HAPPY THURSDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at email@example.com or follow him at @BudrykZack .
Today we’re looking at the EPA’s reconstituted Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, confirmations of Interior and NOAA officials and a report on the pandemic’s impacts on the Bureau of Land Management.
AFTER THE CASAC SACKINGS (CASACKINGS?): EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new members of a clean air advisory group after taking the unusual step of dismissing the panel’s prior members, who were appointed under the Trump administration.
In a statement, the agency announced the seven members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which provides independent advice on technical aspects of air quality standards.
Guess who’s back, back again. Two of the members are Trump appointees who returned to the committee after being dismissed by Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganEPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot air quality standards GM asks for flexibility in meeting emissions target EPA to revise Trump rollback to water pollution protections MORE earlier this year.
James Boylan works in air protection at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Mark Frampton is a professor emeritus in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Some backstory: Other Trump administration committee picks came under scrutiny for industry ties.
FIRMLY CONFIRMED: Senate confirms Interior No. 2, NOAA administrator
Like a pencil, he’s No. 2: The Senate confirmed President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE’s pick for the No. 2 role at the Interior Department on Thursday with broad bipartisan support, but opposition from one progressive and a handful of Republicans.
Senators voted 88-9 to confirm Tommy Beaudreau as deputy Interior Secretary, with eight Republicans and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders opposes Biden Interior nominee in procedural vote Briahna Joy Gray on how Sanders changed the healthcare conversation Sanders ‘delighted’ DeSantis asked White House to import Canadian prescription drugs MORE (I-Vt.) opposing the nomination.
The progressive didn’t want the nomination to progress…Sanders’s office told The Hill that the senator voted against Beaudreau because of his ties to oil companies.
Beaudreau has come under criticism from progressive groups for working with companies like French oil giant Total.
President Biden nominated Beaudreau after pulling back his previous nominee, Elizabeth Klein, amid reported opposition from Senate moderates.
I NOAA guy: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday got a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time since 2017.
The Senate approved Richard Spinrad’s nomination to lead the oceans and weather agency by a voice vote, signaling that his nomination was noncontroversial.
In addition to leading NOAA, Spinrad will also serve as the Commerce Department’s undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere.
MANAGING IT: Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic
Keeping the majority of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites open during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 resulted in “harmful consequences” including vandalism and damages to restrooms, according to a report issued this week by an Interior Department watchdog.
Faced with the Trump administration’s insistence that most BLM sites remain open, state and field offices said officials at the bureau’s headquarters were slow to provide full guidance, and that public messaging about the coronavirus pandemic was also frequently delayed.
“For instance, one State office employee noted that guidance from BLM headquarters or the U.S. Department of the Interior was usually received after State-developed guidance was available,” the report stated. “This employee also commented that the State office created its own guidance instead of waiting for direction from BLM headquarters or the Department.”
QUOTE OF NOTE: Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Bipartisan infrastructure group grows to 20 senators MORE (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whithouse (D-R.I.) team up to warn about foreign fossil fuels
“Corruption, autocracy, and terrorism are a persistent threat to nations that stand on the rule of law, and America has long been the exemplar of the rule-of-law nation,” they wrote in a piece published in TIME. “A world in which oil and gas money has less power is a world that will likely have less corruption, autocracy, and terror. That world will be a safer world for America.”
NEW NEWSLETTER LAUNCHING MONDAY: The Hill’s Sustainability Newsletter will focus on the best and most promising practices and policies that ensure society’s needs of the present don’t undermine the needs of the future. Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3jtvjBL
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Pebble: Appeals Court revives case challenging EPA’s removal of watershed protection, Alaska Public Media reports
Three Hurricanes. A Deep Freeze. A Biblical Flood: Lake Charles Is America’s Climate Future, BuzzFeed News reports
NASA says Earth is now trapping an ‘unprecedented’ amount of heat, The Washington Post reports
States’ feud delivers Supreme Court’s first groundwater test, E&E News reports
Pelosi says she would not be open to gas tax expansion, Reuters reports
ICYMI: Stories from Thursday (and Wednesday night)…
Graham, Whitehouse: Global transition to renewables would help national security
EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees
Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic
Environmental groups urge congressional leaders to leave climate provisions in infrastructure package
Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior
Family of woman decapitated by gate in Utah sues Park Service, claiming negligence
337K affected by power outage in Puerto Rico
‘Dangerous’ and ‘record-breaking’ heat wave affects 50 million Americans
OFF BEAT AND OFF-BEAT: I wood like to see it.