HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.
CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.
THERE IS NO EASY BUTTON: If Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and Biden’s plans would both add to the debt, analysis finds Trump says he will back specific relief measures hours after halting talks Chance the Rapper, Demi Lovato to play digital concert to encourage voting MORE is elected president, his administration will likely take aim at the Trump administration’s rollbacks of many major environmental protections.
Biden’s climate plan lays out actions he would take on Day One such as implementing “aggressive” methane pollution limits from the oil and gas sector and developing “rigorous” fuel economy standards.
Environmental advocates say the former vice president should target rules that have the biggest effects on climate change and those that are most harmful to marginalized communities.
Yet because of complexities in the rulemaking process — along with structural changes implemented by the Trump administration — undoing even some of Trump’s environmental rollbacks could take years.
The Trump administration has moved to reverse 100 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis from June. Those efforts have included replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with a rule that reduced the regulatory burdens on coal-fired power plants, slashing mileage and emissions standards for automakers and eliminating methane requirements for oil and gas producers.
A recent analysis from researchers with Rhodium Group estimated that rollbacks promulgated by the Trump administration could cause the release of an extra 1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
The analysis highlighted the administration’s loosening of fuel economy requirements, its weakening of methane emissions regulations and its decision to prevent California from setting statewide emissions standards. Those steps were among the moves most likely to be the biggest contributors to increased greenhouse gas emissions, according to the analysis.
The Biden campaign directed The Hill to the candidate’s climate plan when asked about which Trump actions Biden would tackle first. The plan lists a series of actions it would undertake immediately, including changes to the Trump administration’s methane limits and fuel economy standards.
Biden’s plan also says he would ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
Additionally, Biden backs “aggressive” new efficiency standards on buildings and home appliances, as well as requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and aiming to conserve 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030.
Many of the objectives outlined by the Biden campaign are in line with those of environmental groups, though some organizations are warning that simply returning to the standards of the Obama administration is not enough.
“There’s a tremendous, tremendous amount of work to do to fix all of the rollbacks to regulatory infrastructure that’s taken place under Trump and … even that is not enough,” said Bracken Hendricks, a co-founder of Evergreen, a group started by former advisers to Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBarr asked prosecutors to explore charging Seattle mayor over protest zone: report Bottom line Oregon senator says Trump’s blame on ‘forest management’ for wildfires is ‘just a big and devastating lie’ MORE (D).
Read more on the challenges in unraveling Trump’s environmental legacy here.
A FUTURE CLIMATE CZAR? The Biden campaign is considering appointing a climate czar to oversee its environmental efforts if it wins the November, according to reporting from Politico.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has proposed a sweeping climate plan that ranges from recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord to transitioning the economy to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The effort would require contributions from multiple Cabinet agencies, and the campaign is weighing creating a new position to oversee the transition.
“A climate czar is under serious discussion, but it has not been formally decided,” David Goldwyn, an energy consultant and former Obama administration official, told Politico.
“The thing that is not under debate is the need to have serious White House staff capacity on climate issues,” he added. “What is under debate is the most effective way to do that.”
The Biden campaign did not respond to request for comment from The Hill.
Though the campaign has not compiled a list of candidates, names under consideration include former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryMellman: Do debates matter? President Trump faces Herculean task in first debate Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don’t lose MORE and former Clinton adviser John Podesta.
Read more on that here.
HUNTING FOR VOTES: Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump and Biden’s plans would both add to the debt, analysis finds Trump says he will back specific relief measures hours after halting talks Trump lashes out at FDA over vaccine guidelines MORE Jr. released a new video on Wednesday encouraging hunters and other outdoorsmen to vote for his father next month.
The president’s son, an avid hunter himself, highlighted moves by the Trump administration to make public lands more accessible for sportsmen.
He also alluded to a bipartisan bill the president signed this year that would devote $900 million annually for conservation programs such as securing land for national parks.
“Make sure you recognize what’s actually gone on. Make sure that you realize that Donald Trump has delivered for you,” Trump said in the video posted to Twitter.
The Trump administration has made significant moves to expand hunting and fishing access.
It recently opened up or expanded hunting and fishing at nearly 150 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries and has eased restrictions on hunting bear cubs and wolf pups at national preserves in Alaska.
An Interior Department statement from August said that the administration has expanded hunting and fishing over a total of more than 4 million acres.
Some conservationists have opposed these measures, as well as actions taken by the administration to shrink or remove protections from national monuments including the Bears Ears National Monument, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.
Read more on that here.
30, FLIRTY, AND PROTECTED BY ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR: California will aim to conserve more than 30 percent of its lands and coastal waters by 2030, Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomActivists gather outside California jails, call for mass clemency to stop COVID-19 spread Newsom nominates first openly gay justice to serve on California Supreme Court California should let carbon market, no mandate, cut emissions MORE (D) said Wednesday, announcing a new executive order.
The order outlines a series of steps that the state will take, including to “promote biodiversity protection, habitat restoration, wildfire-resilient, sustainably managed landscapes and other conservation outcomes.”
It also seeks to improve the state’s climate resilience and reduce risks from “extreme climate events.”
It comes as the state has been ravaged by wildfires in which climate change is seen as a factor.
Newsom said during a press conference that California would be the first state in the country with the goal of conserving both coastal lands and waters.
“This is an international movement. California, as the fifth-largest economy in the world, needs to flex its muscles, needs to assert itself and to advance that cause,” the governor said.
Read more on the order here.
ON TAP TONIGHT: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisOvernight Defense: Top military officers quarantine after positive COVID case | Distracted pilot, tech issues led to F-35 crash It matters: Kamala Harris and the VP debate CDC director says it’s safe for Pence to take part in debate MORE (D-Calif.) and Vice President Pence will face off in the only vice presidential debate this year, complete with plexiglass barriers, as COVID-19 ravages the White House.
ON TAP TOMORROW:
The D.C. Circuit will hear green groups’ challenge to EPA’s replacement of the Clean Power Plan, the Affordable Clean Energy rule
OUTSIDE (AND INSIDE) THE BELTWAY:
How the CARES Act gave millions to energy companies with no strings attached, The Washington Post reports
Exxon, oil rivals shield their carbon forecasts from investors, Bloomberg reports
Opponents seek further delay of work on Mountain Valley Pipeline, The Roanoke Times reports
ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday…
California aims to conserve 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030
Biden team weighs climate ‘czar’: Politico
Donald Trump Jr. urges hunters to vote for his father
Army taps University of Wisconsin to lead research into hybrid vehicles, aircraft
Biden would face hurdles undoing Trump environmental rollbacks