Overnight Energy: Bipartisan senators want ‘highest possible’ funding for carbon capture technology| Dems want documents on Bernhardt’s lobbying work| Officials, automakers aim to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US

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BIPARTISAN SENS WANT ‘HIGHEST POSSIBLE’ FUNDING FOR CARBON CAPTURE: A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for funding at the “highest possible levels” for carbon capture technology development.

The 12 lawmakers, including four Republicans, urged Senate appropriators to provide the Department of Energy with maximum funding for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

“As the world transitions towards a carbon constrained economy, investment in CCUS technology will spur economic development and ensure energy security while protecting the environment from carbon dioxide emissions and maintaining global leadership role in research and development,” the lawmakers wrote Thursday in letter to the top senators on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

The letter was signed by Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoMenendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Dems set stage for fight over security clearances GOP lawmakers root against Trump in court on ObamaCare MORE (R-Wyo.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetMore than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts The Hill’s Morning Report – Can Joe Biden turn the page? Michael Bennet says he intends to run for president if he is cancer free MORE (D-Colo.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMenendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions Dem report questions State Dept. decision to revoke award to Trump critic Senate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain MORE (D-Del.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition – Fresh off Mueller win, Trump presses for GOP health care push GOP senators give Trump standing ovation The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition – Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings MORE (R-N.D.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Hillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records JOBS for Success Act would recognize that all people have potential MORE (R-Mont.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthMore than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Dems release government report on TSA vulnerabilities Dem support grows for allowing public funds to pay for abortions MORE (D-Ill.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBipartisan bill to protect legal cannabis businesses introduced McConnell sets stage for ‘nuclear option’ to change rules on judges GOP senators blindsided by Trump on ObamaCare MORE (R-Colo.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineMore than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Menendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions The Hill’s Morning Report – GOP balks at Trump border closure MORE (D-Va.), Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee’s role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Trump pick for Interior heads toward Senate confirmation Steyer: Green New Deal helped ‘move the ball forward’ on climate change MORE (I-Maine), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee’s role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Trump pick for Interior heads toward Senate confirmation Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam MORE (D-W.Va.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterBipartisan group proposes legislation to help tribal communities combat violence against Native women Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam Endorsements? Biden can’t count on a flood from the Senate MORE (D-Mont.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSanders slams GOP ‘hatred’ on health care in hearing Overnight Energy: Green New Deal vote set to test Dem unity | Renewables on track to phase out coal, study finds | EPA chief reportedly recuses himself from mine review Green New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate MORE (D-R.I.).

They argued that investment in creating viable options to capture carbon emissions released into the atmosphere could spur U.S. job growth.

“According to the International Energy Agency and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), CCUS is a critical component of the portfolio of energy technologies needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide,” the senators wrote. “As the U.S. develops CCUS technologies, we will benefit not only from cleaner power here at home, but from new markets for U.S. technologies abroad, including innovations towards direct air capture.”

The two federal programs that include carbon capture research received $101 million and $98 million in funding, respectively, for fiscal year 2019. President TrumpDonald John TrumpGroups ask judge to halt border wall construction Trump on Barbara Bush criticism: ‘Look what I did to her sons’ Man charged for throwing water balloons at Trump crowd: ‘I did what I had to do’ MORE‘s budget request for 2020 calls for combining the two programs into one, funded at $69 million.

Read more here.

DEMS WANT BERNHARDT’S FORMER CLIENT TO TURN OVER DOCUMENTS:

House Democrats on Friday asked for a probe into Interior secretary nominee David Bernhardt’s relationship with one of his former clients on the heels of a New York Times report that said he continued lobbying after saying he’d stopped.

In a letter sent to leaders of Westlands Water District, a major agribusiness group in California, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanOvernight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown Park Service defends funds used to stay open during shutdown 3 more steps to make ‘First Step Act’ work MORE (D-Calif.) requested all documents associated with Bernhardt and his work for the former client, including his work to weaken Endangered Species Act protections.

“Serious questions have been raised regarding the potential conflicts between his work as a top official at the Department of the Interior (DOI) and his previous work as a lobbyist and lawyer,” for Westlands Water District, the two wrote in the letter, noting numerous complaints about Bernhardt filed with various offices.

“It is essential that the Congress and the American people have a full and complete record of the relationship between Mr. Bernhardt and Westlands so these questions can be answered, and potential conflicts of interest can be addressed.”

