HAPPY TUESDAY! 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.
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GOING BLUE: A new bill from House Democrats turns to the oceans as a way to fight climate change, proposing to expand offshore wind while barring drilling along America’s coasts.
The more-than-300-page legislation is broadly billed as a “blue carbon” bill — a way to harvest clean energy while protecting fisheries and resources such as marshes and wetlands that can store carbon and protect eroding shorelines.
The Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act, introduced Tuesday, comes as the ocean is rapidly warming and acidifying, a result of climate change and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.
The bill directs the Department of the Interior to up the number of permits for offshore wind projects, where higher wind speeds allow windmills to generate more electricity than they do on land.
It also repackages some measures already before the House, such as a pledge to conserve 30 percent of oceans by 2030 and an approved measure to bar offshore drilling along both coasts that has failed to advance in the Senate.
“This bill recognizes that oceans also must be part of a rapid transition to clean energy that starts with prohibiting any new offshore oil and gas leases because you can’t solve the crisis by continuing to dig the climate hole deeper,” said Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to ‘forever chemicals’ COVID-19 complicates California’s record-setting wildfire season MORE (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Lawmakers say the legislation, which includes increasing benchmarks for permitting offshore wind that would double between 2025 and 2030, would speed the construction of planned projects that have stalled under the Trump administration.
“This administration has an all-of-the-above [energy] policy, but what it really translates into is like ‘Animal Farm,’” said Rep. Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalAct now to protect our nation’s birds Overnight Energy: EPA declines to regulate chemical tied to developmental damage | Democrats unveil .5T infrastructure plan | Land management bureau eases requirements for oil, gas royalty cut requests Land management bureau lessens requirements for oil and gas royalty cut requests MORE (D-Calif.), another co-sponsor.
“All animals are equal, only some are more equal than others. They are permitting at a fast rate all oil and gas. We have been waiting now for 18 months for the first completion of offshore wind,” he added.
The bill also includes $3 billion to support “coastal resiliency” efforts designed to combat rising sea levels. Those projects could include planting salt marshes or sea grass that help keep coastlines intact and can absorb carbon.
Another measure would make algal blooms, which suck the oxygen needed for plant and animal life, eligible for federal disaster relief and emergency assistance.
Read more on the legislation here.
VOTERS ARE SAYING: New polling indicates Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE’s climate plan is doing well with voters even as they are split on their support for fracking.
Results from a Tuesday survey conducted by The New York Times and Sienna College found that 66 percent of voters said they support Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan.
Biden has made the plan part of his economic stimulus efforts, a way to create jobs while transitioning to clean energy. He calls for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, with the electric sector doing so by 2035.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: ‘The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it’ Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE has not released a formal climate plan, and the poll did not cover his position on climate change.
But the results also show voters are split on fracking — a favorite talking point of Trump’s.
Forty-four percent of those polled said they support the method of oil extraction, while 42 percent said they are opposed and 14 percent were neutral.
Trump has repeatedly said Biden wants to ban fracking, which Biden has vehemently denied. Biden’s plan does not call for a ban on fracking, but some of his past comments have left voters confused.
His climate plan does bar new oil drilling of public lands, while a transition to net-zero emissions would limit the fossil fuel industry.
“I am not banning fracking,” Biden said in Pennsylvania in August. “Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking no matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me.”
The Times poll found Biden in the lead overall, getting 50 percent of likely voters to Trump’s 41 percent.
It was conducted between Oct. 15 and 18, and has a 3.4 percent margin of error.
The story is here.
AND SPEAKING ON PLANS: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s climate plan lags behind the Green New Deal when it comes to reducing carbon emissions by making homes more energy efficient, according to a new report.
Biden’s plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6.6 million tons by 2025 versus 263 million metric tons for the Green New Deal over the same period, according to analysis from Carbon Switch, which advocates for energy efficiency.
The difference largely boils down to the rate at which each plan calls for weatherizing homes. The Biden plan calls for weatherizing 2 million homes over four years. The Green New Deal’s call for a 10-year mobilization to upgrade all homes would require weatherizing 8 million homes a year compared to Biden’s 500,000.
The analysis only evaluated the two plans’ approach to reducing the footprint of buildings, which currently account for 35 percent of US emissions. Broadly, Biden’s plan calls for net-zero emissions by 2050, with the electric sector meeting that goal first in 2035.
“There’s no doubt that the difference between a Biden administration and Trump administration would be stark,” the group wrote in its analysis, while adding later its analysis of the Biden plan shows “these reductions would fall far short of those needed to meet the Paris Agreement.”
The report comes as Biden has tried to distinguish his climate plan from the 14-page resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA may violate courts with new rule extending life of unlined coal ash ponds | Trump reverses course, approving assistance for California wildfires | Climate change, national security among topics for final Trump-Biden debate Biden distances himself from Green New Deal during town hall Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing Time to honor the ‘ghosts’ of WWII OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Federal officials press concerns about proposed mine near Georgia swamp, documents show | Trump falsely claims Green New Deal calls for ‘tiny little windows’ | Interior appeals migratory bird ruling MORE (D-Mass.).
“My deal is the crucial framework, not the New Green Deal,” Biden said at a town hall last week.
Carbon Switch agreed with that assessment.
“In the final weeks of the campaign, Trump will likely continue to frame Biden’s climate plan as ‘radical.’ But there’s no doubt: Biden’s climate plan is no Green New Deal.”
The story is here.
LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED: Exxon Mobil on Monday sought to clarify a “hypothetical” conversation mentioned by President Trump at a campaign rally in which Trump said he could easily call on the company’s executive to raise millions in campaign contributions.
“Don’t forget, I’m not bad at that stuff anyway, and I’m president. So I call some guy, the head of Exxon. I call the head of Exxon. I don’t know,” Trump said before playing out a conversation.
“How are you doing? How’s energy coming? When are you doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits?” he added. “When I call the head of Exxon I say, ‘You know, I’d love [for you] to send me $25 million for the campaign.’ ‘Absolutely sir.’ ”
The energy giant quickly sought distance from the remarks.
“We are aware of the President’s statement regarding a hypothetical call with our CEO…and just so we’re all clear, it never happened,” ExxonMobil tweeted just a few hours after the rally.
OUTSIDE (AND INSIDE) THE BELTWAY:
Inside EPA air office’s rigged system to weaken rules, E&E reports
75 ways Trump made America dirtier and the planet warmer, The Guardian reports
Judge denies tribes’ bid to halt Keystone oil pipeline work, The Associated Press reports
ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday…
Exxon after Trump fundraising comment: ‘Just so we’re all clear, it never happened‘
Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes
At least seven charged in $1 million flying squirrel trafficking scheme
Low-flying helicopters to measure radiation levels in DC before inauguration
Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill
Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan