Overnight Energy: Tillerson maintains support for Paris deal despite Trump decision

Overnight Energy: Tillerson maintains support for Paris deal despite Trump decision
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TILLERSON STILL A PARIS FAN: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that he still supports the Paris climate change agreement, despite President Trump withdrawing from it.

He told Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinSunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief Oil concerns hold up Russia sanctions push Compounds’ fate raised after Trump-Putin talk MORE (Md.), top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that he respects Trump's decision but disagrees with it.

"My view didn't change," Tillerson said Tuesday at a hearing on the State Department's budget. "My views were heard out. I respect that the president heard my views, but I respect the decision he's taken."

He said Trump was "quite deliberative" in his consideration of the Paris pact. The president "took some time to come to his decision, particularly waiting until he had heard from European counterparts in the G7 on it," Tillerson said.

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Tillerson was a vocal supporter of the Paris agreement going back to his time as CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.

He fought against Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt, who led an all-out push to get Trump to live up to his campaign promise to pull out of the pact.

Read more here.

 

DEMS: EPA IS NOT RESPONSIVE: A hearing for EPA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission nominees Tuesday turned into a Democratic assault on the responsiveness of the EPA.

The top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee said Tuesday that the EPA is moving too slowly to respond to the lawmakers' request for information.

"The minority remains disappointed that the committee has not received complete written responses from Administrator [Scott] Pruitt to 11 oversight letters the committee has sent to the EPA this year," Sen. Tom CarperTom CarperGovernors-turned-senators meet to talk healthcare Overnight Healthcare: GOP'S repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Del.) said.

"Absent a heartfelt commitment by the EPA to provide complete and timely responses to our current information requests, I will find it very difficult to support moving forward with consideration of any EPA nominees."

The EPA and committee Republicans defended the agency, saying officials have responded to 386 of the 416 letters they have received from members of Congress this year, including many from Carper and other members.

At the hearing, Democrats raised concerns about Susan Bodine, Trump's nominee to head the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, worrying the agency's enforcement might tail off under her leadership and that of the Trump administration.

But Trump's three NRC nominees drew few complaints. The committee will convene on Thursday to quickly advance Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki's renomination before her term expires at the end of the month.

Read more here.  

 

ENERGY RESEARCH AGENCY GETS A THUMBS UP: A federal study of a key Department of Energy research agency concluded Tuesday that the program works and should serve as a model.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency--Energy (ARPA-E), modeled after the Pentagon office responsible for innovations such as the technology that became the internet, is being targeted for elimination under President Trump's budget proposal for 2018.

But the 239-page report released Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says the nimble, somewhat independent research agency should serve as a model for the rest of the federal government.

"Roughly half have published results of their research in peer-reviewed journals, and about 13 percent have obtained patents. One quarter of the supported project teams or technologies have received follow-on funding for continued work," the panel wrote in the congressionally mandated report.

"All of these are positive indicators for technologies on a trajectory toward commercialized products. In fact, several are either already commercially available or poised to enter the commercial market."

Read more here.

 

COAL CONTINUES TO DROP: A global energy report released Tuesday brought more bad news for coal.

According to an annual report from BP, global coal production fell by 6.2 percent in 2016, the largest decline since BP began reporting the total in 1950.

Energy-sector coal consumption dipped for the second straight year, falling by 1.7 percent and bringing the fuel's share of electricity production to 28.1 percent globally, its lowest level since 2004.

Both the U.S. and China reduced coal production and consumption in 2016 and were the driving forces behind the fuel's decline, according to the study.

Renewable energy was the fastest-growing source of electricity last year, increasing by 12 percent. The industry now accounts for 4 percent of primary energy production worldwide.

Read more here.

 

PANEL TO MARK UP OZONE BILL: The House Energy and Commerce's environment subcommittee on Thursday will mark up a bill to overhaul the EPA's implementation of ozone regulations.

The bill, from Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and others, would require the EPA to reconsider ozone rules every 10 years rather than every five years, the current timeline. EPA critics say the five-year timetable makes implementation difficult for cities and states because they don't have enough time to cut emissions before the standards are tightened.

The House passed Olson's bill last year but it went nowhere with a Democrat in the White House.

Trump and his EPA, though, oppose current ozone standards -- and last week said they would delay implementation of Obama-era ozone rules -- which means Olson's measure may find more traction this year.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on an ethanol bill.  

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II:  A House Natural Resources Committee panel will meet to discuss a sportsmen's bill. National Rifle Association and Bass Pro Shops executives are scheduled to testify.

 

Rest of Wednesday's agenda ...

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on state perspectives on energy security issues.

A Senate Energy and Natural Resources panel will hold a hearing on several water and power bills.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Apple is aiming to borrow $1 billion from investors to finance clean energy and environmental projects, Reuters reports.

Michael Gove, the new UK environment minister who has raised concerns among greens, says the U.S. was "wrong" to withdraw from the Paris deal, The Telegraph reports.

Keurig Green Mountain Inc. is aiming to produce 100 percent recyclable K-Cup coffee pods in Canada by the end of the year, Plastics News reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...  

-EPA moves to halt methane rule for two years
-Federal study gives high marks to energy research agency
-Dem AGs, green groups sue Trump over paused energy efficiency rules
-Global coal production sees record drop
-Top Dem accuses EPA of refusing to reply to oversight requests
-Tillerson: 'My view didn't change' on Paris climate agreement

 

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