Overnight Energy: New push for GOP to embrace carbon tax

Overnight Energy: New push for GOP to embrace carbon tax

EX-OFFICIALS PITCH CARBON TAX TO GOP: A group of Republican former government officials is making a new push for their party to endorse a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

The group, which includes people such as former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Schultz, as well as former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, rolled out their plan Wednesday and met with White House officials on the proposal.

The group of establishment Republicans, which calls itself the Climate Leadership Council, is urging President Trump and Congress to institute a carbon tax and simultaneously remove nearly all of former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Memo: Trump grows weak as clock ticks down How Obama can win back millions of Trump voters for Biden Biden taps Obama alums for high-level campaign positions: report MORE's climate change regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan.

Trump and the GOP plan to repeal those regulations anyway, though they do not intend to replace them with other climate policies.


While a carbon tax has long gotten strong support from economists and Democrats, it has rarely gotten very far among Republican policymakers.

Trump made it clear on the campaign trail that he never intends to support a carbon tax, and House Republicans last year passed a non-binding resolution to denounce the idea.

Nonetheless, the group of elder GOP statesmen think that their policy arguments can get traction.

"For too long, we Republicans and conservatives haven't occupied a real place at the table during the debate about global climate change," Baker, who led State under former President George H.W. Bush, told reporters Wednesday at an event with other leaders in the group.

Read more here.

GREENS SUE TRUMP OVER '1-IN-2-OUT' ON REGS: An environmental group and its allies are suing the Trump administration over its new restrictions on federal regulations.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Public Citizen say Trump's Jan. 30th order exceeds his authority under the Constitution and will block important health, safety and environmental protections without taking the benefits of those rules into account.

The order requires agencies to cut two regulations for every new rule they adopt.

Chris Shelton, president of CWA, a union, said workers shouldn't be required to "trade off one set of job, health and safety protections in order to get protection from another equally dangerous condition."

"This order means that the asbestos workplace standard, for example, could be discarded in order to adopt safeguards for nurses from infectious diseases in their workplaces," Shelton said in a statement.  

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the lawsuit "presumes a lot of outcomes that are wildly inaccurate."

"It makes a ton of assumptions that call for speculation on what may or may not happen in the future and that's highly -- it's just subjective at best and it doesn't have any basis in fact," Spicer said.

Read more here.

EX-OBAMA OFFICIAL BLASTS DAKOTA ACCESS MOVES: 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, the Interior secretary under President Obama, on Wednesday slammed the Trump administration's push to complete the Dakota Access pipeline.

She said the Army Corps of Engineer's decision to approve the project "reneges" on the government's promises to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which opposes the project.

"I was proud to stand with the Army Corps earlier this year as they committed to conduct a thorough review of the proposed route, including an Environmental Impact Statement," Jewell said in a statement she tweeted on Wednesday.

"The tribe is right to pursue legal action. As a citizen, I add my voice to the thousands calling on the Corps to do the right thing and keep their word to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe."

Trump in January signed an executive order directing the Army Corps to issue an easement for construction on a stretch of the project. Jewell had supported Obama administration decisions that ended up shelving the easement, and she said the tribe is right to oppose efforts to finalize the project now.

"The Corps' decision willfully ignores the government's trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations and the spirit of the law," she said.

An industry group that supports the Dakota Access project shot back on Wednesday, noting that Obama political appointees -- not career employees -- were behind efforts to slow down the project.

"For Ms. Jewell to impugn the integrity of the Corps and the men and women who serve our nation is simply un-American," the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now said in a statement.

"As a citizen, she is certainly entitled to express her own opinion; but as a former servant of the public's trust it should be beneath her to make up her own facts."

Read more here.

POLL: DAKOTA DECISION IS TRUMP'S LEAST POPULAR ORDER: Trump's decision to fast-track the Dakota Access pipeline is the least-popular order he has so far given as president.

According to a survey from Morning Consult and Politico, only 46 percent of respondents support the decision, the lowest tally for 11 decisions Trump has made so far. Thirty-nine percent of people oppose the move, the third-most among the policy options. But that's still a plurality in favor.

Trump himself heralded the poll on Wednesday, sending a tweet highlighting the survey's conclusions regarding his travel ban on 7 Muslim-majority countries, which 55 percent of respondents support.

Forty-eight percent told pollsters they support Trump's decision to revive the Keystone XL pipeline. Forty-seven percent of respondents approve of Trump's job performance overall.

Read more here.  

ON TAP THURSDAY: Americans for a Clean Energy Grid's Infrastructure Summit kicks off.  


The Seattle city council voted Tuesday to stop the city's banking relationships with Wells Fargo over the bank's lending to the Dakota Access pipeline project, the Seattle Times reports.

A Florida plan to buy fields and build a reservoir to reduce harmful runoff into the Everglades is moving forward in the state Legislature, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Wikipedia has banned the use of the Daily Mail as a source on its website, The Guardian reports, calling it unreliable and sensational. House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) this week held up a Daily Mail story on climate science as proof federal scientists fudged a major study on the issue.


Check out Wednesday's stories ...

-White House eyes energy veterans for adviser roles
-Obama Interior chief slams Trump's decision on Dakota Access
-Ex-officials try to pitch carbon tax to GOP
-Trump sued over '1-in-2-out' regulations order

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