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Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap

The Hill logo The Hill 10/15/2021 Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk
President Biden delivers remarks on solutions to transportation supply chain bottlenecks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. © UPI Photo President Biden delivers remarks on solutions to transportation supply chain bottlenecks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today we're looking at the White House's climate finance strategy, a Supreme Court setback for a Missouri pipeline and concerns about wind power in the fishing industry.

For The Hill, we're Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: rfrazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.

Let's jump in.

White House puts together climate finance strategy

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The White House on Friday laid out a path for how it will protect the economy from climate risks.

In its "Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy," the Biden administration characterized climate-related risks as falling into two categories: physical risks from extreme weather and what it called "transition risk" as the nation shifts away from a carbon-fueled economy.

The report outlines a range of pending and future actions meant to shield both the broader financial system and American households from climate-related risks. The administration highlighted the housing market, insurance and retirement funds as areas where Americans could personally feel the costs of climate change.

The White House plan calls on federal financial regulators and internal budget offices to develop frameworks for assessing dangers posed by climate change and the societal response to it. Federal agencies will also be required to consider how climate change could impact their direct operations and the services they provide to Americans.

Like what? Much of the report walked through actions either already underway at federal agencies or previously announced by their leaders, including the Securities and Exchange Commission's pending climate disclosure requirements and the Financial Stability Oversight Council's soon-to-be-released report on climate risks to the financial system.

The departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs will also review their home loan programs for climate-related dangers and vulnerabilities facing millions of Americans with federally backed mortgages.

The White House plan also highlighted a pending Labor Department rule clarifying that investment managers can consider environmental, social and governance issues on behalf of clients. The agency will also review climate risks facing the Thrift Savings Plan, which covers 6.5 million people.

The bottom line: National climate adviser Gina McCarthy called the report a "critical first step" to address the "systemic" threat of climate change.

Read more about the announcement here.

A MESSAGE FROM EXXONMOBIL

ExxonMobil plans to offer certified or "differentiated" natural gas.

© Provided by The Hill

ExxonMobil's plan to offer certified gas will help give customers information they need to purchase lower-emission products.

The emerging market, on top of methane regulations, could help accelerate emissions reductions.

Fishing industry worries Biden offshore wind effort will cost jobs

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The Biden administration's push to expand offshore wind development is pitting advocates for commercial fishing against the renewable energy industry.

The former is concerned about potential disruptions to their business, while the latter is enthusiastic about the jobs for their industry and climate benefits that will come from expanded offshore wind.

This week, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland highlighted the Biden administration's commitment to expanding the industry.

The administration laid out a timeline for wind lease sales off the coasts of New York, the Carolinas, Oregon and California, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of Maine and in the Central Atlantic.

The soonest lease sale, in New York, could happen during the first quarter of 2022, while the furthest away could happen around 2024 in Maine.

"We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment," Haaland said during an industry conference on Wednesday, touting both potential climate and jobs benefits from the burgeoning industry.

This, as well as the Biden administration's existing goals of exponentially growing the U.S.'s current offshore wind goals, has been met with cheers from that industry.

Annie Hawkins, the executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies, raised concerns about the way that the administration's commitment will impact fishing jobs.

"For the people that are going to be displaced or put out of business or that are going to see impacts to seafood markets and not be able to afford to eat domestic, sustainable seafood anymore, they don't care about the political whiplash and the press releases and the big gestures," Hawkins told The Hill.

Read more about the controversy here:

Supreme Court rebuffs request from St Louis gas pipeline company

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., is seen on Friday, October 1, 2021. © Provided by The Hill The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., is seen on Friday, October 1, 2021.

The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request by a Missouri-based gas company to block a lower court's ruling against the firm.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is responsible for emergency matters arising in Washington, D.C., denied the request Friday without comment, according to a spokesperson for the nation's highest court.

Spire Inc., a St. Louis-headquartered natural gas utility, operates a 65-mile pipeline that carries gas through Missouri and Illinois. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) cleared the pipeline to operate in 2018, but a federal appeals court vacated the permit in June. FERC has since granted temporary permission to operate the pipeline through Dec. 13.

What's their argument?: In its petition earlier this month, Spire urged the court to stay the lower court decision, writing that halting the pipeline "would create a serious risk of up to 400,000 St. Louis-area homes and businesses losing gas service for prolonged periods of time during the freezing temperatures of the upcoming winter."

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), whose lawsuit in 2020 led to the lower-court decision, submitted its own motion in opposition Monday. Noting that the pipeline has been approved to operate in the meantime, EDF attorneys argued Spire has not demonstrated "likelihood of irreparable harm" from not granting the stay.

"Spire observes that if FERC does not issue Spire STL a temporary certificate, or else fails to act before Spire STL's emergency certificate expires, then Spire Missouri's captive customers are likely to confront harm in the form of disrupted gas service this winter," the group's lawyers wrote.

Read more about the denial here:

BARACK26

Former President Obama will attend the international climate summit in Glasgow set to begin Oct. 31, Obama's office confirmed Friday.

"Next month, President Obama will travel to Glasgow for the COP26 conference where he will meet with young activists engaged in the climate fight and deliver remarks putting the threat of climate change in broader context," a spokesperson for Obama said in a statement.

At the summit, Obama "will lay out the important progress made in the five years since the Paris Agreement took effect, highlight the leadership of young people around the globe, and urge more robust action going forward by all of us - governments, the private sector, philanthropy, and civil society," the spokesperson added.

The announcement comes the day after the White House confirmed 12 top administration officials will be attending the summit, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy.

Read more here:

A MESSAGE FROM EXXONMOBIL

ExxonMobil supports action on methane emissions regulations

© Provided by The Hill

ExxonMobil believes achieving broad reductions in methane emissions requires uniform regulations supported by technology advancements. Learn how we are investing in new and better ways to reduce methane emissions.

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

On Monday:

  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a field hearing on the impact of a recent oil spill near California

On Tuesday:

  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Charles Sams III to be National Park Service Director, Willie Phillips, Jr. to be a FERC Commissioner and Brad Crabtree to lead DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a series of lands and forest bills featuring Interior's deputy assistant secretary for lands and minerals management Steve Feldgus and Christopher French, deputy chief of the national forest system

On Wednesday:

  • Radhika Fox, who leads the EPA's Office of Water, will testify at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the federal response to PFAS chemicals
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on titled "Preparing for COP26: United States Strategy to Combat Climate Change through International Development"
  • The House Climate Crisis Committee will hold a hearing on private sector perspectives on climate action
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Colorado River drought conditions and response

On Thursday:

  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on spending at the Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy. The office's acting assistant secretary Katy Huff is slated to appear
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. Nuclear Legacy in the Marshall Islands
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a series of bills. Christopher French, deputy chief of the national forest system and Jeffery Rupert, director of Interior's Office of Wildland Fire, are slated to appear.

WHAT WE'RE READING

EU leaders to press ahead with emergency relief for energy prices, Reuters reports

Biden call for work at polluted port riles environmental justice activists, E&E News reports

Plant-Based Food Companies Face Critics: Environmental Advocates, The New York Times reports

DOJ Environment Chief to Focus Efforts on Low-Income Communities, Bloomberg reports

Orange County plants must pay $3.1 million in penalties following environmental lawsuit, 12NewsNow reports

ICYMI

And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: Crackdown

That's it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill's energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We'll see you tomorrow.

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