Overnight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps

TRUMP MOVES FORWARD TO ALLOW CALIFORNIA DRILLING: The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with its plan to open up hundreds of thousands of acres on California’s Central Coast to oil and gas drilling.

The effort comes despite opposition from Democratic officials in the Golden State, who have starkly criticized the plan.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its final proposal as part of the administration’s “energy independence” push on Thursday.


It would open up 725,500 acres of land across 11 counties in California to oil and gas lease sales. The counties affected include Monterey, Fresno and Santa Cruz.

The administration’s case: The BLM hailed the proposal as a move that would strengthen U.S. energy independence.

“Sustainable development of oil and gas resources is a key component of the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission,” BLM’s Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement read.

“In keeping with the Administration’s goal of strengthening America’s energy independence, the BLM supports an all-of-the-above energy plan that includes oil and gas, coal, strategic minerals, and renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar – all of which can be developed on public lands.”

The plan estimates that up to 32 new oil and gas development wells could be built on the federal lands during the plan’s lifetime.

California pushback: The Trump administration’s drilling plans run directly counter to California’s clean energy push, and the state’s Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama-era landfill pollution regs Trump administration creates new religious, moral protections for health workers MORE (D) criticized it for having an emphasis on fossil fuel use.

“In California, we’re already well on our way to energy independence and we’re doing it in the smart way. This is 2019, not 1920. We don’t need to jeopardize our health or our environment to develop the energy sources we need,” he said in a statement.

California in September committed to transitioning its electric grid to 100 percent renewable energy use by 2045. Becerra outlined the health risks associated with fracking in a 2018 lawsuit he filed against the Trump administration for its fracking rule, implemented on Native American tribal lands.

Thursday’s final plan replaces a 2017 drilling proposal drafted largely under the Obama administration. The updated Trump administration plan raises the area available for drilling by nearly 327,000 acres.

The administration’s preferred plan, outlined in the final proposal, “applies the least restrictions necessary to develop Federal minerals within existing oil and gas fields where the vast majority of oil and gas production is projected to occur,” the plan reads.

The big picture: The administration has been moving to open up more areas in California to drilling and fracking.

In April, the BLM issued a proposal to reopen 400,000 acres of BLM-administered public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate, the subsurface acreage managed by BLM, to fracking in California counties including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. The finalized plan is anticipated in the fall.

It has insisted that the drilling will take place without harming other uses of land in California.

“The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, where we provide opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses such as ranching, mining, logging, and energy development as well as hunting and fishing,” Serena Baker, BLM Central California District spokeswoman, told The Hill.

Around 10 percent of oil produced in California comes from BLM-managed land, according to Baker. About 5 percent of leases on all federal land use hydraulic fracturing, she said.

Read more on the move here.


HAPPY THURSDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com and Rebecca Beitsch, rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @mirandacgreen, @rebeccabeitsch and @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.


HOUSE PANEL ADVANCES BILL WITH COMMITMENT TO PARIS ACCORD: The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a spending bill that would allow the U.S. to resume contributions to a global fund that helps emerging countries deal with climate change.

The measure was approved on a 28-22 party-line vote. The House is expected to vote on the legislation next month.

The bill, backed by Democrats, removes a funding prohibition on the Green Climate Fund imposed by Republicans last year. The new legislation also prohibits the use of congressional funds to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcMaster accuses some in White House of being a ‘danger to the Constitution’ Trump predicts Dem investigation will drive him to 2020 win Trump hits O’Rourke: ‘Boy has he fallen like a rock’ MORE in 2017 promised to pull out of the landmark international emissions accord and immediately halt contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which provides billions of dollars to help developing countries meet their Paris agreement commitments. The U.S. pledged billions of dollars during the Obama administration.

Trump’s decision to withdraw also slashed U.S. contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Former New York Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergThe Memo: Trump taxes put new spotlight on business record Trump gets powerful new rival in Letitia James Bloomberg: Trying to legalize marijuana is ‘perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done’ MORE (D) in 2017 pledged to spend up to $15 million of his own money to mitigate the lost U.S. contributions to the two areas. He has so far donated $10 million.

