FEATURED:

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: No conflict of interest in State's Keystone review

THE NEXT LINK IN THE CHAIN: State's internal watchdog released the findings of its highly anticipated investigation into the department's process for choosing a contractor to work on the Keystone XL environmental impact analysis on Wednesday evening.

The Office of Inspector General found State followed the proper conflict-of-interest guidelines when vetting the private contractor Environmental Resources Management, which took the lead on the environmental review dropped by State earlier this year.

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The watchdog, however, also said State lacked "effective documentation" of the process, creating "potential misperceptions" of transparency.

E2-Wire has more on the report here.

ON TAP THURSDAY: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won't stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Obama EPA chief: Trump regulation rollbacks won't hold up legally MORE will hit the road for North Dakota. McCarthy arrives in the second largest oil-producing state on Thursday to meet with tribal groups and local and state officials.

The EPA said McCarthy will focus on energy opportunities and President Obama's climate action plan.

McCarthy will also be joining Sen. Heidi Heitkamp during her trip to talk about coal and the renewable fuel mandate, the North Dakota Democrat said in a statement.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes Kerry2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states When it comes to Colombia, America is in a tough spot 36 people who could challenge Trump in 2020 MORE will have a closed meeting with recently appointed United Nations special climate change envoy for cities, Michael Bloomberg at the State Department.

Both are known for their bold statements on the fight against climate change. Kerry backed up the recent comments he made in Indonesia on Wednesday, calling the threat a national security risk.


Rest of Thursday's agenda ... The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on recycling electronics to enhance government efficiency and protect the environment.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will examine the Endangered Species Act, which House Republicans recently released a proposed overhaul on.

AROUND THE WEB:

Bloomberg reports Chinese President Xi Jinping said pollution was Beijing's greatest challenge it currently faces, calling it the "most prominent" problem Beijing must tackle to reign in the thick smog plaguing northern China.

The Houston Chronicle reports the Interior Department will soon release its environmental analysis on seismic testing for oil-and-gas exploration.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Here's what ran on E2-Wire on Wednesday...

- Internal watchdog clears State in Keystone contractor decision
- Kerry won't budge on Keystone XL
- Boxer warns Keystone will cause cancer
- Kerry doubles down on climate change
- Japan turns to nuclear power again