Overnight Energy: Supreme Court lets EPA’s Chesapeake cleanup plan stand

SCOTUS WON'T HEAR CHESAPEAKE BAY APPEAL: The Supreme Court decided Monday that it won't consider a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) pollution cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay.

That means the landmark, six-state plan developed in 2010 can stand, since a lower court approved it last year in a big win for the EPA and environmentalists.

The American Farm Bureau Federation argued that the EPA overstepped its Clean Water Act authority with the program to reduce three pollutants that are common to agriculture in the bay's watershed.

"EPA has asserted the power to sit as a federal zoning board, dictating which land can be farmed and where homes, roads and schools can be built," Zippy Duvall, president of the Farm Bureau, said in a statement Monday.

"We remain firm in opposing this unlawful expansion of EPA's power," he said. "We will closely monitor the agency's actions in connection with the Bay blueprint, as well as any efforts to impose similar mandates in other areas." Read more here.

EPA CHIEF TAKES FLINT PERSONALLY: The head of the EPA said Monday that she takes the Flint, Mich. water crisis "much more personally" than other controversies to hit her department recently.

In an interview at Harvard University, Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe media’s tactics to silence science at Trump’s EPA Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation MORE said the crisis in Flint, where lead levels have spiked in local drinking water, is a bigger deal to her than, for example, the criticism over an EPA accident at an abandoned gold mine in Colorado last summer.

The EPA has taken heat from lawmakers for its response to both incidents, but Flint, McCarthy said, is a bigger, more personal problem because of the impact the drinking water will have on citizens.

"EPA didn't find this out until quite late in the game," she said. "And now, when you have kids exposed to lead, that's a whole different ball game than worrying about iron in the river. That's real damage that you can't get back."

McCarthy will testify before the House Oversight Committee on the Flint issue in March. The House has passed a bill directing the EPA to release information about water problems in cities in the future, and McCarthy said it's among the EPA's jobs to make sure that happens.

"The challenge for EPA is also: we need to make sure our rules make sure this never happens again," she said.

Read more here.

CHAMBER NOTES OPPOSITION TO POWER PLANT RULE: The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Monday highlighted businesses' opposition to President Obama's climate rule for power plants.

In a weekly column, Chamber President Tom Donohue noted the amicus briefs 166 state and local Chamber affiliates filed against the Clean Power Plan last week. The groups are "natural allies in the fight because the states will be on the hook for these radical, federally mandated reductions," he wrote.

"If the government truly knew best, it would seek to preserve the diversity of our country's energy portfolio," he wrote. "It wouldn't saddle states, consumers, and businesses with high costs for minimal gain. It wouldn't pursue a politically driven agenda at the expense of our economy."

The Supreme Court issued a stay on the power plant rule in early February after states and business groups, including the Chamber, sued against it.

That order, Donohue wrote, "is an important acknowledgment of the validity of our concerns, but there will be no certainty for states, energy providers, workers, or consumers until a final decision on the legality of the rule is reached."

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The second day of the annual research summit for the Advanced Research Projects Agency -- Energy will feature some high-profile keynote speakers. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (R-Alaska) and former Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Washington governor proposes new carbon tax The Renewable Fuel Standard is broken beyond repair MORE will speak in the morning, and Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizOvernight Energy: Zinke under fire for exempting Florida from drilling plan | Trump floats staying in Paris deal | NYC sues big oil over climate A Department of Energy foundation: An idea whose time has come Stop wasting tax dollars on failing nuclear projects MORE will give an afternoon talk. The summit is chock full of other government, industry and academia speakers as well.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The House Natural Resources Committee will bring in Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellOvernight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Overnight Energy: Dems take on Trump's chemical safety pick GOP chairman probes Zinke’s charter plane use MORE to talk about her agency's budget request for fiscal 2017.

Rest of Tuesday's agenda ...

House Natural Resources' water subcommittee will hold a hearing on a bill to implement provisions of two international treaties on fisheries. Representatives of the State Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will testify, along with industry representatives.

Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, will testify on possible reforms to the multiemployer pension plan system at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.


Billionaire investor (and frequent Obama ally) Warren Buffett said this week that he doesn't see climate change threatening Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s insurance assets, despite concerns from its shareholders, Pensions and Investments reports.

West Virginia's state House voted to delay implementation of new science teaching standards because they would teach the scientific consensus on climate change, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

The world's largest floating solar farm is almost ready to start producing electricity on London's outskirts, the Guardian reports.


Check out Monday's stories...

-Sanders comes out against two Midwestern pipeline projects
-House GOP wants probe into Yucca Mountain
-EPA head: Flint water crisis is personal
-Chinese coal use, power sector emissions fell in 2015
-Supreme Court won't take up challenge to Chesapeake cleanup plan
-DiCaprio: Climate change is humanity's 'most urgent threat'
-Week ahead: Energy secretary takes budget hot seat

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