OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA chief slams New York Times

DON'T STEAL OUR THUNDER: Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy shot back at a New York Times article that credited a prominent green group for drafting the administration's signature climate rule.

In a report Monday, the Times said the Natural Resources Defense Council "heavily influenced" the framework of the rule, which mandates states cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

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McCarthy called such a claim "preposterous" in an internal email to staff obtained by The Hill.

In the memo, McCarthy defended the agency's process for crafting the rules, which have come under constant fire from Republicans, pro-fossil fuel Democrats, and the coal industry.

McCarthy called it "laughable" that the Times article implied the agency simply "copy and pasted" NRDC's proposal to cut emissions rather than consider input from other stakeholders.

The internal email indicated the seriousness of the proposal, which the administration has launched an aggressive campaign to defend against legislative and legal assaults. 

Read more here.

 

Stay tuned ... The House is expected to vote on final passage of an energy and water spending bill this evening. The bill contains a number of controversial environmental riders that would block the Army Corps of Engineers from working on rules that regulate mining waste and clarify its jurisdictional powers over wetlands and streams.

ON TAP FRIDAY I: A House Energy and Commerce subpanel will host a hearing Friday about constitutional considerations in environmental policy and the different authorities of states and the federal government.

Lawmakers will certainly use the hearing to argue that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been overreaching its authority under President Obama. The panel will hear from three university law professors and an attorney from the Congressional Research Service.

ON TAP FRIDAY II: Four House Democrats from western states, led by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), will hold a Capitol Hill press conference to announce a discharge petition for a bill that would allow federal firefighting agencies to use natural disaster contingency funds when they reach 70 percent of the 10-year average for firefighting costs.

Rest of Friday's agenda...

A House Science, Space, and Technology subpanel will hold a hearing on fusion energy. Officials from the Energy Department and Government Accountability Office will testify.

Members of the Sierra Club, ForestEthics and more will march to the Transportation Department to urge officials to stop crude oil from being transported by rail.


NEWS BITES:

Bay watch ... Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is optimistic that the Senate will confirm President Obama's nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday.

After Obama's nominee to lead the commission, Norman Bay, faced strong opposition from Republicans and some pro-fossil fuel Democrats, Landrieu worked with the White House to strike a deal. Now, if Bay and Cheryl LaFleur, who Obama nominated to sit for another five years on the commission, are confirmed, LaFleur will stay on as chairwoman for a set time.

"I hope we will get a strong bipartisan vote," Landrieu told reporters. "I was able to work with the White House and Sen. [Joe] Manchin (D-W.Va.) as well, to have Cheryl LaFleur to stay as full chair for nine months after her confirmation."

"I have the assurances that I need as chair -- I negotiated it," Landrieu added when asked if those opposing Bay think the White House will hold up its end of the bargain.

Waters rule ... EPA chief Gina McCarthy spoke with farmers Thursday in Missouri about the Waters of the United States rule intended to clarify the agency’s jurisdiction for the Clean Water Act, and said misinformation about the rule is crowding out the issues in public discussions about the proposal.

“In D.C., all we hear about are things like: EPA’s new rule will shut down the July 4th fireworks, EPA is trying to regulate the rain in puddles on driveways and in playgrounds, and every conservation practice that we all want to see happen will now require a permit,” McCarthy told the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, according to her prepared remarks.

“None of that is true,” she said.

Ken Kopocis, McCarthy’s clean water adviser, told Farm Futures that a Missouri agricultural group’s ad opposing the rule “appears to be at factual odds with the reality of the proposed rule.”


AROUND THE WEB:

A report from the Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that 233 birds had been killed at three solar power farms in southern California and Nevada, KCET reports.

A weather pattern similar to this past winter’s polar vortex will bring temperatures down 10 to 30 degrees early next week in the eastern United States, the Washington Post reports.

Exxon Mobil Corp. complained that Pennsylvania’s attorney general is singling out the oil giant in its criminal charges over a wastewater spill, because she wants to stop all fracking, the Wall Street Journal reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

- Green groups call on Senate to reject Manchin Ex-Im bill
- EPA chief McCarthy mocks The New York Times in staff memo
- Bill would expand federal mining royalties to hard minerals
- Senate bill increases natural gas exports to US allies
- House rejects bids to abandon nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain
- Oil lobby VP: 'Irresponsible' to deal with fracking at ballot box
- Gov. Pence to Congress: Defund climate regs
- GOP senators slam EPA on wage garnishment
- Gun fight upends hunting bill
- EPA to restrict more greenhouse gases
- Obama energy nominees set for vote Tuesday
- Bee-killing pesticide linked to bird declines
- Kerry: US, China will 'set tone' on climate change
- Australia's Senate blocks carbon tax repeal

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