Overnight Energy: Pruitt misses deadline for travel records | Court says EPA's smog rule delay was illegal | Mining groups appeal to Supreme Court over Grand Canyon uranium ban

Overnight Energy: Pruitt misses deadline for travel records | Court says EPA's smog rule delay was illegal | Mining groups appeal to Supreme Court over Grand Canyon uranium ban
© Greg Nash

PRUITT MISSES DEADLINE TO GIVE CONGRESS TRAVEL DOCS: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court orders EPA to enforce chemical safety rule | Dem says Zinke would 'sell' his grandkids for the oil industry | EPA reportedly poised to unveil climate rule replacement Court throws out EPA delay of Obama chemical plant safety rule The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE has failed to meet a key deadline in his ongoing first-class travel saga.

Pruitt has yet to provide key travel documents to Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFBI chief: I'm trying to bring 'normalcy' in 'turbulent times' Jim Carrey targets McCarthy, Nunes ahead of midterms House GOP prepares to grill DOJ official linked to Steele dossier MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who requested documentation and explanation surrounding Pruitt's first- and business-class work travel. The deadline to answer Gowdy was March 6.

In a letter addressed to Pruitt at the end of February, the Republican congressman pointed out concerns over the EPA chief's reported use of a "blanket waiver" to fly first class, a method Gowdy called prohibited.

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"Clearly, federal regulations prohibit a blanket waiver to fly first class except to accommodate disabilities or special needs. Instead, a waiver for each flight is required in order to fly first or business class when traveling on official government business," Gowdy wrote.

A spokesperson for the EPA said the agency has been in touch with Gowdy's office in an attempt to get the information to him.

"We have been in contact with Chairman Gowdy and are accommodating his request as quickly as possible," EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

COURT FAULTS EPA FOR MISSING SMOG RULE DEADLINE: The Trump administration broke the law when it missed a deadline last year in implementing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ozone pollution rule, a federal court ruled Monday.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was supposed to announce by Oct. 1 which areas of the country were in compliance with the 2015 Obama administration rule.

Pruitt later announced findings for areas that comply, but not for areas that do not.

Federal judge Haywood Stirling Gilliam Jr. of the District Court for the District of Northern California said Monday that Pruitt broke the law, and ordered him to publish the findings for almost all of the rest of the country by April 30.

"There is no dispute as to liability: Defendants admit that the administrator violated his nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Air Act to promulgate by October 1, 2017 initial area air quality designations," Gilliam wrote, citing a January court filing by the Justice Department acknowledging that the EPA missed the deadline.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency is moving forward on the designations.

"We look forward to working with co-regulators to continue the designations process for the 2015 standards for ground-level ozone; we are evaluating the information provided by governors in February 2018 as part of that process," Liz Bowman said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

MINING GROUPS TAKE GRAND CANYON URANIUM FIGHT TO SUPREME COURT: Two industry leaders in uranium mining are challenging the Interior Department's authority to place a 20-year mining ban on 1 million acres of public land next to the Grand Canyon.

The American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) and the National Mining Association submitted a request to the Supreme Court last Friday, asking for a review of the blanket Obama-era ban that prohibits uranium mining on public lands next to the national monument.

In the AEMA's petition to the court, the group brought into question whether Congress, when establishing the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in 1976, intended to give Interior and its secretary "unfettered power to make large-tract withdrawals."

In 2012, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar instituted the ban on the lands in part because the neighboring Havasupai Tribe relies on groundwater from the area.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the mining groups in December, upholding the ban on mining.

Read more here.

 

FEDS ASK COURT TO DISMISS EPA SCIENTISTS' LAWSUIT: Attorneys for the Trump administration are asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt's new policy on science advisers.

Justice Department attorneys argued that Pruitt's policy preventing EPA grant recipients from serving on external advisory committees is well within government ethics rules and Pruitt's authority to pick his own advisers.

"Plaintiffs make the extraordinary claim that the EPA's effort to ensure a diversity of viewpoints on advisory committees that provide advice and recommendations to the administrator somehow violates government-wide ethics rules. But the directive that plaintiffs challenge does no such thing," the government wrote in a motion filed late Friday.

Lawyers further argued that the directive is not intended to change ethics rules, but is instead merely "a general statement of policy that describes the appointment philosophy EPA will apply regarding the federal advisory committees it administers."

"Ultimately, the power to appoint committee members is the administrator's alone and is non-reviewable by the courts under the circumstances presented here," the attorneys said in asking for dismissal. "Plaintiffs' challenge to these highly discretionary policy judgments and the EPA's power to make them is unprecedented and should be rejected by the court."

The case is being heard in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia by Judge Trevor McFadden, who was nominated last year by President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Trump's 2019 budget request for the Interior Department, with Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeSanders tests his brand in Florida Overnight Energy: Court orders EPA to enforce chemical safety rule | Dem says Zinke would 'sell' his grandkids for the oil industry | EPA reportedly poised to unveil climate rule replacement Washington governor says Zinke would 'sell his grandchildren for the oil industry' MORE testifying.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Advanced Research Projects Agency -- Energy (ARPA-E) will kick off its annual summit.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Saudi Aramco's massive IPO is likely to be pushed to next year, CNNMoney reports.

Offshore wind company Orsted is partnering with the Boston Red Sox for stadium sustainability projects, the Cape Cod Times reports.

Wastewater treatment plants in New York City and New Jersey have halted their train shipments of sewage to Alabama, AL.com reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

-The U.S. is becoming the base for global oil production, says Bill Arnold, a professor of energy management at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business.

 

-IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and over the weekend ...

-Pruitt misses deadline to turn travel docs over to Congress

-Court: EPA broke law with smog rule delay

-Pruitt may limit ethanol market traders

-Uranium industry asks Supreme Court to review Grand Canyon mining ban

-Ex-EPA heads urge Pruitt to scrap changes to truck pollution rule
-Administration asks court to dismiss lawsuit from EPA scientists

-Schwarzenegger planning to sue oil companies for 'knowingly killing people all over the world'

-Week ahead: Energy, Interior chiefs to defend Trump budget