Overnight Energy: Interior proposes cuts to two more monuments | Tribes, greens sue over Utah monument rollbacks

Overnight Energy: Interior proposes cuts to two more monuments | Tribes, greens sue over Utah monument rollbacks
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ZINKE WANTS TRUMP TO TRIM TWO MORE MONUMENTS: Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeHUD official quits amid Interior Department watchdog controversy Overnight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report Interior Department sued over withholding details on trophy permits, endangered species MORE has recommended President Trump shrink the acreage of two more national monuments, a day after rolling back protected areas in Utah.

A Zinke-led study into national monument declarations says that Trump should shrink Oregon and California's Cascade-Siskiyou and Nevada's Gold Butte national monuments by small amounts.


Zinke is also recommending Trump change management plans for six other monuments, allowing for additional grazing, ranching, fishing, hunting and other activities in those locations.

Those changes are on top of Trump's Monday order shrinking the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in Utah.

Zinke told reporters Tuesday he is "fairly confident" Trump will accept his recommendations.

"I will be in the president's office multiple times going through specifics of it as time passes," he said.

At Gold Butte, a 300,000-acre monument in southern Nevada, Zinke proposed reducing some of the designated area near a water district used by local residents to allow for repairs and infrastructure upgrades. He said that "we have not drawn out the maps specifically, but it's a small percentage of Gold Butte."

Zinke said federal agencies are still considering what to do with Cascade-Siskiyou, which stretches over the Oregon-California border. Officials believe some of the protected land should be legally set aside for logging rather than monuments, Zinke said, and they're considering what to do about private land within the monument borders.

Zinke recommended Trump change management plans for six other monuments. Under his proposal, that could allow for expanded timbering in Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine; commercial fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Rose Atoll and Pacific Remote Islands Marine monuments; more grazing access for tribes in New Mexico's Rio Grande Del Norte; and more coordination with the departments of Homeland Security and Defense around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monument in New Mexico.  

Trump still needs to approve the proposals, which are not yet final.

Read more here.


Tribes, greens sue over Utah monument actions: Hours after Trump's Monday announcement on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, supporters of the monuments sued him in federal court, saying the actions are illegal.

First, a coalition of environmental groups sued over Grand Staircase-Escalante in a lawsuit filed late Monday night.

"President Trump has perpetrated a terrible violation of America's public lands and heritage by going after this dinosaur treasure trove," Heidi McIntosh, managing attorney in Earthjustice's Rocky Mountains office, said in a statement after her group filed the lawsuit on behalf of numerous environmental groups.

"While past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect unique lands and cultural sites in America, Trump is instead mangling the law, opening this national monument to coal mining instead of protecting its scientific, historic, and wild heritage. We will not let this stand. We will use the power of the law to stop Trump's illegal actions."

Then, Tuesday morning, the Navajo Nation and four other American Indian tribes sued over the Bears Ears reduction.

"Through the Antiquities Act, Congress delegated to the president the limited authority to designate national monuments and retained to itself the power to revoke or modify national monuments," the tribes wrote in a statement.

"The proclamation signed by President Trump today is so extreme that it revokes and replaces Bears Ears and thereby violates the Antiquities Act and seizes authority that the Constitution vests solely in Congress."

The lawsuits argue that since the Antiquities Act does not explicitly say a president cannot rescind or reduce a national monument designation, Trump's action violates the law.

Read more here and here.


Zinke takes on Patagonia: Zinke on Tuesday slammed a key critic of Trump's decision to reduce the Utah monuments, outdoor retailer Patagonia.

The company has led a campaign saying that "The President Stole Your Land," which they called "illegal."

"I understand fundraising for these special interest groups, but I think it's shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to put money in their coffers," Zinke told reporters.

"You mean Patagonia made in China? This is an example of a special interest. ... What one square inch was stolen? The federal estate remains intact."

Read more here.


TRUMP APPEALS DRILLING DECISION: The Trump administration is appealing an October federal court decision that found it was "unlawful" to delay an Obama administration rule limiting methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling on federal land.

Justice Department attorneys, representing the Interior Department, filed a brief in the District Court for the Northern District of California late Monday, saying they are asking the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to review and overturn the ruling.

In the October decision, Judge Elizabeth Laporte said the Interior Department acted improperly when it tried to push back the January deadline for oil and natural gas companies to comply with the requirements of the Obama rule.

Agencies are allowed to delay the "effective date" of a regulation, but not the "compliance date," Laporte said. The "effective date" was January 2017, and had already passed by the time Interior tried to implement its new delay, though companies did not have to comply for a year.

"Effective and compliance dates have distinct meanings," she said.

Read more here.


Big Oil aims to reduce methane emissions:  The American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading oil industry association, launched a voluntary program Tuesday for member companies to reduce emissions of methane and other pollutants from the natural gas sector.

Under the methane reduction plan, participating companies would deploy new technologies to detect leaks of the potent greenhouse gas, replace equipment and end certain operating practices at drilling sites known to release methane, and annually report their progress toward cutting methane emissions.

Federal and state agencies have pushed methane regulations on the drilling industry, which in turn has said it is able to reduce emissions on its own.

The Trump administration is rolling back restrictions on methane pollution. But the industry insists it will work to cut emissions anyway.

"We've made significant progress in the U.S., bringing companies together who are doing work in this area, making progress on this," said Erik Milito, API's upstream and industry operations group director. "What we want to do now is bring the whole industry together on this."

Read more here.


ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: In the wake of an active hurricane season, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on Superfund cleanup after natural disasters.


ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The International Trade Commission will hold a public hearing on the solar cell tariff case.


Rest of Wednesday's agenda ...

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear from R.D. James, Trump's nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioTrump more involved in blocking FBI HQ sale than initially thought: Dems Trump makes new overtures to Democrats Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips MORE (D-Ore.) will speak at a Roll Call event on infrastructure.



Compass Point Strategies President Darren Bearson urges the Trump administration to move quickly on the Navajo Generating Station.



Three fires have destroyed thousands of homes in southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

As part of a lawsuit, scientists in Kentucky are using fish research to highlight the impacts of coal ash pollution in the state, PRI reports.

The city of Palm Beach is considering scrapping a rule limiting the amount of solar panels on the city's rooftops, the Palm Beach Daily News reports.



Check out Tuesday's stories...

-Exxon opposes ALEC's attempt to fight EPA climate policy

-Zinke to ask Trump to shrink two more monuments

-Zinke fires back at Patagonia over 'appalling' ad

-Perry pictured with falcon, sword during trek to Saudi Arabia

-Oil industry group launches methane reduction program

-Navajo Nation sues Trump over Utah monument reduction

-Trump appeals court decision against oil drilling rule delay

-Obama to address gathering of mayors at Chicago climate summit


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