environment

DC’s plastic straw ban stirs up feelings on Capitol Hill
Deadline for compliance with straw ban is July

The Longworth Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the eateries on Capitol Hill transitioning to non-plastic straws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If your warm-weather routine calls for a switch from hot coffee to iced, prepare yourself. Spring is officially here, and the plastic exodus is underway, according to Roll Call’s audit of straws on Capitol Hill.

Many staffers first felt the shift at the Longworth Dunkin’ Donuts, if all the queries we got in recent weeks are any indication. “What’s the deal with the paper straws at Dunkin’?” was a popular refrain.

This Democrat seeks GOP support with new climate action plan
Paul Tonko hopes to win over Republicans by tying solutions to job creation, technological advancements and other policies

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., speaks during the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force news conference on the release of the 2018 legislative agenda for the 115th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House Democrat hopes he can win over GOP support for a climate action by tying solutions to job creation, technological advancements and policies that do not create uncertainty for industry and families.

Rep. Paul Tonko who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, said Thursday he plans to tap into the apparent willingness of more Republicans recently to talk about climate change and come up with solutions both parties can agree on.

Expect offshore drilling to play role in next week’s Interior secretary confirmation
The increased focus all but assures the plan will be part of Bernhardt’s confirmation next Thursday

The Atlantic Ocean is seen adjacent to President Donald Trump's beachfront Mar-a-Lago resort, the day after Florida received an exemption from the Trump Administration's newly announced ocean drilling plan on Jan. 11, 2018, in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Democrats are pressuring acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to release the department’s updated plan for opening the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling, foreshadowing an increased focus on a proposal opposed by lawmakers of both parties.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, of New York, and 16 other Democratic senators asked Bernhardt to release details about the department’s draft five-year oil and gas leasing program for the Outer Continental Shelf, including which states will be included in the next version of the proposal.

‘The River and the Wall,’ a journey down the wall’s path
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 62

Ben Masters, director of "The River and the Wall," right, discusses his movie about the Rio Grande and the immigration and border issues around it with Political Theater Podcast host Jason Dick. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

On the campaign trail, climate change can no longer be ignored
Democrats try to out-green each other as presidential race heats up

The Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino County, California, destroyed 37,000 acres and more than 300 structures in August 2016. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The 2020 elections are still many months away, but 17-year-old Michael Minsk is already following it closely as more candidates enter the race. Eager to vote for the first time next year, the high school junior is looking for a candidate promising bold action on climate change.

“Climate change is definitely one of the issues I will be voting on along with other social and economic problems,” said Minsk, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. “I am tired of corruption in government that prevents politicians from acting on it, so I want someone that will stand up and make changes.”

Some climate change panel members are literally invested in the issue
Panel members have investments in fossil fuel companies, and at least two have ties to clean-energy industries

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee business meeting in the Rayburn Building in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One member of the House committee created to address climate change stands out for what he owns: hundreds of oil and gas wells in North Dakota oil fields worth millions of dollars.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota, received at least $400,000 from those wells and as much as $1.1 million in the previous year, as well as $75,000 in salary from Armstrong Corp., his family’s oil and gas business. He also owns at least 289 wells, worth between $2.9 million and $11.5 million, though in a recent interview Armstrong said he owns more than 300 wells.

Graves sees a positive role for GOP in new select climate committee
Louisiana Republican is optimistic some bipartisan ideas can come out of the panel

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., right, here in May 2018 with Reps. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., is the ranking member on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Garret Graves says he wasn’t keen on joining the select committee to address climate change formed by the new Democratic House majority in January.

But on Feb. 28, weeks after the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis had been formed and long after the Democrats had announced their roster, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed the Louisiana Republican as co-chairman.

Conservatives back proposed gray wolf delisting as green groups howl
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said gray wolf populations recovered significantly after nearly disappearing

Crystal, a female gray wolf, roams the new wold enclosure during a sneak peak of the new American Trail at the Smithsonian National Zoo August 29, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

The Department of Interior moved on Thursday to remove gray wolves from federal protection, pleasing congressional Republicans and rankling environmental organizations that plan to fight the decision in court.

“Glad to see it,” Montana Sen. Steve Daines who like many western Republicans supports less federal control over at-risk species, told CQ. “Any time we can move a species off the endangered species list should be a victory.”

Mitch McConnell sets up Senate vote on a Green New Deal resolution
Democrats have decried the majority leader's move as a partisan stunt

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, set up the vote on the Green New Deal for after the recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on his promise to call a test vote on a resolution supporting the Green New Deal, a vote that Democratic supporters have decried as a political stunt.

The Republican from Kentucky moved to limit debate on taking up a joint resolution supporting the Green New Deal, setting up a vote after the Senate recess next week.

Creation of a panel disputing climate change causes White House infighting
The Trump administration is considering establishing a cohort of scientists led by climate denier William Happer

Donald Trump's Environment advisor Myron Ebell arrives for a meeting at Downing Street on January 31, 2017, in London, England. Ebell has referred to the Environmental movement as the "greatest threat to freedom". (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Plans to create a White House panel to dispute established climate science are facing sharp opposition from within the building, according to an official familiar with the matter and an administration adviser.

The Trump administration is considering establishing a cohort of scientists at the National Security Council, led by Princeton physicist and climate change denier William Happer, to challenge established scientific conclusions of the severity of climate change and humanity’s contributions to it.