Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Biden leaves meeting saying 'it doesn't matter' when bill is passed

Biden says ‘it doesn’t matter’ when infrastructure bill is passed

 

Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today we’re looking at the latest round of infrastructure negotiations, a sentencing for a former environmental lawyer and a Midwest EV network initiative. 

For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: rfrazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.

Let’s jump in.

Biden leaves caucus meeting saying ‘it doesn’t matter’ when bill is passed

President Biden on Friday told reporters there was no rush to pass his economic agenda after meeting with the House Democratic caucus amid tensions over how to proceed on a Senate-passed infrastructure bill and a larger reconciliation package.

“We’re gonna get this done,” Biden said as he departed the caucus meeting.

“It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done,” he added.

Biden spoke to congressional Democrats for roughly 30 minutes. It was his first time traveling to Capitol Hill to push for his agenda since July, when he met with Senate Democrats.

He focused on urging them to come together as centrists and progressives have remained at odds whether to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill as soon as Friday or wait until they secure commitments on the social spending package from two key holdouts in the Senate. 

His meeting follows a delay of game. House Democratic leaders late Thursday postponed a vote yet again on the bipartisan infrastructure bill amid threats from progressives to tank it as leverage for a separate, larger package to expand social safety net programs. 

After a long day of meetings between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the warring centrist and progressive factions of the caucus, as well as with White House staff, Democrats opted to delay a vote planned for Thursday rather than allow an embarrassing public failure on the House floor.

A notice from House Majority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerWhite House says it’s ‘closer to agreement than ever’ after House punts infrastructure vote No deal: House delays infrastructure vote On The Money — Democrats dig in with Biden agenda in the balance MORE‘s (D-Md.) office issued shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday confirmed that there would be no further votes for the night. 

Read more about Biden’s meeting here, read more about the delayed vote here and catch up on The Hill’s latest coverage of the negotiations here. 

Former environmental lawyer Steven Donziger sentenced to six months 

A federal judge on Friday sentenced former environmental lawyer Steven Donziger to six months in prison after finding him guilty of contempt charges in July.

Donziger in the 1990s sued Texaco on behalf of Ecuadorian farmers and Indigenous people, securing an $8.5 billion judgment in 2011. The same year, Chevron, which had since acquired the company, countersued and accused Donziger of bribery and evidence tampering.

A federal judge found in Chevron’s favor, overturning the award and later charging Donziger with contempt. Donziger, who has been under house arrest for two years, was disbarred in 2018. 

Judge Lewis Kaplan took the unusual step of appointing private attorneys as prosecutors in the case after federal prosecutors with the Southern District of New York declined to take it. One of the attorneys appointed previously worked for a firm Chevron has retained.

The sentence comes the day after the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned Donziger’s house arrest and called for his immediate release, noting that he has already been detained longer than the maximum sentence for the charges.

Read more about Friday’s ruling here. 

 

A MESSAGE FROM API

These relationships…help us plan for the future,” says Andreas Shamel, of Ford Motor Company. That future includes lower CO2 emissions, achieved through partnerships with U.S. natural gas and oil companies.

Five Midwest states to collaborate on electric vehicle charging network

Five Midwest states announced Thursday that they will work together to increase  the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.

A memorandum of understanding signed by the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin says the states will form the Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition, or “REV Midwest.”

The state leaders said in a statement that the agreement is aimed at “competitively” positioning the region for federal funding opportunities and that the ultimate goal is to add jobs, lower emissions and improve public health.

A reminder: The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging.

“Today’s REV Midwest partnership is a bipartisan effort to build the future of mobility and electrification and connect our communities,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Tracking the Earth’s ‘ultimate record of change’ Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll Michigan developing electrified road to wirelessly charge EVs, Whitmer says MORE (D), in a statement.

The governors said their first goal is to focus on “interstate and regionally significant commercial corridors.”

And it’s bipartisan: Indiana is the only state in the group with a GOP governor.

Read more about the initiative here. 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

On Tuesday: 

  • FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell will testify before the House Oversight Committee during a hearing titled Hurricane Ida and Beyond: Readiness, Recovery, and Resilience
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on potential updates to the Mining Law of 1872

On Wednesday: 

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers’ response to Hurricane Ida 
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the status and management of drought in the West. Interior official Tanya Trujillo is slated to testify. 
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled “Emerging Contaminants, Forever Chemicals, and More: Challenges to Water Quality, Public Health, and Communities”
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will also hold a hearing on various proposals to establish or reauthorize heritage areas

 

WHAT WE’RE READING

In Your Facebook Feed: Oil Industry Pushback Against Biden Climate Plans, The New York Times reports

FERC pressed on gas, renewables, cyber threats, E&E News reports

New Britain-Norway power link makes debut as energy prices soar, Reuters reports

Keeping old cars longer can help the environment more than buying new electric cars, study finds, Rochester First reports

The Environment Affects Baseball. These Players Want to Help, The New York Times reports

A Message From API

These relationships…help us plan for the future,” says Andreas Shamel, of Ford Motor Company. That future includes lower CO2 emissions, achieved through partnerships with U.S. natural gas and oil companies.

 

ICYMI:

Phillips 66 says it will cut greenhouse emissions 30 percent by 2030

Warming Arctic could spread nuclear waste, unknown viruses: report

And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: We all float down here

 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.  

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