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Overnight Energy: GM proposes electric car mandate | Deadline nears for EPA car rule comments | Greens change tactics to mobilize climate voters

Overnight Energy: GM proposes electric car mandate | Deadline nears for EPA car rule comments | Greens change tactics to mobilize climate voters
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GM WANTS ELECTRIC CAR MANDATE: Major car manufacturer General Motors is asking the Trump administration to back a national car program that would make automakers in all 50 states annually increase their output of electric vehicles.

The National Zero Emissions Vehicle Program endorsed by GM on Friday would gradually increase the percentage of electric vehicles manufacturers would have to make for their fleet each year starting at 7 percent in 2021 and rising to 25 percent by 2030.

The call from the Detroit-based company comes as the administration is considering a new vehicle emissions rule that would undermine a current standard in place that is championed by California.

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The administration contends that the standard, determined under the Obama administration, is too stringent and would harm the car industry. It rolled out a replacement called the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient rule this summer.

GM submitted its idea to the Environmental Protection Agency during the open public comment period under the new rule. The window for commenting closes at midnight tonight.

The car manufacturer is calling its idea a compromise.

"We believe in a policy approach that better promotes U.S. innovation and starts a much-needed national discussion on electric vehicle development and deployment in this country," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president and president of the Global Product Group and Cadillac General Motors Company.

"A National Zero Emissions Program will drive the scale and infrastructure investments needed to allow the U.S. to lead the way to a zero emissions future."

Read more.

 

Pencils down at midnight: Midnight Friday is the deadline for companies, associations, states, lawmakers, the public and others to submit comments to the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the auto emissions rule rollback.

As of Friday afternoon, the regulatory docket said it has received more than 79,000 comments, though it often lags behind actual comment submissions. The rule is the most popular item on the regulations.gov portal.

Still want to get your comment in? Submit it at regulations.gov.

 

California leaders slam proposal: California's governor, attorney general and top air regulator headed to the side of a freeway Friday to preview their formal comments on the proposal.

California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols called the proposal "completely unjustified and illegal."

"It's poorly argued, poorly organized, not based in fact and illegal," she said.

"The benefits of the clean car standards are well-documented," said Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: GM proposes electric car mandate | Deadline nears for EPA car rule comments | Greens change tactics to mobilize climate voters California won't enforce net neutrality law as DOJ halts lawsuit Dems divided over Pelosi's 'transitional' Speaker pitch MORE (D). "They save consumers money, reduce emissions, support energy independence and help prevent the effect of climate change."

"In California, we can't afford to backslide," he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) weighed in as well: "This Trump administration attack on innovative vehicle technology jeopardizes the health of millions, and will cost billions at the pump."

 

EPA shoots back: An hour before the California press conference, acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler criticized the Golden State's leaders, saying they haven't beene constructive throughout the process of drafting the rollback.

"I had the opportunity to meet with CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols in July where she promised to submit a counter-proposal from California within a week of EPA and the Department of Transportation publishing the proposed Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles rule. It has been 10 weeks and the Trump administration has still yet to receive a counter-proposal," Wheeler said in a statement.

 

Conservatives line up in support: More than 90 conservative movement leaders signed onto a letter Thursday backing the administration.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards "were established in 1975 during a time of grave national concern over fuel scarcity and America's reliance on imported energy. Both our national dialogue, as well as our access to fuel resources, has changed significantly, and a review of the purpose and effectiveness of existing CAFE standards is long overdue," they wrote.

 

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

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OREGON GOV SEEKS TO BLOCK OFFSHORE DRILLING: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed an executive order that seeks to ban offshore drilling in the waters off the state's coast.

The order signed Thursday bans oil and natural gas drilling in the three miles of water that Oregon officials control. But it also directs state agencies to block infrastructure and other means to support drilling anywhere off the coast, which would make building pipelines or other structures difficult.

The Trump administration proposed earlier this year to allow offshore drilling off Oregon and all other Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coast states. Nearly all Pacific and Atlantic coast states are fighting the plan.

"Oregonians have a long and proud history of standing up to defend our state. And at a time when the Trump administration is trying to allow oil rigs to be built off nearly every coastline in America, I'm tired of waiting for the federal government to come to its senses and realize that this is a terrible mistake," Brown said in a statement.

Read more.

 

GREEN GROUPS SHIFT TACTICS TO WIN VOTERS ON CLIMATE ISSUES: Conservation groups are linking the threat of global warming to health care and other prominent issues as they seek to win more support for candidates backing climate change policies in the midterms.

Studies repeatedly have indicated that people rarely vote on climate change even if they care about it.

To counter that dynamic, the political arms of groups including the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund are spending millions this fall to link climate change to the economy, corporatism and health care -- the number one issue Democrats are running on this year.

The groups are spending significantly more than in past midterms to drive home those connections. LCV committed to spending $60 million on 2018 races, more than it has ever spent before. The Sierra Club estimates its expenses will total over $6 million -- much higher than what the group spent in 2014.

Will Jordan, a senior research associate at the Global Strategy Group, insisted that climate change is more of an issue in this election than in past campaigns given rising concerns about weather events and a United Nations paper that found the world is running out of time to deal with the warming climate.

"That being said, health care is a larger issue," Jordan acknowledged.

Still, he said concerns about the planet dovetail with public health and actions the Trump administration has taken to weaken emissions standards that could lead to more pollution.

"I think that at the end of the day it's going to be fundamentally an election about the major issues: health care, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Cohen: I pray Michelle Obama's words will unite country again Michelle Obama: ‘I stopped even trying to smile’ during Trump’s inauguration Trump wants to end federal relief money for Puerto Rico: report MORE, accountability themes of the election, but at the same time you see this argument get threaded into those," he said of climate change.

In Virginia, ads against Republican Rep. Scott TaylorScott William TaylorRepublicans express frustrations with campaign spending after midterm House losses Five takeaways from a divisive midterm election Dems projected to retake House majority MORE target his links to corporate polluters as well as his vote to repeal ObamaCare.

Read more here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Chevron is in talks to buy Brazilian oil company Petroleo Brasileiro's Texas refinery operations, Reuters reports.

Officials in the Canadian province of Ontario are planning to send up to 30 grey wolves to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan this winter to help the depleted population there, the Associated Press reports.

Workers at Washington's Hanford nuclear site were ordered Friday to "take cover" due to a potential radiation release, but officials later rescinded the order, the Tri-City Herald reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Friday's stories ...

-GM wants administration to enforce annual hike in electric vehicle production

-Oregon governor seeks to block offshore drilling

-Environmental groups shift strategies to win support for candidates in midterms