INDIA’S MODI VISIT TO WASHINGTON, TSCA OVERHAUL HEADLINE THE WEEK AHEAD

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to speak before a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday and will be in bilateral meetings with President Barack Obama during a visit to the nation’s capital.

Our senior climate change reporter Dean Scott will be tracking updates on collaboration between the U.S. and India on clean energy, HFCs and enforcing the Paris climate agreement, which India has yet to ratify.

TSCA Overhaul?

Prior to leaving for Memorial Day recess, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked efforts to quickly pass the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576).

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The bill would overhaul the EPA’s primary chemicals law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA for short, and would represent the first significant rewrite of an environmental law in more than two decades. Paul said the bill “involves new criminalization” and deserves more scrutiny. 

If Paul does not lift his objection, the bill’s passage would depend on the Senate finding floor time amid a busy agenda prior to the August recess. Other Senate priorities include the defense appropriations bill, defense authorization legislation, Zika virus legislation, a Puerto Rico debt crisis bill and funding legislation for the FAA.

Olson’s Ozone Delay Bill

Legislation that would delay implementation of the 2015 ozone air pollution standards by eight years will be on the House floor Wednesday. 

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 4775, which would move the deadline for states to make recommendations for areas not meeting the 70 parts per billion ozone standards from October 2016 until October 2024. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) called Olson’s bill “an attack that strikes at the heart” of the Clean Air Act.

House Rules Committee

The House Rules Committee will meet Tuesday to consider a pair of nonbinding “sense of Congress” resolutions, which likely will then head to the House floor later this week:

  • H. Con. Res. 89 would express the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental” to the economy.
  • H. Con. Res. 112 would express the sense of Congress opposing a proposed $10 per barrel tax on oil that was included in Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget request.

Senate Committee Hearings

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a pair of hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency this week.

First, on Tuesday, the committee will have an oversight hearing on “unfunded mandates” from the EPA.

That will be followed by a Thursday hearing on the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan. The high court halted implementation of that rule, which would limit carbon emissions from the utility sector, but the EPA has continued to offer states advice on how to continue planning for the regulation.

What Else to Look for

The National Academies will release a report Wednesday looking into “gene-drive” technology that is being used with genetically modified mosquitoes that are bred to be sterile.

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The EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center is hosting a webinar Tuesday explaining the addition of customer assistance programs to aid in payment of water bills. 

By Ben Remaly