environment

Democrats Want Probe of Interior Scientists' Reassignments

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and other Democrats are concerned the administration is reassigning scientists to try to get rid of them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats at a hearing for Interior and Energy Department nominees seized on the published comments of an Interior scientist who claims that Secretary Ryan Zinke was using forced reassignments to coax experienced scientists to resign.

The top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Maria Cantwell of Washington, said at the Thursday hearing that she will ask Interior’s Inspector General to investigate the allegations raised by the scientist, Joel Clement, in an op-ed published by The Washington Post.

Capitol Ink | On Thinning Ice

House Takes Up Bill to Delay Ozone Rule Compliance

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to alter the current standards for ground level ozone pollution, something the House bill would give him legal cover for. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans plan to vote this week on a measure that would delay the compliance date for an Obama-era ground level ozone standard that they say would put an undue economic burden on industry.

The bill (HR 806) would also give legal cover to the Environmental Protection Agency as its administrator, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, looks to replace the current standards with levels more flexible for states and their economic development plans.

Climate Change Activists Flood Capitol to Lobby Lawmakers
Merkley, Whitehouse and Fitzpatrick address concerned parents

Children join in as organizers set up a play area on the Upper Senate Lawn Thursday as part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration on the Hill organized by Moms Clean Air Force. (Griffin Connolly/CQ Roll Call)

Climate change activists from all 50 states met with more than 150 lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, armed with personal anecdotes and data booklets to persuade members to take action on environmental issues such as air pollution and global warming.

The meetings were part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration, organized by the anti-pollution advocacy group Moms Clean Air Force, which brought parents and their children to the Hill.

'Clean Coal' Tax Credit Gets a New Bipartisan Push in Senate

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has teamed up with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to push for tax credits for the so-called clean coal technology. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As investors give up on a Mississippi carbon-capture coal plant and the Trump administration continues to push for “beautiful clean coal,” a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to expand a tax credit in hopes of spurring investment in the costly technology.

The measure, with co-sponsors ranging from climate hawk Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., to coal-state stalwart Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., would extend and enhance a tax credit, known as Section 45Q, that rewards facilities that capture carbon emissions for either storage or enhanced oil recovery purposes.

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

Tillerson Says He Still Believes in Paris Pact, But Backs Trump
‘My views were heard out. I respect that the president heard my views.’

Secretary of State nominee Rex Wayne Tillerson testifies during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has previously backed the U.S. staying in the Paris climate agreement, told lawmakers on Tuesday that his views have “never changed” but that he respects President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international accord aimed at slowing global warming.

Tillerson was speaking at a budget hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where the panel’s top Democrat, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, asked if he had changed his position on the agreement ahead of the president’s decision or whether the move was “just a political decision” by the administration.

Neighborhood Dispute: The D.C.-Maryland Lawsuit and Donald Trump
White House brushes aside suit, but conflict with home region is real

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, right, and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh conduct a news conference on a lawsuit they filed Monday against President Donald Trump, alleging he violated the U.S. Constitution by accepting foreign payments through his businesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine can see the top of the Trump International Hotel from his Penn Quarter office. Whenever he looks at it, he sees the U.S. Constitution being trampled by President Donald Trump.

Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Monday they have filed a lawsuit against Trump claiming his business ties violate the U.S. Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause.” By doing so, they fired the latest salvo in an ongoing battle between the Trump White House and the city and region it calls home.

Nuclear Waste Deadlock Hurts Industry, Say Senate Appropriators
‘What I see is a big downward slope for the industry’

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is concerned that there will be stasis over the debate on where to store the nation's nuclear waste. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Leaders on the Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee agreed Wednesday that the fiscal 2018 spending bill needs to include a path forward on the nation’s nuclear waste stalemate — or risk accelerating the industry’s decline.

In a hearing to examine the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s fiscal 2018 budget request, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, California’s Dianne Feinstein, questioned the viability of the nuclear industry if a nuclear waste policy stasis takes hold of Congress.

American Catholics Have an Ally in Trump, VP Says
Pence speaks at D.C. breakfast

Vice President Mike Pence told attendees at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday that Catholics “have an ally in President Donald Trump.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By GRIFFIN CONNOLLY and KYLE STEWART

Vice President Mike Pence denounced terrorism in the Middle East and championed President Donald Trump’s early anti-abortion initiatives in an address Tuesday at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington.