Overnight Energy: Feds launch criminal probe over Volkswagen emissions

CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR VW?: German automaker Volkswagen Group is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department over its efforts to skirt Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions rules.

DOJ launched the probe in light of the EPA's revelation Friday that some of Volkswagen's diesel cars were built to comply with pollution rules only when being tested by the EPA, Bloomberg Business reported, based on two federal government sources.

A Justice spokesman declined to comment on the report.


Volkswagen has admitted that it used a "defeat device" to switch emissions controls off for normal use on about 482,000 vehicles sold in the United States since 2009.

On Sunday, Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn said he was "deeply sorry" for violating the trust of customers and the public, and the company would commission an external investigation.

Volkswagen's shares plummeted nearly a quarter on Monday. The company faces up to $18 billion in fines under the Clean Air Act.

Read more here.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThere's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware Senators want FERC to protect critical infrastructure from Huawei threats MORE (D-Wash.), will unveil an energy bill Tuesday in a news conference. The lawmakers said Monday that their bill would address "the need for new jobs, updated infrastructure and technological innovation."

ON TAP TUESDAY II: Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellNational parks pay the price for Trump's Independence Day spectacle Overnight Energy: Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone | UN report offers dire climate warning | Trump expected to lift ethanol restrictions Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone MORE, along with western governors and other federal and state officials, will make a "major announcement" regarding the greater sage grouse. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which is part of Interior, is under a Sept. 30 deadline to decide whether the sage grouse warrants a spot on the endangered species list.

NEWS BITE: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has dropped his federal lawsuit attempting to stop the EPA's carbon limits for power plants.

In a court filing on Friday, Pruitt told the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that the EPA plans to publish the final version of the regulation next month, which will allow Oklahoma another chance to file the lawsuit.

"Promulgation of a final rule will vest exclusive jurisdiction over [EPA's] actions in the D.C. Court of Appeals ... and deprive this court of continuing jurisdiction," Pruitt wrote.

Pruitt had sued the EPA in July in a federal district court, and the judge dismissed the lawsuit, because it lacked jurisdiction to hear the premature case.

The 10th Circuit Court rejected an appeal for the same reason.

Numerous states have said they are planning to file suit again as soon as the EPA publishes its rule.


Spurred by Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change, Notre Dame University has pledged to stop burning coal for electricity and slash its greenhouse gas emissions, USA Today reports.

The number of government carbon pricing systems worldwide has doubled since 2012, Reuters reports.


Check out Monday's stories ...

- Volkswagen under criminal probe in EPA emissions case

Natural gas rule begins final review

- Sage grouse listing decision has Congress aflutter

- Green group: Fossil fuel phase-out possible by 2050

- Week ahead: Pope Francis brings climate message to Congress

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