Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change

Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change
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EPA WON'T DESIGNATE AREAS THAT FAIL TO MEET OZONE REGS: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won't yet say which areas of the country do not meet the Obama administration's 2015 regulation on ozone.

The agency certified Monday that 2,646 counties, two tribal areas and five territories, or about 85 percent of the nation's counties, meet the new standard of 70 parts per billion of ozone in ambient air, down from the previous 75 parts per billion.

But officials said they would not yet declare the areas of "nonattainment," places that exceed the new limit, because they are "not yet prepared."

The EPA was required under the Clean Air Act to make all the decisions by Oct. 1.

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"In the spirit of cooperative federalism, EPA will continue to work with states and the public to help areas with underlying technical issues, disputed designations, and/or insufficient information," it said in a statement.

"Additionally, EPA modeling, state agency comments, and peer-reviewed science indicate international emissions and background ozone can contribute significantly to areas meeting attainment thresholds. The agency intends to address these areas in a separate future action."

The designation list, for example, includes only six of California's 58 counties. Due largely to geography, California has notoriously bad air quality and high ozone pollution.

Read more here.

 

LAWMAKERS TELL REGULATORS TO REJECT PERRY POWER PLAN: Two groups of House lawmakers are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to oppose a plan from Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryPerry pictured with falcon, sword during trek to Saudi Arabia Trump promised ‘best people’ would run government — they upended it US oil and gas boom will actually help spur energy revolution MORE designed to overhaul payments within the electricity sector.

In comments published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday, the House members urged commissioners to help the electric grid's reliability and resilience in a more deliberative way than under Perry's proposal.

In one comment, Reps. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) told the FERC the 60-day timeline they have for ruling on the proposal is too short for an issue as "remarkably complex" as electricity sector payments.

In a second letter, 14 Democrats said Perry's proposal dismisses the role renewable power plays in supporting the reliability of the electric grid.

"Actions to reduce carbon emissions are intimately linked with actions to increase resilience because reducing carbon emissions in the near-term can prevent the worst impacts of climate change in the future," they wrote.

Comments on the proposal are due to FERC this week and the commission is scheduled to take action on the plan early next month.

Read more here.

 

KIDS, GREENS SUE TRUMP OVER CLIMATE: An environmental group and two Pennsylvania children have sued the Trump administration over the federal government's approach to  climate change.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges the U.S. is using "junk science" to roll back climate change policies designed to limit the impact climate change.

It comes from the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council and two "child plaintiffs who have been personally impacted by climate change," because one has asthma and another lived through Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.

"We will not stand idly by while President Trump and his agencies raze crucial environmental protections, ignore climate science, dispute well-documented facts and force future generations of Americans to suffer the consequences of this administration's reckless choices and ignorant policies," said Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Minott.

The lawsuit is similar to another effort by a group of 21 young people who have sued Trump and the federal government "for perpetrating climate chaos." That suit goes to court on Feb. 5, 2018.

Read more here.

 

GAO TO PROBE ANTI-WATER RULE VIDEO: Congress's watchdog agency is examining whether the EPA violated legal provisions prohibiting lobbying and propaganda using agency resources.

At issue is a video produced by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in which Pruitt participated. The video told NCBA members to file comments with the agency on its proposal to revise former President Obama's controversial Clean Water Rule.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) told Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOvernight Energy: Interior proposes cuts to two more monuments | Tribes, greens sue over Utah monument rollbacks Drone advocates press Congress to ease flight restrictions Overnight Regulation: House to vote on repealing joint-employer rule | EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rule | Lawmakers urge regulators to reject Perry plan MORE (D-Ore.) last week, in a letter he made available late Friday, that it agreed with his request to look into the matter.

The EPA is prohibited by appropriations legislation from using its resources to lobby Congress on ongoing legislative matters or to fund propaganda.

In the NCBA video, Pruitt outlines his objections to the Obama rule, which redefined the jurisdiction of the EPA over water bodies for the purposes of pollution prevention. Many industries oppose the rule, including agriculture, homebuilding and fossil fuels.

"We're trying to fix the challenges from the 2015 rule, where the Obama administration reimagined their authority under the Clean Water Act and defined a Water of the United States as being a puddle, a dry creek bed and ephemeral drainage ditches across this country," he said in the video.

"We want farmers and ranchers across this country to provide comments."

DeFazio, the top Democrat in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- which has jurisdiction over the EPA's water programs -- asked the GAO to examine the issue last month. He noted that the NCBA's page includes explicit statements opposing the 2015 rule and advocating for visitors to file comments against it.

Read more here.

 

MCCARTHY TO HARVARD: Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe media’s tactics to silence science at Trump’s EPA Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation MORE has a new job at Harvard.

The university's Chan School of Public Health on Monday named McCarthy Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, a position she will take effective in January. She has been a professor of the practice of public health since Nov. 1.

McCarthy was a senior leadership fellow at the school between January and May. She left the EPA at the end of President Obama's term on January 20.  

 

ON TAP TUESDAY I: Ricardo Ramos, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, and two members of the island's federal oversight board will testify before the House Natural Resources Committee about Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. The Whitefish Energy contract is likely to be a key topic of discussion.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY II: Two House Natural Resources Committee panels will consider new energy reform legislation. The committee's overview of the bill is here.

 

Rest of Tuesday's agenda ...

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on two energy efficiency bills.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

The future of Montana's Colstrip power plant is expected to take center stage at a public forum in the state this week, the Spokesman-Review reports.

Developers in Colorado's natural gas sector are concerned about a long-term dip in prices there, the Denver Post reports.

A fracking firm is set to make Britain's first payments to residents who live close to drilling sites, the Guardian reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Monday's stories ...  

-EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rules

-Green group, children sue Trump over climate change policies

-GAO to review whether EPA violated anti-propaganda law

-Paul McCartney: Trump not believing in climate change is 'madness'

-FEMA feuds with celebrity chef who served meals in Puerto Rico

-Fox cancels Trump impeachment ads

-Lawmakers tell regulators to oppose Perry energy plan

-Week ahead: Controversial EPA air nominee to get Senate vote

 

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