Capito, Manchin and … optimism?

Despite these tensions, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a key negotiator on permitting, yesterday expressed optimism that a deal could be reached.

“What we need to do is look at H.R. 1 and see where we can find common ground,” Capito told The Climate 202. “That may be a rosy outlook, but I think there’s a desire for permitting reform on both sides.”

Capito added that she had had a “good” conversation about permitting yesterday with House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

Sam Runyon, a spokeswoman for Manchin, also sounded an optimistic note.

“Senator Manchin is taking a close look at HR1 and is hopeful there might be a pathway to permitting legislation that could gain bipartisan support,” Runyon said in an email.


Senate Republicans grill EPA chief at budget hearing

Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday grilled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan on the Biden administration’s roughly $12 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2024, saying the agency is already flush with cash.

Regan emphasized that the increased budget request is meant to shore up the EPA’s workforce, which is near the lows of the Reagan administration, at a time when the agency is tasked with implementing the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law.

However, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) said the agency should be able to handle its responsibilities with the nearly $41 billion it received from the new climate law, calling the request “mind-boggling in this time of fiscal restraint.” 

Other GOP senators criticized recently proposed EPA regulations, with Sen. Pete Ricketts (Neb.) calling the agency’s new “Waters of the United States” rule “an expansion of executive power.” 

Meanwhile, Sen. Kevin Cramer (N.D.) said he was worried that “the EPA is still presuming authority that it doesn’t have” after the Supreme Court limited the agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions in West Virginia v. EPA, pointing to a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that directs the EPA to significantly reduce states’ greenhouse gas pollution.