Overnight Energy: EPA begins repeal of Obama power plant rule

Overnight Energy: EPA begins repeal of Obama power plant rule

EPA SIGNALS END TO CLEAN POWER PLAN: The Trump administration rolled out its formal proposal Tuesday to scrap the Obama administration's signature climate change rule for power plants.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Senate confirms top EPA air regulator | Feds to roll back emissions rule for big trucks | Defense bill mandates climate study EPA seeks to repeal part of Obama emissions rule for big trucks Senate confirms top air regulator at EPA MORE signed the notice Tuesday, arguing that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Russian social media is the modern-day Trojan horse Trump records robo-call for Gillespie: He'll help 'make America great again' MORE's 2015 rule, dubbed the Clean Power Plan, exceeds the agency's authority under the Clean Air Act.

The action formally starts work on a top campaign promise from President Trump, delivering a win to fossil fuel companies, business groups and Republicans -- including Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general -- who fought the climate plan from the start.

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The move begins to tear down the main pillar of Obama's second-term climate change agenda, where he sought to use executive authority to fight climate change after Congress declined to pass cap-and-trade legislation.

Trump in June said he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, pulling back another part of Obama's climate work. The Clean Power Plan was the centerpiece of America's commitment to the Paris deal.

"The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far with the CPP that the Supreme Court issued a historic stay of the rule, preventing its devastating effects to be imposed on the American people while the rule is being challenged in court," Pruitt said in a statement.

"We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate. Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule."

Opposition from Pruitt and his allies centers both on the law and on the cost to consumers.

In the Tuesday notice, the EPA contends that the rule would cost $33 billion annually. That's a stark change from the Obama administration's estimate that the rule would bring about $30 billion a year in benefits, largely from reductions in other pollutants from coal-fired power plants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

"The Clean Power Plan was unreasonable and unlawful. It would have hurt energy workers in Wyoming and harmed the state's economy. I look forward to working with Administrator Pruitt as he pursues policies that protect our environment and allow America's economy to grow," Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThis week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul Dissent is democratic: Stop calling McCain, Corker, Flake RINOs The farm bill presents a chance to lighten the regulatory burden of farmers MORE (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

Democrats and environmentalists slammed the Trump administration for its repeal plan and promised to fight to save the climate rule.

"As the Supreme Court has affirmed three times, the Clean Air Act compels the president to curb the greenhouse gas pollution driving climate change," said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Read more here.

 

TRUMP DECLARES DISASTER FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: Trump on Tuesday approved a federal disaster declaration for California in response to wildfires that have swept across the state.

Vice President Pence announced the decision during a meeting in the state capital of Sacramento with emergency responders, and the White House released details of the declaration later in the day.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) had requested federal assistance to combat the deadly fires.

Wildfires have burned 115,000 acres in the state, killing at least 15 people, displacing at least 3,000 others and destroying 2,000 structures, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Read more here.

 

Ryan to Puerto Rico: House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE (R-Wis.) will lead a bipartisan delegation to Puerto Rico on Friday to view the damage from Hurricane Maria.

Ryan's visit, announced by his office on Tuesday, is expected to follow a vote in the House this week to approve at least $29 billion in aid for communities affected by recent hurricanes and wildfires.

Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Irma last month and then Hurricane Maria which ravaged the U.S. territory. Most of the island remains without power, and many residents lack adequate food or water supplies.

The White House has asked Congress to approve a new aid package for a string of natural disasters, including $12.8 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, $16 billion for debt relief for the federal flood insurance program and $576.5 for wildfire recovery.

Read more here.

 

SCOTUS REJECTS BLANKENSHIP APPEAL: The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to hear convicted former coal boss Don Blankenship's appeal on his conspiracy conviction.

Blankenship, who was CEO of Massey Energy Co., was convicted in 2015 on charges stemming from the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster, which killed 29 miners in West Virginia.

He was later sentenced to one year in prison, which he completed earlier this year.

Blankenship's Supreme Court appeal rested on arguments that Blankenship's trial court judge incorrectly interpreted the definition of "willful" violations of federal safety laws, because Blankenship was not aware of the violations.

His attorneys also argued that they were unconstitutionally prohibited from questioning a witness at the trial.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rejected an appeal by Blankenship in January.

Read more here.

 

BP BRINGS BACK AMOCO: BP plc is bringing back the defunct Amoco brand for gasoline stations.

The company said Tuesday that station owners in the United States will have the option to switch their BP stations to Amoco.

The move is meant to help stations compete, especially when there are multiple BP stations near each other, BP said.

Amoco originated as the Indiana operations of Standard Oil Co. in 1889. BP bought the company in 1998 and phased out the brand by 2004.

"BP has a very strong brand presence in the U.S., and now, with the addition of the Amoco brand, we have the opportunity to build further on this success and to give an important boost to our sales and marketing business in the U.S.," Rick Altizer, vice president of sales and marketing for BP Fuels North America, said in a statement.

Amoco stations will feature BP's loyalty programs and products.

 

OBAMA CLIMATE ADVISER TO BLACKROCK: Asset management giant BlackRock has hired former Obama climate adviser Brian Deese to lead its sustainable investment fund, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Deese was a leading negotiator for the Paris climate deal and the White House's point person on climate change policy during the later years of the Obama administration.

BlackRock's sustainability office manages $195 billion in assets, according to Reuters.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: The House Natural Resources Committee will hold three hearings: one to consider four public lands bills, another to discuss offshore drilling revenues, and a third to mark up Chairman Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOvernight Energy: GOP chairman has 'more questions' on Whitefish deal | Dems slam EPA science board changes | Industry pushes back on Perry grid plan GOP chairman has ‘more questions’ about Puerto Rico’s Whitefish Energy contract The SECURE American Energy Act only endangers public lands MORE's (R-Utah) Antiquities Act overhaul and ranking member Raul Grijalva's (D-Ariz.) resolution on the Interior Department's monuments review.

Read more about that hearing here.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Environmental groups say Ohio, Michigan and Ontario are falling behind in their efforts to mitigate algal blooms in Lake Erie, the Sandusky Register reports.

Virginia is putting $14 million into electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the Associated Press reports.

A new solar farm in Michigan is online, producing enough electricity to power 11,000 homes, CNBC reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-OPEC pressures US oil firms over high production

-Ryan leading bipartisan delegation to Puerto Rico

-Trump approves disaster declaration for California wildfires

-EPA formally moves to repeal major Obama power plant rule

-Supreme Court won't take convicted ex-coal boss's case

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION PAGE: Broken flood insurance should help people move, not rebuild, say Rob Moore and Joel Scata from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s Water Program.

 

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