Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Trump hit with lawsuit over energy efficiency rules

Getty Images

STATES, GREENS SUE TRUMP OVER ENERGY RULES: Several states, environmentalists and consumer groups are suing the Trump administration over its decision to delay the implementation of energy efficiency rules for appliances.

Trump proposed delaying rules setting high energy-efficiency standards for products such as ceiling fans, walk-in coolers and freezers, and others earlier this month.

The rule was first proposed by President Obama’s Department of Energy in 2016, but frozen by Trump’s administration last month.

Manufacturers had raised concerns that the rules would increase compliance costs. But supporters of the rules say they will save consumers up to  $23 billion through lower electric bills, and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Several groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, sued over the rule on Monday, as did a group of ten states and the City of New York.  

{mosads}”Energy efficiency standards are vital to public health, our environment, and consumers,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

“This is yet another example of how the Trump administration’s polluter-first energy policy has real and harmful impacts on the public health, environment – and pocketbooks – of New Yorkers.”

Read more here.

SUPREME COURT WON’T STAY WATER LAWSUIT: The Supreme Court declined Monday to pause proceedings in a case concerning former President Obama’s Clean Water Rule, in a rebuke to the Trump administration.

The justices’ decision came on Monday with no explanation.  

The White House opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ rule and asked the court to hold off on the case while the agencies formally consider repealing it.

The Supreme Court case, National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, does not concern the merits of the highly controversial regulation.

Instead, the industry groups opposed to the rule want the high court to overturn the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s opinion that it has the primary jurisdiction over the case.

The 6th Circuit decision had consolidated cases filed in dozens of other federal circuit and district courts.

Read more here.

TRUMP DONATES FIRST PAYCHECK TO INTERIOR: President Trump has donated his first three months of salary to the National Park Service. 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke accepted the $78,333.32 donation during the White House press briefing on Monday. He said the donation would go toward maintaining historic battlefield sites. 

The donation is the first of Trump’s presidency but it won’t be his last: Trump said he would not take the annual $400,000 salary as president. 

Democrats and public lands supporters were incredulous about the donation on Monday, noting that the $78,000 is a fraction of the $1.5 billion Trump proposed to cut from the agency in his first budget.

MAILBAG: DEMS PUT PRESSURE ON EPA: Congressional Democrats sent various letters to the EPA Monday to fight against Trump’s environmental policy rollbacks.

letter from Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) discussed EPA head Scott Pruitt’s decision last week not to ban the common pesticide chlorpyrifos, despite the EPA’s evidence under the previous administration of harm from exposure.

“This decision to lift the proposed ban could undermine the trust the public has in the agency to keep its food, water and air safe,” Carper said, demanding all documents since Election Day related to the decision.

Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, led three of his other Democratic colleagues on the panel in asking their chairman, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), to investigate the EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision.

“This decision increases our concern that the Trump Administration is failing to properly implement the Food Quality Protection Act,” the Democrats wrote. “The committee bears a responsibility to investigate, and we ask that you join us in requesting documents from the administration, and hold hearings on this important public health issue.”

Meanwhile, several Democratic senators asked the EPA to outline how it intends to enforce the agency’s water rule in light of Trump’s executive order calling for its review and rewrite.

The senators — led by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) — asked how the EPA would implement the executive order while also protecting drinking water that might come from the waterways covered by the rule.

“We are concerned of the threat that [the order] poses to critical wetlands and to streams, including streams that feed into the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans,” the members wrote in their letter.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on cyber threats facing the electric grid.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will meet to discuss the reauthorization of the Brownfields program.

Rest of Tuesday’s agenda …

A House Natural Resources panel will hold a hearing on a bill to support pumped storage hydropower.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee will discuss forecasting for water hazards and vulnerabilities at a hearing.


British vacuum maker Dyson Ltd has abandoned patents that it planned to use to make electric cars and their batteries, Quartz reports.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, signed a joint agreement on addressing climate change, BBC News reports.

A leak in an underwater oil pipeline in Alaska’s Cook Inlet was stopped Sunday, a day after it was discovered, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.


Check out stories from Monday and the weekend …

-Watchdog hits mine overseer on coal cleanups
-Trump donates first-quarter salary to National Park Service
-States, greens sue feds over delays in energy efficiency rules
-Supreme Court won’t pause Obama water rule case
-Week ahead: House eyes more help for coal country
-EPA chief on warming: ‘The real issue is how much we contribute to it’
-Sierra Club buying ad to target Gorsuch vote
-EPA watchdog reviewing whether Pruitt’s carbon remarks violate policies

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

Tags Ben Cardin Tom Carper
See all Hill.TV See all Video