Overnight Energy: House passes Russia sanctions deal with oil, gas fix

Overnight Energy: House passes Russia sanctions deal with oil, gas fix
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HOUSE PASSES SANCTIONS BILL: The House easily passed bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to expand sanctions on Russia and limit the Trump administration's ability to lift them.

The legislation comes after lawmakers addressed a series of concerns oil and gas companies raised about the package, which they said would limit the extent to which American and Russian energy firms could interact.

The latest version of the bill clarifies that only Russian energy export pipelines can be sanctioned. It also establishes that the ban on U.S. investments in deepwater, shale or Arctic offshore projects applies only if there are Russian entities with an ownership interest of at least 33 percent.

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Tuesday's vote amounted to a rebuke of President Trump, whose administration had pushed to water down the bill's provisions giving Congress the power to veto the lifting of sanctions.

Only three Republicans voted against the bill, in the 419-3 vote.

Under the bill, existing sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine and interference in the 2016 election would be codified into law. New sanctions would go into effect against Iran for its ballistic missile development, while North Korea's shipping industry and people who use slave labor would be targeted.

Read more here.

 

DEMS SEEK TO BAN CONTROVERSIAL PESTICIDE: A handful of Democrats proposed legislation Tuesday to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops.

The bill from Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallIT modernization measure included in Senate-approved defense policy bill Live coverage: Sanders rolls out single-payer bill Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill MORE (D-N.M.) and others comes in response to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt's refusal in March to ban the pesticide for food use in response to a petition from environmentalists, reversing an Obama administration proposal.

Research cited by the Obama administration's proposal found that the pesticide can cause neurological and brain development problems in children and fetuses, among other health problems.

"The science hasn't changed since the EPA proposed to ban chlorpyrifos in 2015 and 2016, only the politics have. And we aren't going to let politics get in the way of children's health," Udall said at a news conference with advocates for farmworkers, who can be exposed to the pesticide at a higher rate than the general public.

"Administrator Pruitt may choose to put aside science, public health and environmental protection in favor of big chemical profits, but Congress should not," he continued.

Read more here.

 

PRUITT WANTS SUPERFUND STREAMLINED: Pruitt ordered his staff in a memo on Tuesday to take a handful of actions aimed at streamlining cleanups at contaminated Superfund sites.

Pruitt ordered the changes -- like taking quick action at sites with high risks of human exposure to contaminants and focusing resources on sites with the best potential for reuse -- based on the recommendations of a task force he convened earlier this year.

The memo sent to high-level staff and regional offices is part of Pruitt's highly-visible effort to make Superfund a top priority for his time at the EPA.

The actions come amid Pruitt's ongoing work to dismantle nearly every climate change policy at the EPA and remove regulations that he sees as barriers to fossil fuel production and use.

Pruitt has instead emphasized federally overseen cleanups of the nation's most contaminated sites as a core responsibility for the EPA.

Read more here.

 

HYDRO BACKERS PUSH FOR ACTION ON LICENSING BILL: Utilities, the hydropower sector and others are pushing lawmakers to move quickly on a bill to update the licensing process for hydro projects.

In a letter to lawmakers, 15 groups said Congress needs to pass the Senate's energy bill or a House measure in order to speed up the permitting process for hydropower projects around the country.

"The current licensing process must be modernized to add accountability and transparency, eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies and unlock innovation and advancements in technology and operations," the groups wrote to senior lawmakers.

The current process, they said, "not only creates uncertainty for project owners and developers alike, but burdens electricity customers with additional unnecessary costs and only delays important environmental measures that the industry, resource agencies and the environmental community agreed upon during the licensing process and want to see deployed."

The National Hydropower Association, American Council on Renewable Energy, Edison Electric Institute, eight labor unions and others signed the letter.

Senators reintroduced an energy policy modernization bill earlier this summer, but it hasn't yet been scheduled for a vote.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Natural Resources Committee presses ahead with marking up 21 bills.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering Overnight Regulation: FTC launches probe into Equifax | Dems propose tougher data security rules | NYC aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions | EPA to reconsider Obama coal ash rule Overnight Cybersecurity: Kaspersky to testify before House | US sanctions Iranians over cyberattacks | Equifax reveals flaw that led to hack MORE (D-R.I.) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) will speak at an American Enterprise Institute event on carbon taxes.

 

Rest of Tuesday's agenda ...

A Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee panel will mark up more than a dozen public lands bills.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act.

A House Energy and Commerce panel will hold a hearing on wholesale energy markets.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Oil service providers expect the boom in U.S. shale drilling to be nearing its end, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Malaysian energy firm Petronas will not move forward with a $28.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility in Canada, Reuters reports.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday signed into law legislation to extend the state's landmark cap-and-trade program, the Los Angeles Times reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-House passes Russia sanctions deal

-EPA head orders streamlining in Superfund cleanup program

-Former VW executive to plead guilty in emissions cheating case

-Dem bill would ban controversial pesticide

-Study: Utilities knew about climate change risks decades ago

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