HAPPY MONDAY! 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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A LOOK AT AUTOMAKERS’ FUTURE AND PAST:
A vehicle for vehicles… Policies promoting electric and zero-emission vehicles are gaining momentum in several states, though at the federal level, neither party’s presidential nominee has plans to phase out gas-powered cars completely.
Last month, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Newsom10 under-the-radar races to watch in November How California turned the corner on COVID-19 Senate Health Committee chair asks Cuomo, Newsom to ‘stop second guessing’ FDA on vaccine efficacy MORE (D) set a goal of selling only electric cars in the state by 2035, a call that is also being supported by New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Electric vehicles currently make up just a small share of cars sold in the U.S., and advocates say more needs to done at both the state and national level.
“People do turn over their cars every seven, eight, nine years … You have an opportunity with natural turnover, natural attrition, to help switch out this technology and make a marked impact on carbon,” said Pam Frank, CEO of ChargEVC, which advocates for electric vehicle-supporting policies at the state level.
Neither President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden’s ’60 Minutes’ interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought ‘9/11 attack was 7/11 attack’ MORE nor Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden’s ’60 Minutes’ interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought ‘9/11 attack was 7/11 attack’ MORE has proposed a deadline for the American automotive market to go electric-only, though Biden has put forward plans calling for expanded electric vehicle manufacturing and infrastructure.
Read more on EV plans here.
They knew… Ford and General Motors have known about the effects of vehicular emissions on climate change since as early as the 1960s, E&E News reported Monday.
Scientists at the companies made findings on the human and fossil fuel impacts of climate change in the 1960s and 1970s. At GM, the evidence was presented to at least three top executives, including a former chairman and CEO, according to an investigation by the news outlet.
Still, the companies lobbied for decades against attempts to reduce emissions and did not move their businesses away from vehicles that were fossil fuel intensive during that period.
In the 1960s, both Ford and GM employed scientists who had researched climate change, E&E reported.
One researcher at GM was Ruth Annette Gabriel Reck, who told the news outlet that she presented her findings to Roger Bonham Smith, who became chairman and CEO of GM in 1981, and his successor Robert “Bob” Stempel.
“We would sit down and they would look at the papers, and I would explain to them what they were looking at,” she said. “They were aware of things that were going on.”
Meanwhile, both companies fought against policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, though both now say they are involved in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Read more about Ford and GM’s response here.
LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT FRIDAY’S NEWS DUMPS:
Winter is coming… Testing for oil deposits at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) could begin in December, according to a proposed plan for such testing that was posted online Friday.
The government posted a plan submitted by the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation to conduct seismic testing in the refuge, including in an area where polar bears and other wildlife may be found.
Seismic testing uses acoustic waves that bounce off formations beneath the surface, generating images that help detect oil deposits.
This type of surveying can cause damage to tundra vegetation and soils.
According to the plan, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation hopes to conduct the surveys in a 847.8 square mile area of the refuge. Politico first reported on the corporation’s application earlier this month.
The Alaska-based corporation anticipates conducting surveys in December and January.
It said that wildlife that can be found in the area during the winter might include polar bears, caribou, grizzly bears, wolverines and arctic foxes.
Read more about the ANWR plans here.
Drama… House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) urged the Department of the Interior to press pause on many of its public lands decisions after its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) de facto director was ousted by the courts.
The Department of the Interior responded by saying it would not be pushed to remove William Perry Pendley from the department.
“The Department’s misguided efforts to will away the illegality of this appointment do a serious disservice to the American public,” Grijalva wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt late Friday.
“Rather than carefully considering the impacts of this ruling in an effort to improve the management of our public lands, the Department’s decision to proceed with business as usual will only create grounds for numerous additional lawsuits and injunctions,” he continued. “I strongly urge that you reconsider this path of action and make every effort to comply with the District Court’s ruling.”
Interior, which has pledged to appeal the court ruling, has been under increasing pressure to comply with Morris’s decision.
But the department mocked the letter after the committee tweeted about Grijalva’s letter.
“No amount of dramatic tweets can remove William Perry Pendley from his role as @BLMNational’s Deputy Director of Programs and Policy,” the Interior Press Secretary account wrote on twitter.
Read more on the exchange here.
ALL EYES ON THE SENATE: Joe Biden’s vow to phase out the oil industry at Thursday’s debate creates a problem for Democratic candidates in red-leaning states and swing House districts as it gives Republicans an opening to tie them to their party’s left wing.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination Trump looms over Ernst’s tough reelection fight in Iowa Democratic senator votes against advancing Amy Coney Barrett nomination while wearing RBG mask MORE (R-Ky.) said in April of last year that he wanted to make the 2020 election “a referendum on socialism.”
That strategy ran into a big problem when Democrats nominated Biden, a candidate who developed a reputation as a moderate during his decades in Washington, for president.
Now Biden’s blunt affirmation that “yes” he “would transition” when asked by President Trump on Thursday whether he would “close down the oil industry,” gives Republican candidates ammo.
Read more on the ramifications here.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
California braces for most dangerous fire weather of the season; PG&E already cutting off power to customers, The Los Angeles Times reports
As Colorado wildfires burn, fears that climate change is causing “multi-level emergency” mount, The Denver Post reports
More murder hornet nests suspected after first on US soil eradicated, The Associated Press reports
ICYMI: Stories from Monday and over the weekend…
Ford, GM scientists knew in 1960s that emissions caused climate change: report
Electric vehicles see state-level gains
Contaminated water from Fukushima nuclear power plant could affect human DNA if released: Greenpeace
Biden’s oil stance jars Democrats in tough races
Interior says Pendley to remain at BLM despite ‘dramatic tweets’ from Democrats
Testing for oil in Arctic wildlife refuge proposed for this winter
Employee error caused government leak of tribal data, watchdog finds