The New York Times on Thursday published a story that said a 2017 invoice showed Bernhardt continued to lobby for Westlands Water District for several months after filing paperwork saying he had ended his lobbying activities.

As a lobbyist for the group, Bernhardt spent years fighting to weaken endangered species protections for the delta smelt, a small fish competing for water alongside California’s agriculture industry.

The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General is now reviewing allegations that Bernhardt violated his ethics pledge by continuing to work for the client, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, though the office has not committed to a probe.

The Trump nominee looks likely to be headed toward confirmation. On Thursday he won approval from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in a 14-6 vote.

But Democrats have continued to raise other issues connected with Bernhardt’s work on endangered species.

Read more here.

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A PUSH FOR MORE U.S. DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRIC CAR BATTERIES

Government officials will be meeting with automakers and lithium mining companies in May to discuss ways to increase U.S. production of batteries for electric vehicles, Reuters reported Friday.

China remains the dominant force in the supply chain for electric vehicles, producing nearly two-thirds of the world’s lithium batteries. The U.S. produces just 5 percent, leaving American auto manufacturers increasingly reliant on imports.

U.S. imports of lithium have nearly doubled since 2014, and government officials are now looking for ways to fast-track battery production.  

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee’s role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Bipartisan group proposes legislation to help tribal communities combat violence against Native women Files show Trump Interior nominee lobbied after saying he had stopped: report MORE (R-Alaska) and John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenFCC claims on broadband access under scrutiny Senate GOP proposes constitutional amendment to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats Dem lawmaker ‘confident’ bipartisan group will strike deal on border funding MORE (R-N.D.), both members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and officials from the departments of State, Energy, and the Interior as well as the U.S. Geological Survey have been invited to attend the meetings.

Murkowski, the chair of the committee, plans to introduce legislation to ease the permitting process for lithium mining, further government studies of U.S. mineral supplies, and encourage mineral recycling, according to Reuters.

“We need to find ways to more efficiently develop our nation’s domestic critical mineral supply because these resources are vital to both our national security and our economy,” Hoeven said in a statement to Reuters.

The one-day meeting will include workshops focused on financing and permitting obstacles and one-on-one afternoon meetings between regulators and industry executives, Reuters reported.

Read more here.

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

-Yankees the first sports group to sign onto the Paris climate agreement, Gizmodo reports.

-Grand Canyon fatal fall is third visitor death in eight days, The Washington Post reports.

-Shell sed in the Netherlands for insufficient action on climate change, CNBC reports.  

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

The House will start the week off next week discussing the need for increased leadership in the time of worsening climate change and related threats to national security. A full hearing in the House Oversight and Reform Committee Tuesday will include testimony from Former Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelOvernight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Democrats offer legislation to counter White House climate science council Dozens of ex-officials warn Trump against White House panel on climate change MORE and Former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryCrisis hits Biden as new allegation emerges Jam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change MORE. Both served under Obama.

That same day, the Oversight committee’s newly created subcommittee on environment will hold its first hearing entitled: The History of a Consensus and the Causes of Inaction.

Headed by freshman Democrat Rep. Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaDem says Trump should give up ‘medieval’ wall for modern security technology Dems blast Trump over tweet blaming Dems for death of migrant children Our best chance to tackle climate change is doubling down on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) the hearing will be the first of a three part series on climate to discuss the past, present and future risks and causes of global warming.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will also Tuesday meet to consider and markup HR9, a House climate bill introduced by Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorOvernight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee’s role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Newly-formed House climate panel holds first hearing Overnight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown MORE (D-Fla.) which aims to bind the U.S. to the tenants of the international Paris climate agreement.

The House Natural Resources subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Tuesday will hold a legislative hearing on “Health and Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Removal Mining.” The meeting will also consider HR2050, a bill that would place a moratorium on granting permits for mountaintop coal mining until health studies are conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Over in the Senate next week the Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Transportation and Safety will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine pipeline safety.

Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee will hold its own hearing on climate change, this time to discuss opportunities for energy “innovation,” a term largely favored by the GOP.

lN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Stories from Friday…

Bipartisan senators want ‘highest possible’ funding for carbon capture technology

Officials, automakers aim to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US: report

Dems want documents on Bernhardt’s lobbying work

Genetically modified crops a hurdle in US-China trade talks: report

Study: Most carbon dioxide in atmosphere in 3 million years

Iowa Republican on Trump claim: If windmill noise caused cancer I’d have ‘church bell cancer’



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