Overnight Energy: McConnell tells states to ‘wait and see’ on climate rule

PUT DOWN YOUR PENCILS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCongress fails on promises to restore regular order and stop funding by crisis Overnight Healthcare: Dems dig in over Zika funding Business groups ramp up pressure to fill Ex-Im board MORE (R-Ky.) says the Supreme Court's stay of President Obama's climate change rule validates his advice to states.

McConnell, who has long advocated that states ignore the Clean Power Plan (CPP), told governors Monday that there's no better time than now to stop working on compliance for the rule.

While observers have long labeled McConnell's approach "just say no," he's now labeling it "wait and see."

ADVERTISEMENT
He pointed out that he's always been doubtful that the Environmental Protection Agency's rule is legal.

"This is precisely why I suggested a 'wait-and-see' approach with respect to the CPP last year," he wrote. "Given the Supreme Court's recent stay of the CPP and the painful lessons of [the mercury and air toxics standards], 'wait-and-see' remains the most responsible approach today," he said, referring to an earlier EPA rule that the high court found to be illegal.

The Obama administration has encouraged states to keep working toward compliance and offered assistance to any who do, but admitted that it cannot enforce the rule while the Supreme Court's stay is in place.

Read more here.

More on Clean Power Plan litigation: The appeals court hearing the case against the Clean Power Plan rejected a conservative group's request to file a separate brief in the case Monday.

The Energy and Environment Legal Institute had prepared a brief alleging that the EPA improperly colluded with environmental lobbyists in writing the rule, and it therefore is illegal and must be overturned.

"The rule is invalid because undisclosed ex parte communications with environmental groups formed the basis of agency action," the group wrote in its brief to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"EPA did not place the communications in the public docket, even though they resulted in a rule carefully calibrated to shut down existing coal power plants."

The court did not give a reason for rejecting the request. The group is separately participating with other groups in the litigation, but can't file its own brief.

Read more here.

CLIMATE CHANGE GOOD FOR WINE GRAPES? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration rolled out a study Monday mapping how climate change is affecting wine grape harvests in France and Switzerland.

Looking at data back to the year 1600, researchers found that the seasons with an early harvest usually came because of droughts.

But starting in 1981, climate change has caused those early harvest seasons to happen even without droughts, NASA found.

This is likely good for wine quality, the researchers said, because early harvests frequently coincide with higher quality scores for a vintage in these regions.

Read more about the research here.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: EPA head Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyDecades of EPA deception and Senatorial corruption Overnight Energy: Volkswagen reaches .7B settlement over emissions Volkswagen reaches .7B settlement for emissions cheating MORE will present her agency's fiscal 2017 budget request to the House Appropriations Committee's subpanel on Interior and EPA.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizEnergy Dept. helps with Biden’s cancer project Bay Area energy meeting is where climate protection gets real The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE will speak with the House Science Committee about the department's 2017 budget request.

Rest of Tuesday's agenda...

McCarthy will also be the only witness at a hearing of two House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanels on the budget.

The House Natural Resources Committee's federal lands subcommittee will have a hearing on the Forest Service's 2017 budget request. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will be the sole witness.

Another Natural Resources subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budgets of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Power Marketing Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The heads or high-ranking officials of each agency will testify.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) will be among the speakers at a Hudson Institute event on the geopolitics of the United States' shale boom.

AROUND THE WEB:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) unveiled a 75-point plan Monday to respond to the Flint water crisis, including much stricter state standards for drinking water quality, the Detroit News reports.

Billionaire Elon Musk's wife, actress Talulah Riley, filed for divorce Monday, the Associated Press reports.

A new study from Oxford University adds support to the idea that eating less meat can curb climate change, the Guardian reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Monday's stories ...

- Court won't let conservative group file brief against climate rule

- McConnell tells states to stop planning for EPA climate rule

- Obama's top climate envoy stepping down

- Top Obama officials to visit Oregon refuge taken over by militia

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