Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Coalition bucks Trump, commits to Paris climate goals

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STATES, CITIES, COMPANIES COMMIT TO PARIS: A coalition of more than 1,000 governors, mayors, companies, universities and others are pledging to stick with the goals of the Paris agreement despite President Trump’s withdrawal.

The effort is being led in part by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a special United Nations envoy for cities and climate change.

Calling the effort “America’s Pledge,” Bloomberg told U.N. officials in a letter on Monday that he’s working on a process to submit a contribution from the signatories to serve as a “parallel submission” to the Paris agreement, now that President Trump has committed to pulling the United States out of the pact.

“The bulk of the decisions which drive U.S. climate action in the aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society. The federal role, ideally, is to coordinate and support those efforts,” Bloomberg, a billionaire media mogul, wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

{mosads}”In the absence of a supportive federal coordinating role, these actors will more closely coordinate their own decarbonization actions,” he wrote. “Collectively, they will redouble their efforts to ensure that the U.S. achieves the carbon emissions reductions it pledged under the Paris Agreement.”

A separate open letter to the United Nations includes representatives of 125 cities, nine states, 183 colleges and universities and 902 businesses and investors, including more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies.

Read more here.

State coalition rises: A separate coalition of state governors committing to Paris now has 12 states and Puerto Rico as of Monday.

The group, dubbed the U.S. Climate Coalition, was launched by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) minutes after Trump announced the Paris pullout.

In addition to those states, the coalition now counts Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.


PUBLIC OPPOSES TRUMP’S PARIS DECISION: A majority of Americans oppose President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, according to a new survey released on Monday.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 59 percent of respondents oppose Trump’s move, compared to just 28 percent who support it.

A majority of Republicans, 67 percent, support Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement and 25 percent oppose it.

Meanwhile, only 8 percent of Democrats support the move to withdraw from the agreement, while 82 percent of Democrats oppose the decision, according to the poll.

Thirty-two percent of respondents think the president’s decision to pull out of the deal will help the country’s economy. Another 42 percent of respondents, though, think the move will hurt it.

Read more here.


GREENS SUE EPA OVER METHANE: Environmentalists have filed what they’re declaring to be the first lawsuit against a climate change policy rollback by Trump.

A team including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action to put a 90-day pause on former President Barack Obama’s methane rules for the oil and natural gas industry.

The greens say EPA head Scott Pruitt abused his Clean Air Act authority with the pause, and are asking the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to immediately restore the rule.

“In its haste to do favors for its polluter cronies, the Trump EPA has broken the law,” Meleah Geertsma, a senior NRDC attorney, said in a statement.

“The Trump administration does not have unlimited power to put people’s health in jeopardy with unchecked, unilateral executive action like this,” she said.

An EPA spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying it is agency policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.

Read more here.


TRUMP MOVES FORWARD WITH ATLANTIC DRILLING: The Trump administration is proposing allowing several companies to conduct seismic testing for oil and gas reserves beneath the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is asking for Marine Mammal Protection Act permits allowing five companies to conduct the seismic surveys with the air guns. The process is considered dangerous to certain types of marine wildlife.  

The Obama administration had blocked such testing and there are no drilling rigs off the east coast of the U.S. But President Trump has sought to loosen restrictions on offshore drilling.

He signed an executive order in April that aims to open the door to more offshore drilling. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke followed up on the executive order with an order of his own on May 11 setting in motion the seismic testing.

“You should be excited,” Zinke told attendees at an offshore drilling conference in Houston last month.

“If you’re in the oil and gas and energy segment in this society … the stars are lined up,” he said. “We’re going to make jobs, we’re going to bring the economy ahead.”

Read more here.


ZINKE TAPS NEW ACTING HEAD FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tapped Greg Sheehan, the former director at Utah’s wildlife services agency, to be deputy director at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The position is new and does not require Senate confirmation. And since there is no Senate-confirmed FWS director — nor has Trump nominated one — Sheehan is acting director until one is confirmed.

Sheehan has more than 25 years of experience with wildlife and natural resources for Utah.

“We are grateful to have Greg Sheehan join our team and help lead USFWS as we advance a pro-conservation and more collaborative agenda at the Department,” Zinke said in a statement. “His experience and proven record in wildlife service as well as his organizational management skills will be an invaluable asset to the service and the department.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Sheehan’s nomination as FWS director, but the administration has not announced such a nomination yet.


ON TAP TUESDAY: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on four Trump administration nominees. Nominees include David Bernhardt, Trump’s pick to the deputy secretary of the Interior Department, and Dan Brouillette, to be deputy secretary of the Energy Department. The committee will also consider two Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) nominees, Neil Chatterjee and David Powelson.



More Paris fallout: the environment ministers of the United Nations and Canada expect the U.S. to lose jobs following Trump’s pull-out from Paris, the Associated Press reports.

Australia is considering its first offshore wind farm, a 250-turbine project, The Guardian reports.

Texas’ General Land Office sued the federal government Monday to remove the golden-cheeked warbler from the endangered species list, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Bonus Around the Web: Add another voice to those condemning Trump’s Paris decision: Jonathan Toews, the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, slammed the decision in a weekend Instagram post, the Chicago Tribune reports.



Check out stories from Monday and the weekend …

-Poll: Public opposes Trump’s withdrawal from Paris deal by 2:1 margin

-US governors, mayors, businesses, commit to Paris climate pact goals

-Apple, Facebook, Google want to be a part of Paris deal

-Trump proposes seismic tests for Atlantic oil drilling

-Greens sue EPA over paused Obama methane pollution regulation

-Tillerson: Trump not ‘walking away’ from addressing environment

-US Energy secretary assures Japan of commitment to environment

-Al Gore: Recreating 19th century not ‘visionary strategy’ for 21st century

-Kerry: Trump saying he’ll negotiate better climate deal like O.J. searching for ‘the real killer’

-Pruitt: Pulling out of Paris climate deal ‘not a political decision’

-Globe heaps scorn on Trump for Paris exit

-Why Trump’s climate decision won’t stop the world


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  

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