Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule

Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule

DEM CALLS FOR NEW LEAD RULE: Rep. Dan Kildee (D), Flint, Mich.'s congressman, introduced a bill Thursday to push the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade its lead and copper regulations.

The bill would require the EPA to lower the acceptable level of lead in drinking water and expand water sampling and testing within nine months. It would be the first upgrade to the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991.

"Updating this outdated rule will not only protect public health, it will restore public confidence in their water systems," Kildee said in a statement.

"We must learn from the failures of government that lead to the Flint water crisis to prevent a similar man-made emergency from happening elsewhere."

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The EPA, during the Obama administration, was considering upgrades to the Lead and Copper Rule, including measures to replace lead water lines and provide more protection for pregnant women and children.

The agency has yet to finalize an update, however.

Read more here.   

COAL GIANT WANTS TRUMP TO STAY IN PARIS ACCORD: Coal mining company Cloud Peak Energy Inc. is asking President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement.

Cloud Peak is just the latest to add its name to the list of people and companies asking Trump to stay in and break his campaign promise, joining major oil companies and many Republicans.

But the country's third-largest coal producer wants Trump to ratchet down the United States' pledge for the accord, and to use it to promote U.S. fossil fuels and push the world away from anti-fossil fuel climate policies.

"U.S. leadership could take the world into a new era of global economic prosperity that also addresses concerns about climate and emissions," Cloud Peak President Colin Marshall wrote in a Thursday letter to Trump.

"By remaining in the Paris agreement, albeit with a much different pledge on emissions, you can help shape a more rational international approach to climate policy."

Reuters and Politico reported that Cloud Peak was among several major coal companies privately asking Trump to stay in the pact, but to use the opportunity to push United States-produced fossil fuels.

Cloud Peak and other coal companies also want Trump to reduce the United States' emissions-cutting pledge, which Obama had set at 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a Trump ally and former adviser, made a similar suggestion last week.

Read more here.

CALIF. COURT UPHOLDS CAP-AND-TRADE: A California appeals court upheld the state's cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases Thursday, rejecting a business-backed challenge to it.

The 2-1 decision is a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and environmentalists, who have long sought to make California a world leader on climate change.

The California Chamber of Commerce and other groups have sought for years to block the way the state collects money for emissions credits in the program.

The court's majority ruled that the program is completely within state regulator's authority.

"This is great news for one of the world's most ambitious climate programs and one of the best tools to solve climate change globally," Erica Morehouse, an Environmental Defense Fund attorney, told the Los Angeles Times. "We need that kind of positive news more than ever these days."

Denise Davis, spokeswoman for the California Chamber of Commerce, declined to say whether the group would seek to appeal the decision to the state's Supreme Court.

"We are reviewing the decision and evaluating our options," she told the Times.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS, INTERIOR EDITION: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appointed a House staffer and a former official at Monsanto to two top agency positions on Thursday.

Zinke named Aurelia Skipwith as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Katharine MacGregor as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

Skipwith, a biologist and lawyer, spent six and a half years at agricultural giant Monsanto before joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013.

MacGregor is a House of Representatives veteran, working for former Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.), former House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorTrump nominates two new DOD officials Brat: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'significant' changes Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule MORE (R-Va.) and the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.

Skipwith will work on public lands and wildlife issues, and MacGregor will focus on energy development and public land use, according to the Interior Department. President Trump has yet to nominate the officials under which Skipwith and MacGregor will serve as deputies.

Read more here.

AROUND THE WEB:

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum has converted to ... solar power, WYMT reports.

PolitiFact rates Trump's claim that he's won environmental awards, and finds it "half-true."

Crude oil prices are rising in Canada due to a disruption at one of its biggest upgrading facilities, Bloomberg reports.

Bonus Around the Web: "Scott Pruitt Just Chained Himself To A Coal Power Plant To Protect It From EPA Regulators," satire site Clickhole writes.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-House staffer, Monsanto vet named to top Interior posts
-Coal company asks Trump to stay in Paris climate pact
-Flint lawmaker pushes bill to lower lead levels in drinking water
-Coal-country advocates push aid for jobless miners

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