Republicans Seek Clean Energy Virus Aid Package
In a letter, seven Senate Republicans Thursday urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to add a host of clean energy incentives including wind, solar, and nuclear power to the next Covid-19 economic recovery bill. The letter obtained by Bloomberg, is intended to show GOP support for the ailing clean energy sector. It was signed by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marth McSally (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AL).
The renewable energy sector—struggling amid the pandemic—could use additional support to return hundreds of thousands of workers to clean energy projects. There is little hope of getting the added incentives in the bill Majority Leader McConnell plans to unveil next week, but clean energy advocates see a window of opportunity in negotiations that will be needed to reconcile an already-passed House bill with any measure the Senate passes.
From Bloomberg reports
House Passes First Spending Package for Next Fiscal Year
The U.S. House on Friday passed a spending package for fiscal year 2021 that includes appropriations for Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and State-Foreign Operations. Vote was 224-189.
From Bloomberg Reports
Great American Outdoors Act passes
The House Wednesday overwhelmingly passed bipartisan conservation legislation that many in Congress and the White House hope will bolster an ailing economy because of the shovel-ready outdoor and infrastructure projects it will finance. It passed 310-107. The Great American Outdoors Act would provide full, mandatory funding at $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, meaning the program would no longer be subject to the annual appropriations process. From CNN
Small Colleges Seek Federal Help
Well-funded private colleges and top state universities, defying President Trump’s urging to reopen, plan to hold classes mostly or entirely online in the fall. For many small schools that make up the majority of private colleges in the U.S., limited resources are forcing tougher choices. Many colleges say it’s critical for Congress to provide more aid to cover the new costs of operating campuses, including safety measures such as coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment.
Legislation introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would send $132 billion to colleges to provide direct aid to students and to help campuses cover the costs of reopening. More here.
Senate Seeks Plan to Pay College Athletes
Lawmakers took up the contentious issue of compensation for competitors in the big-money world of collegiate athletics, finding common ground on the need for change while differing over the specifics. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at the outset of the hearing, entitled “Protecting the Integrity of College Athletics,” that the goal should be ensuring fair treatment for athletes responsible for generating millions of dollars for their schools while protecting the amateur nature of college sports.
He said the need to deal with the issue on a national level is made more urgent by the fact that three states have already passed laws allowing athletes to be compensated for use of their names, likeness and images. He said that poses the threat of bidding wars that would create a “wild West” environment that could harm college sports.
“I have come to accept that basic rights need to be legislated,” added Graham, who said he hopes to come up with a bipartisan proposal by Sept. 15. “I want to make sure it remains amateur.” From the Hartford Courant
First Carbon Limits for Airplanes in U.S. Proposed by EPA
The EPA proposed a new rule today that would set emissions standards for certain types of airplanes under the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency was legally required to set those standards after it found in 2016 that emissions from certain aircraft elevated concentrations of the greenhouse gases that are the primary cause of climate change.
PREPA Says it is Ready for a Hurricane
While the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority assured a congressional committee Thursday it is prepared for the next hurricane, the utility hasn't fully rebuilt its hurricane- and earthquake-damaged grid, it has large debts and an underfunded pension system.
Congressional lawmakers expressed bipartisan concern Thursday about the continuing fragility of the utility’s electrical grid caused, in part, by earthquakes earlier this year, and delays in reconstruction.
They also raised questions about the utility’s slow conversion to renewable energy.
PREPA is set to receive $1.9 billion in federal funding to help repair the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma but has not yet signed an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the permanent repair and reconstruction work.
From The Bond Buyer