Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Hyundai, Kia hit with big fines for fuel claims

FAST BUT NOT SO FURIOUSLY EFFICIENT: Automakers Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America are facing a settlement worth $350 million for overstating some cars’ fuel economies.

While the companies did not violate greenhouse gas emissions or fuel efficiency rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), their overestimates were dishonest to consumers and put them at an unfair advantage, Obama administration officials said.

{mosads}“When you misstate fuel efficiency on … these labels of a car, it means that we’re not delivering the health benefits and climate protections that are promised by the law,” EPA head Gina McCarthy said at a press conference Monday morning with Attorney General Eric Holder.

The total cost includes $100 million penalty, the largest penalty under the Clean Air Act in its history.

Hyundai and Kia, both owned by South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co., accepted the settlement, but maintained that their testing and reporting were reasonable.

Read more here.

ELECTION DAY 2014: Will tomorrow’s election impact energy and environment issues? The short answer is yes. Here are a few things The Hill thinks you should keep in mind on the eve of Election Day…

1. Keystone XL
The project is still in limbo at the State Department. However, depending on which seats the GOP picks up Tuesday, Keystone may find life in the Senate. The Hill will break down the scramble for votes on Keystone in the Senate on Tuesday. Check back for a look at just how close a Republican majority could be to getting 60 votes for a filibuster-proof approval of the controversial pipeline, and where greens will apply pressure to block it.

2. The climate agenda
Again, if the GOP picks up the six seats needed for a majority in the Senate, and then some, President Obama’s climate agenda will be on their hit list. That means anti-EPA regulations that attack the administration’s carbon pollution rules for existing power plants.

3. The year of the climate candidate
Senate races in Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, and New Hampshire, and Florida’s gubernatorial race will be key in determining whether or not climate change can win at the ballot box. Greens have spent a record amount of money, but will it be enough? The Hill will have more on this Tuesday.

4. Leadership shuffles
If Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) loses, but the Senate doesn’t flip then Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) could be the Democrat poised to take her place as head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. That would mean an entirely different agenda, and one that isn’t so favorable to fossil fuels. On the other hand, if Republicans take control of the Senate, that same committee could fall under the leadership of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a staunch advocate of expanding oil and gas drilling, and the Keystone pipeline. A Senate Environment and Public Works Committee could also see new leadership under a GOP majority. The chairmanship would likely go to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who is skeptical of the science behind climate change, and opposes the administration’s carbon rules.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: Resources for the Futures will host a webinar on the EPA’s carbon pollution rules for power plants. Technical executive with the Electric Power Research Institute, Omar Siddiqui, will participate, along with Dian Gruneich of Stanford University.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The National Academy of Sciences and Pew Charitable Trusts Tuesday will wrap up their joint conference on modeling the health effects of climate change. The events will include various experts, stakeholders and federal officials discussing how to incorporate health risks when considering the impacts of climate change.

Rest of Tuesday’s agenda…

The U.S. Energy Association will host a discussion on removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and what a carbon-free economy strategy means for industry and the government.

The American Water Resources Association will continue its annual conference.


Europe is on track for one of the coldest winters in recent memory, following the mildest year since 1964, Bloomberg News reports.

BuzzFeed explores how the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) smuggles oil into Turkey, bringing in more than $1 billion a day for the group.


Check out Monday’s stories…

— Oil, gas industries fight local anti-fracking measures
— US crude falls below $80
— Venezuela starts importing oil
— Energy Department expands efficiency push to ‘fast-charging’ power cords
— Feds fine Hyundai, Kia for false claims on fuel efficiency of vehicles
— Recent price tumbles force companies to shrink
— UN official: Parts of climate accord should be binding
— Denmark may phase out coal by 2025
— Planet headed toward ‘irreversible’ climate damage, UN warns

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com, and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill @lbarronlopez @Timothy_Cama

Tags Climate change Environmental Protection Agency Eric Holder Gina McCarthy Hyundai Hyundai Kia Automotive Group Keystone XL Kia Lisa Murkowski Maria Cantwell Mary Landrieu
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