Overnight Energy: Fracking questions dog Clinton

FRACKING FRAUGHT FOR CLINTON: Another environmental group is knocking Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump defends indicted GOP congressman GOP lawmaker says he expects to be indicted over FBI investigation Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on MORE over her donations from fossil fuel interests, drawing a laugh from the Democratic front-runner this week.

Climate group 350 Action circulated a video Thursday of an activist asking Clinton to stop receiving donations from the hydraulic fracturing industry during her presidential campaign.


In the video, Clinton laughed at the activist and said, "Go read the articles. I've debunked all of that."

Clinton's donations from the fracking industry have bubbled up into a minor issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Her rival, Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Progressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting MORE, said last week that she has "taken significant money from the fossil fuel industry," and green groups such as Greenpeace are tying her to more than $1.6 million in donations from industry employees or lobbyists and bundlers.

In response, Clinton has pointed to fact-checking groups that have largely dismissed those complaints, noting donations from fossil fuel interests represent a minor percentage of her overall fundraising this cycle.

"I feel sorry sometimes for the young people who believe this. They don't do their own research," Clinton said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Read more (and watch the new video) here.

EPA CHIEF TALKS FRACKING, TOO: Meanwhile, the Obama administration's top environmental regulator said Thursday that upcoming rules on methane emissions will help keep the fossil fuel industry "sustainable" in the future.

"Moving on [methane] will reaffirm our leadership on climate. It also will happen to make sure that our ability to continue to rely on fossil fuel will be done in a way that is sustainable, as well," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit White House puts together climate finance strategy MORE said in a speech in Canada.

"When you leak methane you are highly inefficient, not just highly polluting. We have to get the methane out of the system. We're going to do it together and we're doing to do it on oil and gas."

Obama is pushing to cut methane emissions by up to 45 percent from 2012 levels over the next decade, saying such a measure is important for reducing a potent global warming-causing greenhouse gas.

McCarthy, though, said it should also help keep natural gas a sustainable fuel for energy generation in the future.

The low price of gas has already made it a viable alternative to coal for electricity generation, and since burning natural gas releases fewer emissions, cutting down on methane leaks would deliver more bang for the buck, environmentally.

Some environmental advocates -- including Sanders -- have embraced the so-called "keep it in the ground" movement as a way to stop fossil fuel development in the future. But McCarthy's statement Thursday reinforces signals from other senior Obama officials that the administration doesn't buy into that push.

Read more here.

LET'S LET CANADA WEIGH IN: McCarthy was in Ottawa on Thursday to meet with her Canadian counterpart, environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna.

In a speech of her own, McKenna said she was happy to have a "great partner in the United States" on climate change causes, including methane regulations. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed last month to work together on climate issues, including cutting methane emissions from both countries' oil and natural gas sectors.

McKenna said that such a strategy will have a big impact on the climate change front around the world, especially if North American officials are able to expand their work internationally.

"There is a sense that we need to work very hard and look at all the bilateral tools. When we talk about methane we are discussing how we can expand that to Mexico and how we can expand that globally," she said.

"If we were able to expand globally what've done bilaterally, it would be like closing one-third of the coal-fired plants around the world. That's how important that action is."

READY FOR 'THE REALLY BIG ONE'? Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenate Democrat calls on Facebook to preserve documents related to whistleblower testimony Biden says he has directed DOJ to focus on violence from unruly airline passengers Looking to the past to secure America's clean energy future MORE (D-Wash.) is warning that the Pacific Northwest isn't prepared to deal with the impacts of a massive earthquake there, something geologists warn is long overdue.

During a hearing on Thursday, Cantwell said government agencies need a better plan to deal with a quake and tsunami that experts say could be as powerful as the 2010 disaster in Japan. She warned of local and county officials in Washington state hearing from federal scientists and struggling to come up with earthquake mitigation plans for their communities.

"I think we need to keep doing more work to make these plans a reality at the federal level," she said. "The size that people are talking about, the map that they show ... basically one of the largest economies in the world, the West Coast economy, will be greatly impacted by this. So I think we want to keep knitting it together."

Cantwell was alluding to a potential quake at the Cascadia subduction zone, a prospect raised by the New Yorker in a (frightening) article last summer. Cantwell said she has heard from more people on that subject than any other, and the government needs a better plan to prepare for that eventuality.

"That's the most I've heard from my constituents, from people across the country, people I grew up with, people in Europe, everybody saying: Have you read this?" Cantwell said. "I don't even know if people here in our nation's capital have our minds wrapped around this."

Read more here, and read the New Yorker's 2015 article here.


One-fourth of European countries have now shuttered all their coal-fired power plants, EcoWatch reports.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will not fill his vacant climate change envoy position, a post he created before the Paris climate talks, The Guardian reports.

To cope with a drought and energy crisis, Venezuela's president has given his country's workers Fridays off between now and the end of May, The Wall Street Journal reports.  


Check out Wednesday's stories ...

-EPA chief: Methane regs will allow 'sustainable' fossil fuel use
-USDA proposes new standards for animals certified 'organic'
-Senator: Feds need to better prepare for massive Pacific quake
-Clinton laughs off activist's fracking fundraising request 

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