The climate language in the appropriations measure is similar to that of a House-passed bill from last week — the first climate bill to pass the House in nearly a decade — that would bind the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement and direct the president to determine how the country would meet its emissions goals.

Read more on the bill here.


PERRY: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS PAYING ‘AN ELECTRICAL RATE THAT I CAN AFFORD’: Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Dems look to bypass EPA with asbestos ban | California moves to ban brain-damaging pesticide | Researchers tout new plastic as ‘Holy Grail’ of recycling Overnight Energy — Presented by Job Creators Network — Inslee unveils first of many climate proposals for 2020 | Inslee plan gets backing of key green group | Free concert tickets flow to Interior secretary, despite ethics questions Overnight Energy: Critics accuse EPA of weakening pollution rule for Pentagon | Booker unveils environmental justice initiative | House to vote on climate bill next week MORE, pressed on Thursday to define environmental justice, talked about the impacts of energy policy on consumer prices rather than on disadvantaged communities.

“I can tell you what it means to me,” Perry said in response to Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.). “Environmental justice to me is being able to pay an electrical rate that I can afford and at the same time emissions are not going up ’cause of the decisions made. I see environmental justice being attacked every day when the folks in the Northeast have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for the cost and the emissions going up. To me that’s a social and an economic injustice.”

Barragán, who noted her district is 88 percent Latino and African American, said Perry’s response didn’t reflect how some communities “disproportionately have the burden of injustices that are happening from air pollution.”

Nor did his answer align with the Energy Department definition, she said, which calls environmental justice “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws.”

A large body of research, including from the Environmental Protection Agency, finds communities of color are disproportionately exposed to pollution. The environmental justice movement typically involves discussions about how to reduce those impacts.

Barragán asked Perry to send more details to her office about how the department is making progress on addressing environmental inequalities.

Rep. Donald McEachinAston (Donale) Donald McEachinDavid Bernhardt confirmed as new Interior chief Overnight Energy: Trump moves to speed up pipeline construction | House Dems urge Senate to reject Interior nominee | Dem offers plan for ‘filling in the blanks’ of Green New Deal House Dems urge Senate to reject Bernhardt nomination to Interior MORE (D-V.A.), who also sits on the committee, said Perry’s comments were shortsighted and reflective of an administration that is “bouncing around in that dark on that issue.”

Read more here.


INSLEE CALLS FOR CREATION OF CLIMATE CONSERVATION CORPS: Democratic presidential candidate and Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBiden takes 32-point lead over Sanders in new 2020 poll The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump, Barr split over Mueller testimony to Congress Ocasio-Cortez says she’s not ready to endorse 2020 candidate, will focus on local races MORE rolled out a new climate proposal Thursday, calling for the creation of a Climate Conservation Corps.

The corps, a throwback to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, would consist of three programs.

A National Climate Service Corps would encourage young people to develop sustainability solutions for their community. A Global Climate Service Corps that would send Americans overseas to work with communities to implement climate mitigation strategies and “rebuild America’s standing in the global community.” And finally, a Green Careers Network focused on job training and placement.

“The Climate Corps will organize the greatest renewable resource of all – the talent and energy of the American people – to work together in cities and rural communities, in our great parks and public lands, and all around the planet,” Inslee said in a release.



South Carolina legislature approves solar bill that’s intended to help customers save on power bills, The State reports.

Gov. Inslee signs range of bills aimed at helping orcas, The Associated Press reports.

Caribbean Community Climate Change Center to launch $45 million Barbados water improvement project, The Caribbean New Service reports.



Stories from Thursday…

-Trump administration moves forward with final rule to allow new California drilling

-House panel advances spending bill with commitment to Paris climate agreement

-Perry, asked about environmental justice, talks about electricity prices

-High lead levels found in area surrounding Notre Dame

-Three men plead guilty to killing a mountain lion in Yellowstone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *