testify in a recorded interview after he appeared on tape saying that the company "aggressively [fought] against some of the science" on climate change.

In a Monday letter requesting the testimony, Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) asked lobbyist Keith McCoy for an interview "regarding efforts by ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies to mislead the global public and Members of Congress about the dangers of fossil fuels and their role in causing global climate change."

Daily on Energy: The climate measures in the bipartisan infrastructure deal

  Daily on Energy: The climate measures in the bipartisan infrastructure deal 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 Default Image - July 2021 CLIMATE DOWNPAYMENT: The Senate voted yesterday to advance a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package ($550 billion in new spending) after weeks of stalled efforts to reach a bipartisan deal, with 17 Republicans supporting the agreement.

"Your statements raise serious concerns about your role in ongoing efforts by ExxonMobil and the fossil fuel industry to spread climate disinformation, including through the use of 'shadow groups,' in order to block action needed to address climate change," the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers gave McCoy until Friday to say whether he would voluntarily participate in an interview that would take place next month.

The story so far: The request marks the latest step in an ongoing effort to have representatives from Exxon Mobil and other major oil companies testify before Congress.

Khanna has weighed a subpoena for Exxon Mobil for weeks - prior to McCoy's comments - but the lobbyist's remarks have put a spotlight on the issue.

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee have separately indicated to The Hill that they would consider a subpoena to compel testimony from major oil companies.

Climate change: Politicians are failing to deliver justice. Lawyers and scientists could do it in court

  Climate change: Politicians are failing to deliver justice. Lawyers and scientists could do it in court Three climate activists in the UK are challenging the High Court to hear their case, in which they hope to sue their government for its role in the crisis. It's one in a booming number of litigation cases that are leaning on science to bring about justice.It was simple but strong message -- while negotiators made agreements to delay action, island nations in the Pacific such as Tuvalu are sinking in rising seas, and could be swallowed entirely as soon as the end of this century.

Read more about the request here

WATER GATE: Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022

The Biden administration will take aim at a Trump-era rule that critics argued would allow dangerous substances including arsenic and mercury to leach into waterways from coal-fired power plants.

The EPA said in a notice published Monday on its website that in the fall of 2022, it will propose a rule to consider more stringent protections but will keep the current rules in place for the time being.

In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael Regan defended the action, saying that the agency "determined that moving forward with implementing the existing regulations would ensure that water resources are protected now, while we quickly move to strengthen water quality protections and further reduce power plant pollution."

Not everyone's happy with the pace of things: Meanwhile, some environmental critics said they wished the EPA would move to get rid of the Trump rule more quickly.

"The promise to start rulemaking over a year from now ... leaves this entire 'commitment' pretty hollow," Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said via email.

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

  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 IT'S TUESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack . 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.

Read more about the announcement here

FIRE IN THE HOLE: Humans are the cause of most wildfires. Climate change will make that worse

Climate change is exacerbating wildfire dangers across the West, creating the perfect conditions for the main culprits to start damaging fires: human beings.

People are the driving force behind the changing climate, and they are also the driving force behind most fires.

Data from the National Interagency Coordination Center indicates that the vast majority of wildfires, 88 percent on average, were ignited by human sources from 2016 to 2020.

As recently as last week, utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) said in a disclosure to the California Public Utilities Commission that it believes its equipment was connected to the ignition of the Dixie Fire, which has reached 40,500 acres as of Wednesday.

How else do humans start fires?: Fires are also regularly started by people going about their lives.

In one of the more unusual cases, a couple on Tuesday was charged with involuntary manslaughter after their gender reveal party ignited a 2020 wildfire in San Bernardino County, leading to the death of a firefighter.

The year before, officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) determined that the October 2019 Kincade Fire was caused by downed PG&E transmission lines. The Sonoma County fire displaced nearly 100,000 people and burned 374 homes.

Daily on Energy: Why Biden needs to ramp up transmission lines construction to meet his goals

  Daily on Energy: Why Biden needs to ramp up transmission lines construction to meet his goals 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 Default Image - July 2021 WHY WIRES MATTER FOR BIDEN: President Joe Biden’s success in pursuing 100% carbon-free power by 2035 could come down to wires, a key part of his infrastructure agenda that I spotlight in a special edition of our magazine (paywalled).

A 2018 report by the California State Senate Energy Committee determined electrical power was the third-most common cause of wildfires in the state, ahead of arson, lightning and campfires.

Read more about the trend here

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Toyota Led on Clean Cars. Now Critics Say It Works to Delay Them, The New York Times reports

Climate change: Researchers begin discussions on vital report, BBC News reports

Interior Department IGs seek subpoena clout, E&E News reports

Red tide is expected to intensify, and scientists point the finger at Piney Point, The Bradenton Herland reports

Development In A Wealthy Montana Boom Town Is Fouling A World-Class Trout River, HuffPost reports

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on President Biden's fiscal 2022 request for the Interior Department. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is scheduled to testify.
  • The House Natural Resources will hold a hearing entitled "The Toxic Legacy of the Mining Law of 1872"
  • The House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing entitled "The Changing Energy Landscape: Oversight of FERC." FERC Chairman Richard Glick is scheduled to testify.
  • The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity threats to the electric grid

ICYMI: Stories from Monday (and the weekend)...

Judge finds former environmental lawyer who won billions in Chevron case guilty of contempt

Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022

Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes

2020 U.S. Wildfires Burned Over 10 Million Acres, Nearly 18,000 Structures: Report

  2020 U.S. Wildfires Burned Over 10 Million Acres, Nearly 18,000 Structures: Report "4 million acres—more land than the state of Connecticut—burned last year, forcing families across the U.S. to breathe polluted air," wrote Rep. Katie Porter.Just like last year, wildfires are currently burning throughout the U.S. West and the ultimate damage remains to be seen. Oregon's Bootleg Fire in the state's south is creating mass destruction and is one of the largest that has burned in the state yet, the Associated Press reported. It has scorched a region half the size of Rhode Island.

​​5 firefighters in stable condition after burn injuries battling Montana blaze

Humans are the cause of most wildfires. Climate change will make that worse

At least 130 dead as severe flooding hits India

Thousands evacuated in Philippines due to flooding

Brood X is gone, but larger cicadas that 'like to scream' are emerging

OFFBEAT AND OFF-BEAT: Better late than never

Climate change brings a perfect storm of raw sewage and rainfall in cities that can least afford it .
Communities saddled with aging sewer systems now face harder and more frequent rainfalls that can lead to toxic spills of sewage.Within hours, standing water that started as puddles grew into a swiftly moving current that carried vehicles away. Across Paterson, the downpour stranded drivers and flooded homes, businesses and schools. In the nearly five decades she has lived in the historic, ethnically diverse city, Arencibia had never seen such an inundation.

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