2019年2月11日 星期一

Overnight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop drilling in Alaska refuge | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal

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TRUMP VICTORIOUS IN ENVIRONMENTAL CASE OVER BORDER WALL: President Trump on Monday notched a rare victory in the California-based federal appeals court by winning a dispute over the construction of certain barriers along small stretches of the U.S. border with Mexico.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that sided with the Trump administration in a lawsuit challenging its authority to waive environmental and public participation laws to expedite the border construction projects.

A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has broad authority under the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to construct wall "prototypes," replace 14 miles of primary fencing near San Diego and replace similar fencing along a three-mile strip close to Calexico, Calif.

A coalition of environmental groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, challenged the authority of DHS to waive dozens of laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to make it easier to build the border infrastructure. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) also filed suit.

Reaction: "We're disappointed that the court is allowing the Trump administration's abuse of power to continue," Brian Segee, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney, said in a statement following the ruling.

"Congress has ceded its authority to Trump, who has swept aside fundamental public safety and environmental laws to build walls that won't work," he added. "This lawlessness is destroying irreplaceable ecosystems and militarizing communities."

A spokeswoman for Becerra called the ruling disappointing.

"We are disappointed with the ruling but pleased that the court recognized the Trump administration does not have unlimited power and that the administration's authority to build a barrier along our border is subject to judicial review," she said. "California will not be deterred in its efforts to hold the Trump administration accountable under the law and we will continue to protect the people and resources of our state."

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Happy Monday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

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BILL WOULD BAN DRILLING IN ARCTIC REFUGE: A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would ban oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The bill from Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) would repeal a section of the 2017 GOP tax law that, for the first time, opened part of the refuge for drilling.

"Not only is the refuge one of the last great expanses of untouched wilderness in America, it is home to tremendous ecological diversity. It's one of the last bastions of true wildness left on the planet," Huffman said at a Monday news conference, flanked by Lowenthal and representatives of environmental groups and the Gwich'in people, an Alaska Native group.

"This is a deeply unpopular thing in the United States. People don't want it. They haven't asked for it," he said. "And they will not accept that the wildest place in our country is on track to be sacrificed at the altar of big oil."

"We can't give the oil and gas industry the green light to permanently destroy one of our nation's last truly wild places," said Lowenthal.

Huffman chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee on water, oceans and wildlife. Lowenthal chairs the energy and mineral resources subpanel.

Fitzpatrick voted for the 2017 tax bill but has said he opposes the ANWR drilling provision.

Read more.


GOP GROUP TARGETS FRESHMAN DEMS OVER GREEN NEW DEAL: The super PAC aligned with House Republican leadership is targeting two first-term Democratic congressmen in a new pair of ads tying them to the so-called Green New Deal.

The pair of digital ads from Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) signal that Republicans are eager to hinge their 2020 effort to recapture control of the House on the sweeping environmental and infrastructure overhaul proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

One ad going after Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) warns of "less freedom" and "higher taxes" under the Green New Deal, while pairing together Delgado and Ocasio-Cortez.

"Antonio Delgado and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have begun their radical Green New Deal assault on the American economy," a narrator says in the ad.

The other spot hits Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) over his support for a carbon tax and also seeks to tie him to Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman representative and self-described democratic socialist.

"His carbon tax and her Green New Deal means skyrocketing prices, higher taxes for Texas families," a narrator says.

To be sure, neither Delgado nor Allred has signed onto a Green New Deal resolution laying out the goals of the program that was introduced last week by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

Delgado backed the idea of a Green New Deal on the campaign trail last year but hasn't yet come out in support of the legislation.

Likewise, Allred said at a town hall over the weekend that he supports "some of the goals of the Green New Deal," but that the specifics of the proposal still needed to be addressed.

Read more.


DEMS REQUEST EPA CLIMATE DOCUMENTS: House Democrats are renewing their demand that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) turn over various documents regarding the Trump administration's climate change rollbacks.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and two subcommittee chairmen wrote to acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler Friday, referencing a Nov. 20 letter on the same subject.

"On November 20, 2018, the committee sent EPA a letter requesting information about the agency's controversial decisions to rollback three separate Obama-era rules: The Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards for vehicles, and the methane rule," they told Wheeler.

"However, to date, the EPA has failed to provide the information requested by the committee. Therefore, we reiterate our request."

Pallone has the power to subpoena the EPA to get the documents, but he did not threaten to do so in Friday's letter.

Natural Resources leaders seek Interior docs on health study: The House Natural Resources Committee is also hungry for documents.

Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sent a letter Monday to acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt demanding documents about the 2017 decision to cancel a study it had contracted out on the impacts to local areas near mountaintop removal mining operations.

Grijalva and colleagues had also previously sought information on the cancelation, and say they only got a short response last year that didn't answer their questions.



The House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on energy and water development will hold a hearing on the Department of Energy's weatherization assistance grant program. Annamaria Garcia, the program's director, will testify, along with other witnesses.



PG&E Corp. is replacing half of its board amid its recent bankruptcy filing, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Meridian Energy Group is planning to build a 60,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Texas near the Permian Basin, the Houston Chronicle reports.

A new study says that the ongoing decline of insects threatens "catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems," the Guardian reports.



Check out stories from Monday and the weekend ...

- Senate rejects bid to block future national monuments in Utah

- Lawmakers introduce bill to ban drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge

- Climate change, ISIS, cyberattacks top list of global threats: survey

- GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads

- What key 2020 candidates are saying about the Green New Deal

- Lawmakers stunned by national park shutdown funding reversal

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