energy

Levin bill would put electric car chargers at national parks and forests
Transportation sector accounts for nearly a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., introduced a bill this week to make national parks and forests more electric car-friendly. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill filed Wednesday by Rep. Mike Levin would provide millions of dollars for the federal agencies governing U.S. national parks and forests to facilitate the installation of electric car charging stations to promote the use of zero-emissions vehicles on public lands.

Under the bill, which Levin has dubbed the “Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act,” The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service would also be required to obtain zero-emissions vehicles and shuttle buses to replace the gas-fueled fleets they use now.

Rep. Thomas Massie TBTs to his summer fling
Kentucky congressman won the internet on Thursday

A 19-year-old Thomas Massie, in white cap, embarked on a 10-day trip across the U.S. in a solar-powered  vehicle named "Galaxy." (Courtesy Rep. Thomas Massie via Twitter)

There are two kinds of TBTs: the kind that we pause to view ever so quickly, perhaps give it a double tap, and then continue the scroll through the rest of our feed. And then there’s the kind that stops us cold, takes hold of our vision and raise questions faster than we can raise our eyebrows.

This morning, Rep. Thomas Massie blessed us with the latter.

Climate change takes back seat at presidential debate — again
But several candidates said they would prioritize recommitting the U.S. to the Paris climate accord

Climate change was lightly touched on during the second Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida. California Sen. Kamala Harris, right, and former Vice President Joe Biden, left, speak as Sen. Bernie Sanders looks on. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The second night of the Democratic candidates’ debate Thursday dedicated just as little time to climate change as the first, leaving activists once again frustrated and amplifying their calls for a session dedicated to the issue.

“Adding only a single measly minute to the climate discussion compared to the first night was grossly insufficient — voters need to understand where every candidate stands on the most pressing emergency of our time,” Kassie Siegel, climate director at the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said shortly after the debate. “That’s why we need a climate debate.”

Trump escalates trade tussle with India, putting U.S. farmers at risk — again
‘We’ve been very good to our allies,’ POTUS says amid warnings of economic damage

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint session of Congress as then-Speaker Paul D. Ryan and then-Vice President Joe Biden, watch on June 8, 2016. Three years later, he is in a trade spat with President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Of the many trade wars Donald Trump has launched since becoming president, his relatively quiet and in-the-weeds one with India had flown mostly below the radar. No more.

GOP lawmakers and analysts worry that those most impacted will be the American farmers who send nuts and fruits to India, as well the U.S. firms that export aircraft and machinery there. Voters who make a living in both sectors are already leery of Trump’s trade tactics, making an escalation with India dicey politics as he revs up his re-election campaign.

EPA rule lets political officials block FOIA document requests
Rulemaking follows Interior Department actions that drew congressional criticism

Environmental Protection Agency prepares regulations on how it responds to freedom of information requests (CQ Roll Call photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new EPA rule would allow political appointees to review and withhold documents requested by the public under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The final rule, published Wednesday in the Federal Register, was signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on June 14 and takes effect July 25. It was not preceded by a public comment period.

Bitcoin mining energy costs raise concern, prompt little action
Influx of bitcoin miners to areas with access to cheap and plentiful energy has caused a backlash

More than 18 U.S. homes could be powered for one day by the electricity consumed for a single bitcoin transaction, a recent estimate found. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Bitcoin is under a cloud, one that Congress and others are beginning to acknowledge: the vast amount of energy required to obtain and maintain the virtual currency.

A university study released last week found the emissions produced by the worldwide network of computers that “mine” bitcoin sits “between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka, which is comparable to the level of Kansas City.”

Trump energy plan faces legal blitz over weaker emissions standards
Democratic state AGs join environmental groups saying they’ll sue the federal government over the rule

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Blue states and green groups are gearing up to sue the Trump administration over its new carbon emissions rule finalized Wednesday, which critics say fails to address climate change and the public health risks associated with pollution from the power sector.

The EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule rescinds the Obama administration’s ambitious Clean Power Plan and replaces it with less stringent guidelines for states and coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions.

Capitol Ink | Inside Job

James Inhofe and the art of the bipartisan joke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 78

Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe and ranking member Jack Reed have a warm relationship that enables them to move bipartisan legislation, something Inhofe discusses in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. James M. Inhofe is one conservative guy, and he is proud of it, trumpeting vote-tracking organizations that peg him as the most right-wing in the chamber. And yet, the Oklahoma Republican has an equally proud history of working with some of his most liberal colleagues on bipartisan legislation. 

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, the panel’s ranking Democrat, constructed the highly popular defense authorization bill the last two years. And before that, he worked quite productively with California Democrat Barbara Boxer, the yin to Inhofe’s yang on environmental issues, as leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee. This, despite Inhofe writing a book that claimed global warming was, as the title attested, “The Greatest Hoax.” And yet, “We prided ourselves in getting things done,” he says. 

Interior held back FOIA’d documents after political screenings
Watchdog: ‘Are there bad actors at these agencies that are willfully ignoring the law?’

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has defended his department’s protocols on Freedom of Information Act requests, but watchdogs say the process is rife with political considerations and run outside the law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Documents sought under the Freedom of Information Act were withheld by the Interior Department under a practice that allowed political appointees to review the requests, internal emails and memos show.

The policy allowed high-ranking officials to screen documents sought by news organizations, advocacy groups and whistleblowers, including files set to be released under court deadlines. In some cases, the documents’ release was merely delayed. In other cases, documents were withheld after the reviews.