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Today, we look at the most recent in ex-EPA chief Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Environment ‘Forever chemical’ suits face time crunch Lawmaker asked ex-EPA chief why he couldn’t convince Trump climate change was real Virginia exits multistate coalition supporting EPA in climate suit MOREVirginia’s natural resource secretary in the fight for power.
Lets jump in.
Wheeler was voted out, but not out
Andrew Wheeler, the GOP governor, has been removed from a key committee of Virginia’s Democratic-majority State Senate. Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinThe Hill’s Morning Report: What’s Putin’s next move? Youngkin causes a Democratic backlash in Virginia. The Nor’easter leaves thousands without electricity on the East Coast.A list of Cabinet nominees was used to select the nominee for Secretary for Natural Resources. This indicates that the legislature could reject a state Cabinet nominee, for the first time since 16 years.
The state Senates Committee on Privileges and Elections voted 9-6 to remove Wheeler from their list of nominees. Sen. Ghazala Hazmi (D), confirmed this on Twitter. Virginia needs a [Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources]dedicated to addressing the very serious problems of climate change and environmental protection.
Environmental activists were furious at Wheelers’ nomination. They pointed out his history of repealing environmental regulations under the Trump administration. Democrats, who have a two-seat majority at the state Senate, suggested that they would block Wheelers’ nomination as soon as the news broke.
This would make Wheeler, the first Cabinet pick to be rejected in the state, since 2006, when Daniel LeBlanc was rejected by the legislature. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim), Michael KaineDemocrats urge Biden administration for easier entry to US for at risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP for filibuster change to voting bill. Desperate Dems support cutting the size of Biden bills (D), nominee to the commonwealth secretary.
But don’t forget to keep him in your thoughtsThe nomination is not void just because Wheelers’ name has been removed. The Senate could still vote to add Wheeler’s name to the list by a floor amendment. The vote indicates that Wheeler didn’t win over state Democrats last week in a cordial hearing in which he stressed his belief in climate change, and claimed that the media has distorted his environmental record.
If Wheeler gets one Democratic vote, Wheeler will be elected Lt. Governor. Winsome Sears, a Republican, would be able to break the tie in Wheeler’s favor. State Sen. Joe Morrissey, a Democratic state senator, stated Friday that he felt Wheeler performed well during questioning. Morrissey, who has argued with the majority in the past said that he would consult experts in the coming weeks before making a decision.
You can read more about the Wheeler confirmation here.
NEW GOVERNOR OF VA’S ANGERING ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin(R) has waged a series of battles against activists and the state senates Democratic minority over environmental policy in his first month as an elected official.
Youngkin did not place much emphasis on energy or environmental policy during the campaign, instead focusing on education and COVID-19 restrictions.
Youngkin was controversial even before his inauguration.
Most notably: On Dec. 8, he announced plans to withdraw Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, (RGGI), an 11 state compact that requires power plants and other facilities to purchase credits to offset carbon emission. Virginia joined the group in 2021.
Youngkin has decried RGGI and vowed to unilaterally leave the agreement.
Youngkin’s order simply states that the benefits of RGGI are not realizing while the costs have soared.
Youngkins nomination for former WheelerAs the secretary of natural resources for the United States, I raised hackles.
On the campaign trail, the candidate for the first time stressed his business experience, even though he accepted former candidates President TrumpDonald TrumpA second draft order was prepared by Trump advisors to request DHS to seize voting machine: report Senate group presses ahead with election law changes following Trump remarks National Archives receives Trump records which were ripped apart and taped back together: Report MOREHe was able to endorse his work.
Youngkin didn’t talk much about the environment for most of his campaign. I believe there was hope that he would take a more moderate approach in a relatively moderate state, said Mike Town (executive director at the Virginia League of Conservation Voters).
Kristin Davison is a vice president of the GOP consulting firm Axiom Strategies and served as an advisor to the Youngkin campaign.
Governor Youngkin’s campaign was focused on lowering living costs. Day One Game Plan also emphasized this aspect. Davison spoke to The Hill via email.
Continue readingHere’s Youngkin’s work on the environment.
Lease sales: Interior fees increase
The Interior Department appears to be considering increasing the fees companies pay for drilling on public lands for oil and gas by 50 percent.
News outlets, including ReutersI found a webpage from the Bureau of Land Managements website that said that rates for leases this quarter would rise up to 18.75%.
The current minimum royalty rates set by law are 12.5 percent.
Reuters reported that this post had been removed.
Melissa Schwartz, Interior spokesperson, confirmed to The Hill that some pre-decisional draft language was accidentally posted on their website by the Bureau, which is under the control of Interior.
This is not the first time that the department has expressed a desire for an increase in the amount companies pay to drill on federal lands.
The department recommended that drilling on public lands be subject to higher fees in a November report. It said that this should include increased royalties as well as other fees such as minimum bids that companies are allowed to make.
Learn more about the situation.
CLIMATE CHANGE CAN RAISE FLOOOD COSTS
A new study shows that financial losses from increased flooding events caused by climate change will increase by 26 percent in the U.S.A by 2050. This will be most detrimental to disadvantaged communities.
The Nature Climate Change study published Monday, predicting that flood losses would rise by 26.4 per cent from $32.1 million today to $40.6 trillion in less than 30 year. According to the authors, flood risk will increase fourfold due to predicted population changes.
In a statement, Oliver Wing, the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment lead author, stated that climate change and shifting population present a double threat to flood risk.
The scientists analyzed national property data and detailed flood projections to arrive at a comprehensive assessment of flood risk in the United States. They used 2021-dollar values to estimate financial loss to homes, businesses and contents. However, inflation would likely result in much higher numbers.
Researchers found that communities with a higher proportion of white residents are at greatest risk. However, future flood risks will be more severe for Black populations along the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.
Find out more about the study., From The Hills Sharon Udasin.
ON TAP TOMORROW
- The House Agriculture Committee will host aHearon Farm Bill conservation programs
- The House Select Climate Crisis Committee (HSCCC) will hold aHearU.S. manufacturing & climate solutions
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will host aHearOn recycling and composting
- The House Natural Resources Committee is holding aHearA variety of park and trail-related bills
WHAT WE ARE READING
- Drought reveals the Canary in This Coal Mine of PFAS (Well Water)Bloomberg Law)
- This project in the Everglades would help to stop algal blooms. DeSantis asks Biden to finance it sooner (The Miami Herald)
- Parsing Net Zero: Given information on Emissions Types and Half of the Public Says That The Oil Sector Must Do More than It has Pledged (Morning Consult)
- How crypto became a favorite of coal country lawmakers (E&E News)
- NYC Mayor Announces Environment Team. Focus on Climate JusticeBloomberg)
Finally, here’s something completely offbeat and off-beatCrows are total bros.
That’s all for today. Thank you for reading. Check out The HillsEnergy & Environment pageFor the most recent news and coverage. Well see you tomorrow.