THE WEEKEND’S IN SIGHT!
Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news.
Not subscribed to this newsletter? Signup for our newsletter and others HERE.
DEB AND FLOW: Graham, Sullivan signal possible support for Haaland confirmation
Four Republican senators, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska), have signaled they could vote with Democrats to confirm Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Michael Regan as EPA chief | Biden delays Trump changes to lead and copper drinking water rule | Trump FWS faulted for lack of opinions Senate confirms Michael Regan as EPA chief House committee to consider Democrat challenge to results in Iowa congressional race MORE (D-N.M.), President BidenJoe BidenManchin cements key-vote status in 50-50 Senate The Memo: How the COVID year upended politics Post-pandemic plans for lawmakers: Chuck E. Cheese, visiting friends, hugging grandkids MORE‘s pick to lead the Interior Department.
Graham and Sullivan were joined by fellow Republicans Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump urges Herschel Walker to run for Senate in Georgia Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Wave of Senate retirements puts GOP ranks on defense MORE (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) in supporting the advancement during the procedural vote. Murkowski and Collins have previously announced that they would support the nomination.
A spokesperson for Sullivan indicated in an email that the senator hadn’t made his decision on the nomination yet.
“Senator Sullivan had another hour-long meeting with Congresswoman Haaland yesterday and is following up on numerous commitments Haaland has made to him and continuing to evaluate her responses to questions he has raised,” said spokesperson Nate Adams.
What does this mean for the final vote? Votes on procedural measures ahead of a confirmation vote are often viewed as previews of what final vote tallies could look like, although they’re not guaranteed to be identical.
The nomination has become a political flashpoint, as supporters hail the historic nature of appointing a Native American woman to the cabinet, particularly over a department with significant responsibility to tribes, while opponents have gone after her stances on fossil fuels.
Read the full story here
ENERGY SUPPORT: Senate panel unanimously advances Biden pick for deputy Energy chief
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 20-0 Thursday to advance the nomination of David Turk to become deputy Energy secretary.
Both Chairman Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin cements key-vote status in 50-50 Senate Schumer moves to bring up Becerra’s nomination after committee tie No Republicans back .9T COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-W.Va.) and ranking member John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump ramps up battle with Republican leadership GOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke Sunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate MORE (R-Wyo.) praised Turk’s experience on energy policy.
“I was highly impressed by Mr. Turk at our hearing last week. He clearly has a firm grasp on the wide range of issues facing the Department of Energy,” Manchin said in his opening statement.
Turk, who served on the National Security Council and in the State Department during the Obama administration, became deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency after Obama left office.
A rare agreement on an energy nominee: The Senate panel has frequently been at odds in the past over President Biden’s nominees and policies on energy and the environment, with committee Republicans frequently arguing Biden’s policies will hurt jobs and economic growth.
Read more about the vote here
LEASE YOU CAN DO: Agency says Biden leasing pause won’t impact 2021 energy production
President Biden’s temporary moratorium on leasing federal lands and waters for oil and gas drilling is expected to have “no effects” until 2022, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said this week.
“No effects will likely occur until 2022 because there is roughly a minimum eight-to-ten month delay from leasing to production in onshore areas,” the EIA said in its “short-term energy outlook.”
It forecasted that in 2022, the change will result in a dip of less than 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day. As of 2018, the country produced an average of nearly 11 million barrels per day of crude oil.
In a January executive order, Biden temporarily paused the issuance of new oil and gas leases “pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.”
Read more about the EIA’s determination here
THANK U, NEXTCAR: DoE awards $18 million for automated vehicles
The Department of Energy has awarded $18 million in funding to four automotive projects it says will advance the White House’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The funds will be awarded as part of phase II of Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles, a program launched in 2016 by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The program works to develop Connected and Automated Vehicle technology, with its first phase emphasizing the development of such technology for all vehicle classes.
The second phase will emphasize light-duty passenger vehicles and target a 30 percent overall cut in energy usage. Such vehicles comprise nearly 60 percent of all vehicles’ energy consumption, according to the department.
Read more about the new funding award here
WHAT’S MY LINE: Lawmakers aim to incentivize weatherizing power lines
A new Senate bill aims to incentivize companies to weatherize the power grid and prevent power lines from starting wildfires.
The legislation, introduced Thursday by Democratic Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, would create an annual $10 billion matching grant program for companies that want to reduce the risk of their power lines from causing wildfires or seek to make the grid more resilient to natural disasters.
“No American should have to worry about their life being at risk because they’ve been stranded for days or weeks on end without electricity, or because their community is on the verge of being enveloped in a catastrophic wildfire started by a power line spark,” Merkley said in a statement.
Read more about the bill here:
DID THEY FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATIONS? An International regulator said his organization is looking into whether Texas followed recommendations his organization and federal regulators laid out in 2011 for how to prevent blackouts during winter storms during a Senate hearing on grid reliability.
“We will know the answer to that when we complete our inquiry into this most recent event,” said James Robb, President of North American Electric Reliability Corporation. “The recommendations that were put in that report were not subject to audit and compliance monitoring from our agency so I really don’t know the answers to what actions were actually taken.”
“Considering the massiveness of the failure in Texas, I think that they probably didn’t follow your recommendations very well,” replied Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoLobbying world Overnight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden’s Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal MORE (D-Hawaii).
The 2011 report, which followed a black out at that time, recommended steps including winterization measures and said that electricity generating companies “failed to adequately prepare for winter,” citing inadequate insulation and a failure to train operators and maintenance personnel on winter preparations.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’m grateful to President Biden for entrusting me to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at this critical moment in our country’s history. EPA’s career officials are the backbone of this agency, and I am humbled to work alongside them as we confront climate change, stand up for justice and equity, and ensure science is at the heart of our decision-making.- Michael S. Regan, the newly-sworn-in Environmental Protection Agency administrator
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Utah agency reverses course, pulls back energy leases in original Bears Ears monument, The Salt Lake Tribune reports
Environmental group pushes for removal of Ocklawaha River dam, WCJB reports
Environmental group files new lawsuit over F-35 decision, The Wisconsin Examiner reports
“All countries need to do better” on climate change, U.S. Climate Envoy John KerryJohn KerryKerry calls for ‘decade of action’ on climate change Greta Thunberg presses Biden administration to ‘treat climate crisis like a crisis’ To win the climate battle, we need the intelligence community MORE tells FRANCE 24
ICYMI:Stories from Thursday…
Biden federal leasing pause won’t impact energy production this year, agency says
Graham, 3 other GOP senators signal possible support for Haaland confirmation
Energy Department awards $18 million for automated vehicle development
Lawmakers aim to incentivize weatherizing power lines
Senate panel unanimously advances Biden pick for deputy Energy chief
Senators introduce bill to increase oversight of carbon monoxide detectors
FROM THE HILL’S OPINION PAGES:
Tenth anniversary of Fukushima — here’s what we learned
Life in a ‘clean’ world of autocracies is not worth living