Overnight Energy: House Dem leaders back chemical safety overhaul

HOUSE DEMS ON THE REFORM TRAIN: Leading House Democrats joined their colleagues Monday in endorsing a bipartisan, bicameral proposal to overhaul the nation's chemical safety standards.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that they secured a manager's amendment that made the bill more palpable to Democrats.


Getting the House Democratic leaders on board increases the chances that their caucus will vote this week in favor of the legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and it will pass.

"Democrats remain concerned by Republicans' provisions limiting states' ability to act aggressively on toxic substances. However, the bill grants EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] with significant new authority to protect the public from unsafe toxic chemicals," the three said in a joint statement.

"House Democrats succeeded in empowering the EPA to unilaterally demand testing on chemicals it suspects are unsafe for people or harmful to the environment," they said in a statement. "Recent changes Democrats made will reduce the harm of the state preemption provisions in the bill."

President Obama also endorsed the bill on Monday. 

Read more about the House Democrats here, and President Obama here.

Tomorrow in The Hill: The chemical safety reform effort may never have gotten to this point if it weren't for a 2013 decision by Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterLobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views Collins votes against Trump judicial pick MORE (R-La.) to join in the effort that was mainly Democratic at the time. Read more about that and other twists and turns in the years-long fight over TSCA tomorrow in The Hill.

BUSY WEEK FOR ENERGY BILLS: The chemical bill is just one of a host of energy and environment-related bills on Congress' schedule this week.

The House is expected to consider its $37.4 billion energy and water spending package for 2017 this week. The legislation is a tad smaller than the package the Senate passed earlier this month, but it contains a host of environmental policy riders likely to turn off many Democrats.

House appropriators are set to release their 2017 spending bill for Interior and environment programs this week as well. It has been several years since the House approved an Interior and environment appropriations bill: last year's was full of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy changes but likely would have passed the House, had a controversy over the display of the Confederate flag not blown it up at the last minute.

The House will also take the procedural steps necessary to go to a conference committee with the Senate on an energy reform bill. If negotiators hatch a deal this year, it will be the first energy policy overhaul in nearly a decade.

Finally, House lawmakers are set to introduce their water infrastructure improvement bill this week. The Senate's package came out in April.     

Read more here.

WEST VIRGINA AG: BLOCK POWER PLANT RULE TO SAVE COAL JOBS: The state attorney general leading the legal charge against President Obama's climate rule for power plants says stopping the regulation will end up helping the declining American coal industry.

"I think that it would lead to more coal jobs, but it's difficult to predict what that number would be," West Virginia's Patrick Morrisey said at a National Press Club event on Monday.

"We all know the cause of coal's decline is multifaceted, but the regulatory regime, certainly from my perspective, has played a very important role. If you can reverse some of the regulatory carnage we have seen, then there is an opportunity to at least come back."

Morrisey and others have said the power plant rule -- over which he is suing -- is hampering coal producers because it encourages utilities to move away from coal-fired power and its associated carbon emissions.

Ending the rule, which his lawsuit seeks to do, could help bring coal part of the way back from the energy industry's ongoing move away from the fuel, he said.

The power plant rule's fate, he said, is likely tied up in this fall's presidential election.

"Obviously the presidential election may end up playing a very important role in what happens with the CPP," Morrisey said.

"I am optimistic that, with the Republican nominee [Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE], there might an opportunity to withdraw these EPA regulations, and once again, that might give coal a little bit of the boost it really needs."

Read more here.

TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: John Quigley, secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, resigned Friday, just as a scandal was unfolding over a profane email he sent to environmentalists.

"Where the f-ck were you people yesterday," Quigley wrote in April to greens after a hearing on oil and natural gas rules, according to the email obtained Monday by StateImpact Pennsylvania.

"Do you really think the Governor will veto this sh-t with NO support," he said. "The environmental community is without influence in Harrisburg. What will you do about it?"

Quigley submitted his resignation Friday, hours after Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) office said publicly that it had launched an investigation into Quigley's email, which he sent from a personal account.

But Wolf and state lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, had long been frustrated with Quigley's performance and his abrasive nature, StateImpact reports.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The House could begin debating the TSCA bill as early as Tuesday. Keep checking TheHill.com for more information on its floor progress.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The House Rules Committee will consider a rule for the Senate's energy reform bill, the first step toward going to a conference committee on the legislation.  

Rest of Tuesday's agenda...

A Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee will meet to discuss the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency's water rule on states.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on three water bills.


Local officials in the United Kingdom have approved the first hydraulic fracturing project in the country since 2011, ITV reports.  

Florida environmental officials are defending their new pollution limits for water, which were developed with a method that neither the federal EPA nor any other state uses, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan has withdrawn its federal application to build the Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline, The Republican reports.


Check out Monday's stories...

-Obama 'strongly supports' chemical overhaul bill
-WH threatens to veto House energy and water spending bill
-W.Va. AG: Stopping power plant rules will help coal jobs
-House Dem leaders back chemical safety bill
-Lawmaker eyes return to powerful chairmanship
-Coal CEO backs Trump
-Obama pledges to 'support' Vietnam on climate change
-Fertilizer companies call off merger due to Treasury actions
-Week ahead: Chemical safety bill nears finish line

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