Overnight Energy: Trump imposes 30 percent tariffs on solar panels | Zinke to push road through Alaska refuge | Supreme Court rules against Trump in water rule fight

Overnight Energy: Trump imposes 30 percent tariffs on solar panels | Zinke to push road through Alaska refuge | Supreme Court rules against Trump in water rule fight

TRUMP SLAPS STEEP TARIFFS ON SOLAR IMPORTS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE imposed steep tariffs of 30 percent on imported solar panel technology Monday in a bid to protect domestic manufacturers while signaling a more aggressive approach toward China.

The move is a major blow for the $2 billion solar industry, which gets around 80 percent of its solar panel products from imports.

The Solar Energy Industries Association has predicted that tens of thousands of jobs would be at risk with tariffs. But Suniva and SolarWorld USA, the bankrupt companies which requested the tariffs, say they would boost domestic manufacturing and add more than 100,000 jobs.

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The tariffs apply to all imported solar photovoltaic cells and modules, the main technology on panels that convert solar energy into electricity.

While the action is targeted at imports from China, Trump's tariffs apply to all imports, since Chinese manufacturers have moved operations to other countries.

"The president's action makes clear again that the Trump administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard," U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerChinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks MORE said in a statement Monday announcing the decision along with a decision to impose tariffs on imported washers.

The move is the first major tariff decision Trump has made unilaterally in office. Through his presidential campaign and his first year in office, Trump repeatedly promised to aggressively go after China and other nations that he feels conduct unfair trade practices and hurt domestic industries.

Solar panels already are subject to significant tariffs when imported from China and Taiwan.

The tariff falls to 25 percent after a year, and then 20 percent and 15 percent each year after, before phasing out entirely. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imports each year are exempt.

Read more here.

 

SHUTDOWN'S END IN SIGHT: After a three-day federal government shutdown, Congress passed a short-term spending bill late Monday to get the government running again.

When Trump signs the bill, federal agencies will be back up to full operation.

During the brief shutdown, the Interior Department was likely the most impacted among the major energy and environment agencies.

The National Park Service, which was in many ways the face of the 2013 government shutdown, tried to minimize the effect to the public from the shutdown. It kept parks as open as possible with no staff, despite criticisms from conservationists and others that it would be unsafe.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management canceled a series of public meetings around the country on Trump's offshore drilling plan.

The Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency both stayed at full force throughout the shutdown, saying that they either had no-year or multi-year appropriations or had money to stay in service for a few days.

  

ALASKA GETS ITS WILDLIFE REFUGE ROAD: Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeInterior's border surge puts more officers in unfamiliar role Not 'if' but 'when' is the next Deepwater Horizon spill? Former Wyoming GOP lawmaker mulling Senate bid to replace Enzi MORE approved a land-transfer deal Monday to allow Alaska to build a road through a federal wildlife refuge in the southwestern part of the state.

The action closes a major chapter in a fight that has stretched more than three decades and became a top priority for Alaska, including for Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills MORE (R).

The gravel, one-lane road would cut through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, connecting the remote community of King Cove to Cold Bay. Locals and Alaska leaders say it's necessary to link King Cove to a large, all-weather airport, mostly for medical evacuations in poor weather.

But conservationists have long fought the road. They say that the road would not be restricted to medical emergency use and would be destructive to the refuge.

"People do matter. And the president has made it very clear that our government works for the people and not the other way around," Zinke told reporters Monday at an event at Murkowski's Capitol Hill office after signing the agreement with King Cove Corporation, the Alaska Native government of King Cove.

"This is very important because it not only represents the right thing to do, but for Alaska, it represents the ability for Alaskans to have a voice," Zinke said. "State voices matter, local communities matter and this is a symbol from this administration that local voices matter."

Conservationists immediately slammed the move as disastrous for the refuge and promised to sue to stop the road from being built.

"This is the latest and among the most egregious examples of the administration selling out irreplaceable public wildlands for commercial gain," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife and a former director of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the refuge.

Read more here.

 

SCOTUS RULES AGAINST TRUMP ON CLEAN WATER RULE: In a hit to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that cases litigating the Clean Water Act should be heard by federal district courts.

The administration had argued those cases should be heard in federal appeals courts.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case over an Obama-era regulation, known as the Waters of the United States rule, back in January 2017, after debate as to whether the U.S. Court of Appeals or federal district courts had the authority to hear the lawsuits from industry groups and states that say the rule went too far.

Dozens of parties had filed lawsuits over the regulation in both federal appeals courts and district courts.

Industry groups involved, led by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), argued that under the Clean Water Act, lower district courts should first hear the challenges, which can then be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, said the challenges were legally within the purview of appeals courts because the rule touched on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) permitting authority.

"Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision provides much needed clarity and affirms our longstanding position that the Clean Water Act empowers the federal district courts, not the courts of appeals, to initially review legal challenges to the Waters of the U.S. Rule," NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a joint statement Monday.
"This win, coupled with the administration's actions in proposing to repeal the rule and seek input on how to properly define 'waters of the U.S.,' puts us one step closer to addressing this deeply problematic rule and the confusion it has created."

Read more here.

 

LARGEST EAST COAST OIL REFINERY OWNER FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: The owner of the largest East Coast oil-refining complex is filing for bankruptcy and blaming an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) biofuel mandate.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions, owner of two refineries, announced the news to employees Sunday in an internal memo obtained by Reuters.

The bankruptcy comes just six years after the company was financially rescued by the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, and petroleum company Sunoco.

The internal memo told the employees, currently numbering 1,100, that in a new agreement with creditors the company secured $260 million in financing, adding the bankruptcy filings would have no immediate effect on workers. About $75 million of the new funding comes from Sunoco Logistics.

The memo was confirmed to Reuters by a spokeswoman for Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

The two refineries, operated by Philadelphia Energy Solutions, are equipped to convert about 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY I: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to review how the nation's electricity system performed during the cold snap of late December and early January. Witnesses will include Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Kevin McIntyreKevin J. McIntyreGOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies Senate should reject Trump’s radical nominee to key energy panel Overnight Energy: Chief energy regulator vows to steer clear of political fights | Zinke was referred to DOJ shortly before watchdog controversy | Groups threaten to sue EPA over paint stripper MORE and Assistant Secretary of Energy for Electricity Bruce Walker.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Heritage Foundation will hold an event to discuss Trump's Monday decisions to impose tariffs on solar panels and washers.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

FirstEnergy Corp's stock soared by the most in nearly a decade after getting a $2.5 billion investment from a group that included activist investor Elliott Management Corp., Bloomberg reports.

Five workers are missing after an explosion at an Oklahoma oil rig, CNN reports.

Researchers are worried about a late migration of monarch butterflies this year, the Washington Post reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

Jake Kornack of Our Climate says fossil fuel companies are taking advantage of the welfare system by socializing the costs of climate change.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and the weekend ...

-Trump imposes 30 percent tariff on solar panel imports

-Largest East Coast oil refinery owner files for bankruptcy: report

-After devastating fires, California plans emergency alert overhaul

-Zinke advances road through Alaska wildlife refuge

-Supreme Court rules against Trump administration on Clean Water rule

-Week ahead: Trump faces decision on solar panel tariffs

-Supreme Court agrees to hear case involving endangered frog

-Trump unhappy over Zinke's Florida offshore drilling exemption: report

-Ex-EPA chief: Agency will need '20 to 30' years to recover from Pruitt