Overnight Energy: State Dept. won’t pause Keystone review

NO 'PAUSE' BUTTON: The Obama administration is rejecting TransCanada Corp.'s request to pause its review of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The decision means the company won't be able to wait until the next president takes office for a decision on the project.

State spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday that officials had written to TransCanada to outline the decision, reasoning that there is no legal requirement to put the process on hold.


"The secretary believes that it's most appropriate to keep that process in place," Kirby said.

Instead, State will continue its process -- seven years and counting -- to determine whether Keystone is in the national interest, at which point President Obama will make a final decision.

And Obama will definitely make the decision within his term, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said the company respects the decision, and it'll continue to push for approval.

Read more here

SENATE SAYS NO TO WATER RULE: The Senate approved Wednesday a Republican effort to block a key Obama water rule. 

The Congressional Review Act, a measure to effectively end a federal regulation from taking effect, passed the Senate 53-44, setting up a potential veto from President Obama. 

Republicans said the bill will help rein what they consider overreach from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

"This regulation feels a lot like the latest in a sustained Obama administration regulatory assault on their families," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE (R-Ky.) said. 

"The Senate is going to pursue another avenue today to protect the middle class from this unfair regulatory attack."

If the House approves the resolution -- and there is broad support for stopping the water rule -- the White House has threatened to veto it and sustain the rule. 

"The agencies' rulemaking, grounded in science and the law, is essential to ensure clean water for future generations, and is responsive to calls for rulemaking from the Congress, industry, and community stakeholders as well as decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court," officials said in a Wednesday statement. 

Beyond the CRA, the EPA's water rule faces legal challenges from 31 states and multiple industry groups. A federal court blocked implementation of the rule last month while litigation moves forward. 

Read more here

STATES RIDE TO POWER PLAN'S DEFENSE: Attorneys general from 18 liberal states are asking to join in federal litigation to defend the Obama administration's climate rule for power plants. 

The states, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, intend to tell a federal court that the EPA has the power -- and is compelled by law -- to limit carbon emissions from the power sector. 

"The EPA's Clean Power Plan is a critical step forward in responding to the threat of climate change," Schneiderman said Wednesday, the day the states filed their petition to join the case. 

Twenty-six states have already sued against the Clean Power Plan, asking the courts to block its implementation until they can argue against the rule in court next year.   

Read more here

TOMORROW IN THE HILL: Two nuclear power plants have announced intentions to close in recent weeks, which the nuclear sector warns will complicate plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, as Obama wants to do. Check it out in The Hill

ON TAP THURSDAY I: Two subcommittees of the House Science Committee will hold a hearing on the EPA's actions toward stopping the proposed Pebble Mine in southwestern Alaska. Read here about two new, dueling reports about the project and the EPA's involvement. 

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The House Energy and Commerce Committee's subpanel on energy and power will hold a roundtable on international energy security. It will feature Jerzy Buzek, chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. 

Rest of Thursday's agenda ...

A subpanel of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on reviewing federal regulations. William Nickerson, head of the EPA's regulatory policy office, will testify. 

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the budgetary impacts of wildfires. 


Catherine McKenna is the new Canadian environment and climate change minister, CBC News reports

Duke Energy is dropping its plan to build a 45-mile transmission line between North and South Carolina, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer will be among the state's delegation to the climate talks next month in Paris, the Los Angeles Times reports


Check out Wednesday's stories ... 

-Sanders: Obama should reject Keystone before Paris talks 
-GOP chairman: Agency obstructing climate science probe 
-Administration rejects TransCanada's plea to pause Keystone review 
-Republicans, greens fight over EPA mine denial 
-States ask to defend Obama's climate rule in court 
-Senate votes to kill EPA's water rule 
-Greens: US on track for 20-year low in carbon emissions 
-Lawmakers to weigh gas tax reduction in House vote 
-House blocks vote on 15-cent gas tax hike 
-Dem bill blocks new fossil fuel leases on federal land 

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill