Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law

Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law
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HOUSE TO VOTE ON ANTI-CARBON-TAX RESOLUTION: The House is set to vote as soon as next week on a measure that would condemn the idea of a carbon tax.

The resolution, introduced by House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE Overnight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process Koch backs House measure opposing carbon taxes MORE (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyOvernight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process Koch backs House measure opposing carbon taxes This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (R-W.Va.) in April, would express the "sense of Congress" that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions "would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States."

House GOP leaders posted the measure Friday on a list of proposals due for consideration by the full House next week.

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The non-binding measure mirrors one passed in 2016, shortly before the presidential election.

In introducing the resolution in April, Scalise said it "would yet again put Congress on record against a carbon tax, which would result in massive job losses, lead to higher prices for American families and small businesses, and jeopardize America's energy security."

Why it matters: Since the 2016 resolution, there have been more efforts to convince Republicans that a carbon tax is a good idea.

They include a "carbon dividends" proposal backed by prominent Republicans like former Secretary of State James Baker, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

That proposal's backers started pushing the idea last year, including in a meeting with White House aides to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE. Under their idea, all of the money collected would return to the economy through tax breaks or other means.

In addition, some conservative scholars support a carbon tax, as do major oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell.

Read more.

 

TGIF! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

 

TOP DEM: EPA LEADERS VETTED CERTAIN FOIA REQUESTS: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials have put some "politically charged" public information requests through a more complex review process, according to a top House Democrat.

Ryan Jackson, chief of staff to both former EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Greens sue EPA over ‘super-polluting’ truck rule Don’t worry (too much) about Kavanaugh changing the Supreme Court MORE and current acting head Andrew Wheeler, told congressional investigators in an interview last month that "politically charged" or "complex" requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would get an extra layer of review before being fulfilled, likely delaying the documents.

Jackson said a wide-ranging request from the Sierra Club was one such request that got more attention.

"The request was -- I can't remember the original request, but the request was 'we would like to get all of the emails sent by, or maybe received by, but definitely sent by this group of people since they began working at EPA.' So, that's pretty much a fishing expedition," Jackson said, according to snippets that Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDem lawmaker calls on House to subpoena American translator from Trump-Putin meeting Hillicon Valley: Trump denies Russian meddling at presser with Putin | Republicans join in criticism of Trump | FCC chief rejects Sinclair-Tribune merger | Uber faces probe over gender discrimination | Social media execs headed to Capitol Overnight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process MORE (Md.), top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put in a letter to Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyDem lawmaker calls on House to subpoena American translator from Trump-Putin meeting The Hill's Morning Report — Trump isolated and denounced after Putin meeting Ryan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' MORE (S-S.C.), seeking a subpoena for EPA.

Jackson said the green group's request got more scrutiny because it wasn't a proper FOIA request.

"There was no reason for it. There was no topic. It was just a fishing expedition," he said of the request. "And so when I say it's 'politically charged,' there's no real FOIA, you know, Freedom of Information Act reason for it, it is just simply submitted to us to see what we will produce."

Jackson also said some requests were reviewed by the subjects themselves before they were released, and that some releases were delayed so they would coincide with similar releases.

Why it's important: The new information adds to previous accusations from Democrats and others that the EPA has sought to slow walk or otherwise block requests for agency documents under FOIA. Democrats have said that Trump administration officials are trying to hide their activities.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK: Beyond the carbon tax vote, it's going to be a busy time on Capitol Hill next week.

Before that vote, the House is due to vote on an appropriations package that includes the funding measures for the Interior Department and EPA. The measure would modestly cut both agencies' funding, giving Interior $13 billion and EPA $8 billion.

On Tuesday, the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee will consider controversial amendments meant to change key provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) -- a decades old law that Republicans have increasingly challenged as too restrictive to industry.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Senate adds members to pro-NATO group Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act MORE (R-Wyo.), the panel's chairman, unveiled the legislation earlier this month. Its aim is to overhaul how the federal government helps endangered species recover, including giving states and localities new roles in crafting recovery plans.

Simultaneously the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be discussing the Interior Department's final list of critical minerals for 2018. The topic is contentious, due in part to Interior's decision to list uranium as a critical mineral, to the objection of Democrats.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Trump’s policies blasting at the foundations of conservation in public land law Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet MORE along with committee Chair Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (R-Alaska) have been pushing the need for more critical mineral mining across the U.S. Many of those minerals, including uranium, are found in and near national parks and monuments including the Grand Canyon -- a reality that has left many environmental groups fearful that the protected regions could be at risk.

The Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee will again weigh into another heated debate related to the Interior Department on Thursday, discussing a reorganization plan led by Zinke.

Zinke has made a number of proposals related to restructuring the agency, mainly surrounding the idea that land management agencies should be organized by geographic features like watersheds. He also wants to move more personnel out of Washington, D.C., and to the West.

The committee will also be discussing similar administration modernization proposals for the Department of Energy.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Flash flooding has spurred evacuations in a remote area of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA Today reports.

Five of the seven members of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's board quit following the departure of Rafael Diaz-Granados one day after he was named CEO, Reuters reports.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) to prosecute manufacturer 3M over harmful chemicals it has produced, the Detroit News reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-House to vote on measure denouncing carbon tax

-Apple launches $300 million clean energy fund in China

-Top Dem: EPA slowed 'politically charged' FOIA requests

-Majority of registered voters say Pruitt 'conducted himself inappropriately' at EPA: poll