energy

DeFazio wants to go big on infrastructure despite hurdles
Plan embraces automated vehicles and intelligent transportation roadways

House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is pushing an ambitious bill that could help House Democrats show they are trying to do big things beyond impeachment (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are renewing their push for a major infrastructure bill without the support they once hoped to get from President Donald Trump.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Oregon, presented a comprehensive infrastructure plan during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats late Thursday. The legislation is still being drafted, he said, and he declined to offer any cost estimates.

Trump's Energy nominee bats away questions about Perry and Ukraine
Brouillette also tells confirmation hearing about mining potential of the Arctic

Dan Brouillette, nominee to be Secretary of Energy, walks to the witness table after speaking with committee members before the start of his confirmation hearing Thursday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to become secretary of Energy distanced himself Thursday from the House impeachment inquiry of the president, telling senators he does not have direct knowledge of efforts to overhaul the board of a Ukrainian government-owned energy firm.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Brouillette, the No. 2 at DOE, said he was aware Secretary Rick Perry met with people interested in changing the corporate structure of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian company.

Report: Puerto Rico’s infrastructure failing as federal aid remains on hold
Engineers group says hurricane-ravaged island needs up to $23 billion investment over 10 years

A downed electric pole sits in mud more after Hurricane Maria hit the island in October 2017. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

More than two years after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s bridges, dams, drinking water, ports, roads and power grids are at a breaking point — and the federal dollars to fix that infrastructure remains out of reach.

So says the American Society of Civil Engineers in a report released Tuesday that assigned the island’s infrastructure an overall grade of D-.

Manchin backs FERC nominee despite Schumer’s opposition
W.Va. Democrat’s support should all but clear the way for a precedent-breaking confirmation

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Joe Manchin has said he will support the nomination of James Danly to fill a vacant Republican seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking Democrat Joe Manchin III said he will support President Donald Trump’s pick to fill a vacant Republican seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission even though the White House has yet to nominate a member for a vacant Democratic seat.

The West Virginia senator’s support should all but clear the way for a precedent-breaking confirmation, despite opposition from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

EPA proposes eased regulations on coal-ash pollution
Changes would save industry $175 million in compliance costs for Obama-era rule triggered by catastrophic spills.

A coal ash pond at Buck Steam Station in Salisbury, N.C. (Courtesy Les Stone/Greenpeace)

The EPA on Monday proposed to make it easier for power companies to dispose of the toxic residues from burning coal, building on other steps the agency has already taken to rewrite Obama-era rules for coal ash pollution.

The EPA’s actions would unwind some of the requirements for treating toxic wastewater and ash that coal power plants discharge that were set in that 2015 rule, which implemented the first federal limits on the levels of toxic metals that can be discharged in wastewater from power plants, and required companies to use updated technology to prevent such pollution.

Spouse of Brian Schatz chief of staff has substantial fossil fuel investments
Eric Einhorn lists stock owned by spouse valued at $168,000-$445,000

The spouse of Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz’s chief of staff has substantial stock holdings in fossil fuel companies, according to the chief of staff’s financial disclosure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Sen. Brian Schatz aims to lead the charge in fighting climate change as chairman of a special panel dedicated to the issue, his top staffer’s spouse has substantial holdings in fossil fuel companies that produce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

 

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 29
Trump launches preemptive strike on NSC staffer’s deposition, impeachment ground rules resolution coming

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director of European affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at the Capitol for his deposition as part of the House's impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two senior Senate Democrats, in a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, asked for details about the Pentagon’s role in freezing military aid to Ukraine for several weeks earlier this year.

The aid, which had been appropriated in law, is at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry amid allegations that President Donald Trump ordered the money withheld as a way to coerce Ukraine to help discredit Trump’s political rivals.

White House ‘does not seek confrontation with China,’ Pence says
‘There’s no deal with China,’ GOP Sen. Rick Scott says, breaking with Trump on trade pact

Vice President Mike Pence walks through Statuary Hall on his way to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office in the Capitol in January. On Thursday, he laid out the Trump administration's China trade deal and its policy toward its top economic and military rival. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday credited President Donald Trump with altering U.S.-China relations “forever,” saying the decades during which “we rebuilt China … are over.”

“Past administrations have come and gone; all were aware of these abuses. None were willing to upset the established Washington interests who not only permitted these abuses, but profited from them,” Pence said during what his office billed as a major policy speech. “The political establishment was not only silent in the face of China’s economic aggression and human rights abuses, but enabled them.”

No evidence to suggest Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian agent, Trump says
President: U.S. never promised to ‘protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives’

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, speaks with the media at the Iowa State Fair in August. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There is no evidence to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s suggesting that Democratic Rep. and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is being supported by the Russian government, President Donald Trump said Monday.

Clinton, the party’s 2016 presidential nominee who lost to Trump, recently criticized the Hawaii lawmaker and said she clearly is “the favorite of the Russians” among the still-crowded Democratic primary field.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 21
OMB officials refuse to testify about Ukraine deal while Republicans move to censure Schiff

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans will introduce a privileged motion to censure Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who is overseeing the impeachment investigation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is seeking details from the acting Director of National Intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general about efforts to protect the whistleblower who provided information about the conversation between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine.

The New York Democrat expressed concern amid ongoing and public attacks from Trump and threats to expose his or her identity.