HAPPY TUESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack.
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HOLD UP: Two GOP senators have put holds on Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandGOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke Trump promises to travel to Alaska to campaign against Murkowski Indigenous leadership is a linchpin to solving environmental crises MORE’s nomination to be Interior Secretary, putting up a procedural hurdle that will delay the New Mexico Democrat’s final confirmation vote.
Republican Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesProgressives’ majority delusions politically costly Susan Collins to back Haaland’s Interior nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (Mont.) and Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisSenate confirms Rouse as Biden’s top economist OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Biden picks for financial agencies offer preview of regulatory agenda MORE (Wyo.) said they will force debate on Haaland’s nomination, which would last for 30 hours.
Despite the delay: Haaland is still expected to be confirmed since she’ll need just a simple majority to eventually get to the floor.
A statement from Daines’s office said the senator thinks it’s important to have a floor debate on Haaland’s record.
“I will be forcing debate on Rep. Haaland’s nomination to Interior,” Daines said in a statement.“Her views will hurt the Montana way of life and kill Montana jobs. We must consider the impact she will have on the West.”
Lummis, in a statement, cited President BidenJoe BidenCNN: Bidens’ dogs removed from the White House Federal judge rules ‘QAnon shaman’ too dangerous to be released from jail Pelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career MORE’s energy policies in her statement, adding that Haaland “will be a champion of this and even more radical policies.”
Haaland stressed during her Senate confirmation hearing that she’ll be implementing Biden’s agenda, not her own, and said fossil fuels will still play a role in the country’s energy mix.
Read more about the procedural move here.
But, with one step back comes a small step forward: Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerManchin firm on support for filibuster, mulls making it ‘a little bit more painful’ to use Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE (D-NY) filed cloture on Haaland’s nomination on Tuesday, continuing the process toward her eventual confirmation vote.
IN THE INTERIM: The Interior Department announced Tuesday that it will publish an “interim report” on its review of oil and gas leases on public lands this summer after President Biden froze new leases in January.
The report will be based in part on feedback the department receives at a virtual forum on March 25. Participants in the forum will include industry figures, labor organizations, environmental and natural resource groups.
“The federal oil and gas program is not serving the American public well. It’s time to take a close look at how to best manage our nation’s natural resources with current and future generations in mind,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis said in a statement.
“This forum will help inform the Department’s near-term actions to restore balance on America’s lands and waters and to put our public lands’ energy programs on a more sound and sustainable conservation, fiscal and climate footing,” she added.
Read more about Interior’s next steps here.
ALL SETTLED: A federal judge on Tuesday approved a $1.5 billion settlement for the German automaker Daimler and its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz over alleged cheating on emissions tests.
Daimler will make the payment following what the EPA said in September was cheating involving about 250,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016.
They said: At the time, the company rejected the accusations, saying in a statement that it “denies the authorities’ allegations as well as the class action plaintiffs’ claims and does not admit any liability.”
The settlement, approved by D.C. federal judge Emmet Sullivan, included $875 million in civil penalties as well as the cost of recalling the vehicles and funding for mitigation projects in California, which was also a plaintiff in the case.
Read more about the settlement here.
TAKING SIDES: The Biden administration is siding with a pipeline company in a dispute over whether it can seize land from the state of New Jersey in order to complete construction.
In a brief filed Monday in support of PennEast’s position, the Justice Department argued that states aren’t exempt from a law allowing permit-holders from taking necessary property for infrastructure projects that were approved by federal regulators.
Next steps: The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last month after a lower court ruled against the use of eminent domain to acquire land for the PennEast gas pipeline.
Read more about its decision here.
QUOTE OF NOTE:
Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmEnergy Department announces million toward carbon capture, industrial assessment centers Energy Dept to restart Obama-era loans to renewable energy companies Granholm calls for Texas grid to weatherize, connect to other grids MORE discussed the importance of changes to the transportation sector in President Biden’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and pledged to put “billions of dollars” into electric vehicles.
“The transportation sector is the largest source of those emissions so we need to jam on the accelerator here. DOE is going to invest billions of dollars over the next few years in the technologies that are going to make that EV future a reality,” she said during an event by the organization Securing America’s Future Energy.
ON TAP TOMORROW:
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Illinois bill would ban celebratory balloon releases, Capitol News Illinois reports
Just Energy Group seeks bankruptcy protection after Texas loss, The Houston Chronicle reports
Republicans’ new favorite study trashes Biden’s climate plans – but who’s behind it? The Guardian reports
Florida state legislators advance bills to preempt local clean energy regulations, The Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times report
ICYMI:Stories from Tuesday…
Kerry calls for ‘decade of action’ on climate change
Rutgers to divest from fossil fuel industry
Interior Department announces virtual forum to review oil and gas lease moratorium
Judge approves $1.5B Daimler settlement in diesel emissions probe