Overnight Energy: Court says climate rule can move forward

CLIMATE RULE LIVES -- FOR NOW: The Obama administration scored an early win in the court battle over its climate change rule for power plants Thursday when federal judges decided not to temporarily halt it.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided Thursday that the conservative states and business groups challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule did not meet the standard for a judicial stay during litigation.

"Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review," the court's three-judge panel wrote in the brief order.

ADVERTISEMENT
President Obama is far from being out of the woods on the climate rule, however.

The court granted the challengers' request to expedite the litigation, agreeing to hear oral arguments June 2.

The EPA still has to make its case that the rule complies with the Clean Air Act and the Constitution, and any decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Nonetheless, the EPA's supporters were pleased with the order.

"This is a huge win for protecting our health and climate from dangerous carbon pollution," said David Doniger, climate program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"The court has brushed aside the polluters' bogus bid to block the Clean Power Plan, and the electricity sector will continue the shift from its high-pollution, dirty-fueled past to a safer, cleaner-powered future."

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is leading the fight against the rule, said he was disappointed, but remained hopeful that he'll win on the merits of the case.

Read more here.

WATER RULE VETO OVERRIDE DIES: Senators failed Thursday to override President Obama's veto of a resolution blocking a key water rule.

Fifty-two senators voted to advance the override effort, well short of the 60 needed. Three Democrats -- Sens. Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampRegulatory experts push Senate leaders for regulatory reform Why governors hold power in the battle for GOP healthcare votes Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (N.D.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyIndiana GOP rep: Likely primary opponent 'lying about my family' Dem senator to sell stock in family company that uses outsourced labor Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (Ind.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin on GOP lawmaker’s suggestion for a duel with female senators: I’ll ‘step outside with him’ McCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Pressure on Trump grows as Kushner is questioned MORE (W.Va.) -- joined Senate Republicans in voting to proceed with the veto override.

Lawmakers sent Obama a Congressional Review Act resolution this month blocking the Environmental Protection Agency's so-called "waters of the United States" rule establishing regulatory authority over small waterways. Obama vetoed the resolution on Tuesday.

The rule has been temporarily blocked by a federal court pending litigation, but Republicans have hoped to block it legislatively as well.

"The administration has tried to spin WOTUS as some 'clean-water measure,' but a bipartisan majority of Congress understands it's really a federal power grab clumsily masquerading as one," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellHouse passes Russia sanctions deal McCain returns to applause, casts deciding vote to advance healthcare bill Senate votes to begin ObamaCare repeal debate MORE (R-Ky.) said of the regulation on the Senate floor.

"WOTUS would grant federal bureaucrats dominion over nearly every piece of land that touches a pothole, ditch, or puddle. It could force the Americans who live there to ask federal bureaucrats for permission to do just about anything with their own property."

Read more here.

ENERGY BILL JUST COMING TO LIFE: With the Senate's broad energy legislation coming to the floor next week, lawmakers are lining up their plans to propose amendments.

Senate leaders are planning an open amendment process, which is inviting amendments on climate change, coal mining and energy efficiency, among others.

Read about the possibilities here.

EPA MEETS WITH HOUSE STAFFERS ON FLINT: Officials from the EPA's drinking water office briefed staff of both parties from the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich.

The panel's leaders have been trying to figure out what went wrong and the EPA's role in it.

An aide for the panel's Republicans, led by Michigan's own Rep. Fred Upton, said the staff called for the briefing to learn more about the crisis, "specifically -- what the EPA knew and when, the relationships between EPA and the state, and EPA and the city."

The GOP aide said there are still vital questions that have not been answered, and the panel will keep working on the issue.

A spokeswoman for the Democrats said the briefing "was an important first step in hearing from the EPA about how it's working with the state and local governments to ensure the people of Flint have access to safe drinking water."

ON TAP FRIDAY: In case you hadn't heard, the Washington, D.C., area, and the East Coast, will get a major snow storm, the likes of which we haven't seen in years, if not longer. Most events scheduled for Friday have been postponed. Stay safe and stay warm. Follow the latest on the storm through the National Weather Service.

AROUND THE WEB:

Texas boomtowns are suffering as the price of oil continues to swoon on Wall Street, USA Today reports.

West Virginia officials -- while actively working against Obama's climate rule -- are prepared to use a carbon trading system to reduce their carbon emissions if they must, ClimateWire reports.

Washington state residents will get to vote this year on whether to impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, the Associated Press reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories...

-Feds give $80 million for Flint water crisis
-Court won't block Obama's climate rule
-GOP senators want federal probe of EPA 'propaganda'
-California to test taxing drivers by the mile
-Senators prepare amendments for energy bill free-for-all
-Michigan gov's emails show finger-pointing over Flint water crisis
-Senate fails to override Obama veto
-McConnell presses Dems on Obama water rule veto

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill