Overnight Energy: North America teams up on clean energy

A NEW NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY PUSH: President Obama and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts will this week announce a goal of producing 50 percent clean electricity across North America.

During a meeting in Ottawa on Wednesday, the three leaders will announce the new climate commitment, which covers nuclear power, renewable energy, carbon capture technologies for fossil fuel plants and energy efficiency measures.


In 2015, 37 percent of total power generation across the continent was clean energy. The U.S. gets about 33 percent of its electricity from renewables, hydropower and nuclear energy, according to the Energy Information Administration.

"The goal of this partnership is really to bring together all of the work that has happened between our respective countries over the past couple of years," said Brian Deese, Obama's senior advisor on climate issues.

The commitments come at the tail end of the Obama administration, which has looked to increasingly focus on international climate change efforts.

Since a new president will take over in January, Obama's successor will be tasked with further implementing the energy goals. But whether the next president is presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's Valadao unseats Cox in election rematch MORE or Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE, Deese cited market forces and said he thinks clean energy deployment will continue in the U.S.

"I think that the transformation of the American energy sector that's underway is going to continue, and that that has been driven by some of the policy choices that this president has made, but it's also being driven by market forces that is bringing down the cost of energy," he said.

Read more here.

MICHIGAN GOV STAYS OUT OF AIR RULE CASE: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is steering clear of his attorney general's lawsuit against an air pollution rule.

Ari Adler, a spokesman for Snyder, said the governor's office is not participating in the challenge filed Friday to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) mercury and air toxics standards.

Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) filed the lawsuit as his latest of many attacks on the regulation. It specifically challenges the EPA's April regulation trying to fix the rule's problems identified by the Supreme Court.

Snyder didn't say he supports the rule, but Michigan state law does require power plants to comply, no matter what happens with the federal regulation.

Due to Snyder's action, Schuette is legally only representing the "people" of Michigan, not the "state" of Michigan.

Read more here.

BLANKENSHIP: CONVICTION WAS 'UNFAIR': Former coal boss Don Blankenship is accusing a federal court of numerous legal errors leading to an unfair conviction on conspiracy to break mine safety rules.

Blankenship is spending a year in federal prison, but also appealing his conviction to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

He was the head of Massey Energy Co. when, in 2010, a disaster and collapse at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners.

Blankenship's appeal rests on numerous claims, including that the jurors weren't instructed properly regarding the burden of proof and prosecutors should have identified the specific laws he was accused of conspiring to break.

"The conviction here was unfair and must be reversed because of erroneous legal rulings at trial that conflicted with clear precedent and permitted conviction notwithstanding manifest shortcomings in the government's prosecution theory and in its proof," the brief states.

The government has until Aug. 8 to respond.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The Senate Energy Committee's public lands subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Bureau of Land Management's and Forest Service's land management plans for sage grouse conservation. Officials from each of the agencies will testify, along with numerous stakeholders.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Energy Information Administration (EIA) will roll out its Annual Energy Outlook at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. EIA head Adam Sieminski will lead the rollout.

Rest of Tuesday's agenda ...

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold an event examining cybersecurity threats to United States infrastructure. John Carlin of the Justice Department's national security division will speak.


California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is proposing a sweeping reform of the state's Public Utilities Commission, the Sacramento Bee reports.

An oil pipeline ruptured in Peru for the third time this year, though authorities say no rivers were impacted, Argus Media reports.

Voters have approved a plan in western France to relocate an airport to protected swamplands, Agence France Press reports.


Check out stories from Monday and this weekend:

-Regulators finalize mining, drilling payment disclosure rules
-US, Mexico, Canada to team up on clean energy, methane
-Michigan governor won't participate in air pollution case
-Democrat outraged by endangered species hunting permits
-Obama to make clean energy pledge with Mexico, Canada: report
-Democrats adopt climate change science investigation in platform
-Israel, Turkey, repair ties to cheers from US
-Waterways bill eyed as solution for Flint
-Company seeks $15B over Obama's Keystone pipeline rejection
-Week ahead: Wait drags on for energy talks

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