Energy & Environment – SEC postpones comment deadline on climate risk rules – Advice Eating

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

A financial regulator grants more time for public comment on a climate risk proposal, California is cracking the sky on offshore wind and the Interior Department is funding nearly 50 water infrastructure projects.

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news on energy, the environment and more. For The Hill we are Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forwarded this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

SEC Extends Public Comment Deadline

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended how long the public must consider a proposal that would require companies to disclose their vulnerabilities and contribution to climate change.

What would it require? In a press release Monday, the SEC said people now have until June 17 to comment on the proposal that would require publicly traded companies to tell investors how climate-related risks, such as severe weather and mitigation efforts, are progressing their use of fossil fuels could impact their business.

It would also require publicly traded companies to disclose their own contributions to climate change by disclosing information about how much their activities contribute directly to climate-warming emissions. If it is considered “material” for investors, companies would also have to disclose emissions that they cause indirectly, such as those caused by the use of their products.

For many industries, such as fossil fuel companies and automakers, emissions from the use of their products can account for a larger proportion of their climate contributions than their operations.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement that the comment period on the proposal was being extended due to “significant interest” from investors and others.

“Commentators with differing views have noted that they would benefit from additional time,” he said. “I’m pleased that the public will have additional time to provide thoughtful feedback.”

Not everyone is happy: The long-awaited March climate proposal drew criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Republicans have argued that the rule is too broad and violates the agency’s mission to “protect investors; maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation.”

Meanwhile, progressives say the indirect emissions requirements are not comprehensive enough and contain loopholes that could baffle companies.

Read more from Rachel.

California unveils offshore wind targets

California’s energy regulator has announced an ambitious set of offshore wind targets as part of a statewide push to make electricity 100 percent renewable by 2045.

About 3 gigawatts of offshore wind power should power the state’s power grid by 2030 — enough to power about 3 million average homes in the state, the California Energy Commission found.

Another 7-12 gigawatts should be available by 2045 — bringing the state’s total offshore wind capacity to about 10-15 gigawatts by then, according to a draft report released Friday.

They cut out her work for her: The report also confirms that California has more than 21.8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, with the potential for major technological developments to boost production over the next few decades.

“These preliminary megawatt planning targets are set at a level that can significantly contribute to meeting California’s climate goals,” the report said.

Local and national environmental groups welcomed the goals, calling them critical of eventually powering the state solely from renewable energy sources.

“The strong winds off the Pacific coast are one of California’s largest untapped sources of renewable energy,” Laura Deehan, state director of the Environment California Research and Policy Center, said in a statement.

The announced targets mean “we are now really sailing towards a better, 100 percent renewable future,” she added.

Read more from The Hill’s Sharon Udasin.

Interior presents financing for water infrastructure

The Biden administration will allocate funds to improve water infrastructure at 46 projects in 11 states, the Interior Department said Monday.

Funding includes $240.4 million through the bipartisan infrastructure bill and includes projects such as sewer lining repairs and upgrades and waterline replacement.

According to the department, the 46 selected projects include:

  • Sewer repair projects in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming
  • Pipeline repairs in Utah
  • Repairs at the dam in Nebraska

“President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill makes a historic investment in drought resilience and water infrastructure,” Home Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “As western communities face growing water access challenges following record drought, these investments in our aging water infrastructure will secure community water supplies and revitalize water supply systems.”

“The Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with states and local water districts that receive municipal water and irrigation water from federally-owned projects, is responsible for much of the water infrastructure in the west,” added David Palumbo, acting commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation.

“These water systems function because of this federal and non-federal partnership, and this funding will help carry out the necessary extraordinary maintenance to keep the projects viable and the partnerships strong.”

The Infrastructure Act provides a total of about $10 billion for water infrastructure and drought protection measures.

Read more from Zack here.

G7 NATIONS BANNED RUSSIAN OIL

President Biden held a meeting with other Group of Seven (G-7) leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday, where the new measures are likely to be a topic of discussion.

G-7 leaders pledge to “phase out or ban imports of Russian oil,” according to the White House fact sheet, which gave no timeline for that commitment.

The US has already banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas, but European nations are far more dependent on Russian energy exports. Biden announced the ban, warning that it could lead to an additional hike in gas prices.

The announcement comes a day before Russia’s Victory Day, when some have speculated that despite heavy casualties and challenges on the Russian side, Russian President Vladimir Putin may seek to declare a symbolic victory over Ukraine.

“We are committed to gradually ending our dependence on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil. We will ensure that we do this in a timely and orderly manner,” G7 leaders said in a joint statement on Monday. “We will work together and with our partners to ensure a stable and sustainable global energy supply and affordable prices for consumers.”

The announcement also comes days after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a proposal Banning Russian oil imports to the EU as part of its latest sanctions package.

“To be clear, it won’t be easy because some member states are heavily dependent on Russian oil,” she said on Friday. “But we just have to do it, so today we’re going to propose banning all Russian oil from Europe.”

Read more from The Hill’s Brett Samuels.

WHAT WE READ

  • AP analysis finds growing number of bad, highly dangerous dams (The Associated Press)
  • Hydrogen is every US gas utility’s future favorite savior (Bloomberg)
  • A drought so bad it brought to light a murder committed long ago. Getting the water back is getting harder than ever (Los Angeles Times)
  • EU plans year-long renewable energy permits for faster green transition (Reuters)

And finally, something fancy and quirky: Damned.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Visit The Hill’s energy and environment page for the latest news and reports. we will see you tomorrow

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