Overnight Energy: Trump may seek more disaster aid after Irma

Overnight Energy: Trump may seek more disaster aid after Irma
© Getty Images

MORE DISASTER AID COULD BE ON THE WAY: President Trump is prepared to ask Congress for more money to fund disaster relief efforts after the arrival of Hurricane Irma this weekend.

Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert told reporters Monday that President Trump might seek more funding, but added "right now, we have plenty of resources to get through this."

"The president and [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney and others have started the process of a bipartisan discussion on this point," Bossert said. "We'll ask for a third, perhaps fourth supplemental for the purpose of rebuilding. We will do it smartly."

ADVERTISEMENT

Bossert didn't say how much money the White House might seek.

Irma comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which caused historic floods in Houston.

Trump last week signed legislation that provided $15 billion in disaster aid for Harvey. Roughly 700,000 people in Houston and south Texas have registered for federal assistance as a result of Harvey.

Read more here.

 

Bossert avoids comment on climate, hurricane link: Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, tried Monday to avoid commenting on any potential link between the recent hurricanes and climate change.

In response to a question from CNN's Jim Acosta, Bossert said it wouldn't be appropriate for him to talk about that.

"I think what's prudent for us right now is to make sure those response capabilities are there. Causality is something outside my ability to analyze right now," Bossert said.

But Bossert did say that hurricane seasons are "cyclical," which climate change skeptics have said shows that stronger seasons aren't necessarily caused or exacerbated by human activity.

"I do note that there's a cyclical nature to a lot of these hurricane seasons," he said, mentioning the 2004 hurricane season.

"We'll have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date," Bossert continued.

He also repeated a previous statement that Trump plans to rewrite the federal flood standard that he repealed weeks ago.

"What President Trump remains committed to is making sure that federal dollars aren't used to rebuild things that would be in harm's way later or that won't be hardened against the future predictable floods that we see," Bossert said.

"And that has to do with engineering analysis and changing conditions, not only eroding shorelines, but also inland water and flood control projects."

Read more here.

 

POPE HITS AT CLIMATE SKEPTICS: Pope Francis warned this week that "history will judge" a failure to act on climate change and urged doubters to talk to scientists who study the issue.

"These aren't opinions pulled out of thin air. They are very clear," Francis told reporters after a trip to Colombia, the Associated Press reported. "Then [leaders] decide and history will judge those decisions."

Francis added that "those who deny this must go to the scientists and ask them. They speak very clearly."

Francis has worked to make environmental protection a key issue of his papacy, raising the issue in a papal encyclical, during a speech to Congress and in a meeting with President Trump this year.

Asked about people who deny the science behind climate change, Francis on Sunday quoted the Old Testament, saying, "Man is stupid."

He added, "When you don't want to see, you don't see."

Read more here.

 

EPA PICK FOR POWERFUL POST ANGERS GREENS: Trump is facing criticism for his decision to tap William Wehrum, a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, for the powerful job of heading the air and radiation office at the agency.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wehrum would oversee a massive portfolio concerned with air pollution, climate change, auto regulation and more, and be one of the most powerful people at the 15,000-person agency behind Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump adviser affirms intent to leave Paris deal | Officials report leaks at Superfund site after Harvey | Hurricane Maria now a major storm Overnight Regulation: Trump adviser affirms plans to leave climate deal | FDA to study new cigarette warning labels | DOJ investigating Equifax stock sales Officials report potential spills at Texas Superfund site after Harvey: report MORE.

"When it comes to public health, cleaning up the air and dealing with climate are incredibly important," said Janet McCabe, who led the air office in an acting capacity under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE from 2013 to 2017. "And whoever is sitting in that chair has a significant opportunity to help move the clean air and public health agenda forward."

Wehrum's nomination was quickly denounced by environmentalists and Democrats, who predict he would use his power at the EPA to grant the wishes of industry and polluters while weakening regulations and enforcement.

But those industries see Wehrum as a welcome reprieve who will bring common sense to air regulation.

Read more here.

 

MINNESOTA REGULATORS TAKE AIM AT PIPELINE PROJECT: The Minnesota Department of Commerce will ask the state's public utility commission to oppose a $6.5 billion pipeline project in the state.

The department said Monday that Enbridge's proposal to replace its Line 3 pipeline would not benefit the state and instead posed environmental risks.

"In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socio-economic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built," the Department of Commerce said.

Enbridge is looking to replace its 1960s-era Line 3 pipeline, which transports oil from Alberta to terminals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It secured Canadian approval for the 1,031-mile, 760,000-barrel-per-day project in November, and construction is underway on a small portion of the pipeline in Wisconsin.

A final decision in Minnesota is due next year.

Read more here.

 

POSTPONED: The Energy and Commerce committee has cancelled its Tuesday hearing about the reliability of the electric grid. The hearing was due to feature Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Neil Chatterjee and representatives for major energy energy industry lobbying groups.

The House Science Committee has also postponed its hearing on electric grid reliability. Neither committee has announced a make-up date.  

 

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY II: A Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee panel will hold a hearing on the National Laboratories.

 

Rest of Tuesday's schedule ...

The Atlantic Council will host an event on the geopolitics of natural gas.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Volkswagen Group is planning to spend billions to create an electric version of each of its 300 models by 2030, Reuters reports.

Cara Mund, the new Miss America, threw her support behind the Paris climate deal during the Sunday night competition, the Associated Press reports.

Pop star Sia tweeted her support this weekend for a bill that would block a controversial California project to pump out groundwater near the desert. The Desert Sun has the background.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check stories from Monday and the weekend...

-Minn. regulators recommend against $6.5B pipeline project

-Trump may ask Congress for more disaster funding

-Trump aide: Climate link to hurricane 'outside my ability to analyze'

-Pope Francis: 'History will judge' a lack of action on climate change

-Solar power installations grow 8 percent

-CNN's Tapper: Republican party 'acts as if climate change is not real'

-Week ahead: Senate picks up pace on Trump energy nominees

-McCain: 'We have to understand that the climate may be changing'

-Trump riles Dems with pick for powerful EPA job

-Dem Sen: GOP ignoring 'moral responsibility' on climate change

-Trump stacks administration with climate change skeptics

 

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

 

Click here to sign up for The Hill's newsletters