Democrats secured the final holdout vote for their climate bill last night, when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) agreed to support it in exchange for a handful of policy changes, including a multibillion-dollar infusion of money for drought resilience in the West.
A group of Western lawmakers said this afternoon that $4 billion in funding for the Bureau of Reclamation to tackle drought had been added to the bill.
Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), all of whom are up for reelection this year, made the announcement.
The group did not include Sinema, but she had in recent days been calling for drought money as a condition of her support for the legislation.
It was fitting dealmaking at a time when Western states are being ravaged by historically dry conditions.
Much of the American West is experiencing the worst drought in roughly 1,200 years. Arizona is in its 27th year of long-term drought, according to the Arizona State Climate Office.
Democrats have started taking victory laps, but the process is still plodding along.
The Senate will take the first procedural vote on the $379 billion climate bill tomorrow afternoon.
Final passage is expected sometime in the next few days, but first, senators will have to endure a marathon amendment session known as the “vote-a-rama.” Any senator can offer an amendment during the session.
Vote-a-ramas are standard special procedure for budget reconciliation, the process Democrats are using to pass the bill with a simple majority and avoid the Senate filibuster.
Republicans are expected to offer dozens of amendments to the bill to force Democrats to take politically uncomfortable votes, but they’re not likely to be able to make major changes to the legislation.
“What will vote-a-rama be like? It will be like hell,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
After Senate passage, the House plans to return to town next week to finalize the bill and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk.
The GOP is also threatening to sink the other half of the climate deal.
As a condition of his support for the climate bill lawmakers are currently considering, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) struck a deal with Senate leadership to pass separate legislation this fall to cut down environmental permitting for energy projects.
The permitting bill would need support from at least 10 Republicans. Even though the GOP has long supported changes to environmental permitting, Graham suggested today they might not comply.
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European countries are scrambling to limit their energy use amid a natural gas supply crunch fueled by the war in Ukraine.
Spain will limit air conditioning temperatures to 81 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and heating temperatures to 66 degrees in the winter.
In Greece, similar limits on air-conditioning temperatures are testing the country’s support for Ukraine, particularly after last month’s historic European heat wave.
European Union countries have agreed to cut gas demand 15 percent by winter ahead of expected shortages.
Oil and the climate bill
Oil executives are finding a lot to like in the Democrats’ climate bill, writes Mike Lee.
The industry could benefit from offshore leasing sales and tax credits for carbon capture and hydrogen.
Manchin also has secured an agreement for a permitting reform bill to move this fall, a longtime priority for oil companies. Read the story here.
On the flip side, the permitting deal could make it more difficult for states and tribes to block natural gas pipelines and other energy facilities they don’t want, writes Miranda Willson. Read more here.
China has suspended climate talks with the United States in retaliation for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week, writes Stuart Lau.
It marks a setback after the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters had forged ahead with an intensified climate dialogue over the past year. Read that story here.
Leakage: The Biden administration announced a tranche of funding up to $32 million for research into curbing methane leaks from oil and gas operations.
State influence: Republican state treasurers around the country are embarking on a coordinated campaign to halt climate regulations and cut ties with banks that step away from the fossil fuel industry.
The science, policy and politics driving the energy transition can feel miles away. But we’re all affected on an individual and communal level — from hotter days and higher gas prices to home insurance rates and food supply.
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Offshore wind developers are hoping Democrats’ climate bill can shore up fragile supply chains.
The world’s major polluters have not yet committed to big emissions cuts ahead of the next round of United Nations climate talks this fall.
Senate Republicans yesterday voted to overturn new Biden administration environmental rules, with help from Manchin.
That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!