Overnight Energy: Trump signs solar tariffs | Energy official say ‘bomb cyclone’ justifies coal push | Trump chemical safety pick leaving EPA

Overnight Energy: Trump signs solar tariffs | Energy official say ‘bomb cyclone’ justifies coal push | Trump chemical safety pick leaving EPA
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TRUMP SIGNS SOLAR TARIFFS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE predicted that the tariffs he is imposing on imported solar panels and residential washing machines will lead to new jobs for American workers.

"You're going to have people getting jobs again and we're going to be making our own product again," Trump said at a White House signing event for the tariffs.

"We're going to benefit our consumers and we're going to create a lot of jobs," he said. "Our action today helps to create jobs in America for Americans. It will provide a strong incentive for LG and Samsung to follow through on their recent promises to build major manufacturing plants for washing machines right here in the United States," Trump added, referring to two companies that import washers and other appliances.

"Our action today helps to create jobs in America for Americans," he said. "A lot of manufacturers will be coming to the United States to build both washing machines and also solar."

At the brief ceremony, Trump also predicted the tariffs will not cause any trade wars with countries angry over the new penalties.

"There won't be a trade war, by the way," he said. "There will only be stock increases for the companies that are in this country. And that's what happened today, if you look at solar and if you look at the washing machine companies, that's really what happened today."

Trump said the new tariffs "uphold a principle of fair trade and demonstrate to the world that the United States will not be taken advantage of anymore."

Read more here.

 

TRUMP OFFICIALS USE 'BOMB CYCLONE' TO PUSH COAL: The Trump administration is pointing to the East Coast's recent "bomb cyclone" winter storm as to why the country needs coal energy for electric grid resilience.

Speaking on a panel of energy experts Tuesday, Bruce Walker, an assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, emphasized the importance of energy diversity to energy security, especially in times of freezing temperatures.

A key component of that diversity of energy sources, many say, is coal and nuclear energy, which are often called "baseload fuels."

"What was apparent during this weather event was the continued reliance on baseload generation and a diverse energy portfolio," Walker said at the hearing. "Without action that recognizes the essential reliability services provided by a strategically diversified generation portfolio, we cannot guarantee the resilience of the electric grid."

During the two-week cold snap that affected cities from the Midwest to New England, coal was a top energy provider. According to Andrew Ott, the chief executive of grid operator PJM Interconnection, coal provided 40 percent of the region's power. The PJM market is across 13 states from Illinois to Washington, D.C.

"We could not have served customers without coal," Ott said.

Asked by Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change Trump formally taps David Bernhardt to succeed Zinke at Interior MORE (D-W.Va.) how necessary coal fire plants were to the stability of the electric grid, 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, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said: "In this recent weather event, we wouldn't have seen any widespread outages absent coal, but coal was a key contributor -- I share your overall view that all of the above has to considered in our policy."

While the national electric grid faired well during the most recent storm, Walker, the Energy Department official, argued that cities should continue to use coal energy in some capacity to ensure stability in times of emergency.

"The question isn't whether or not we could get rid of coal. The question is should we get rid of coal?" Walker said. He added that he doesn't think the country should.

The question of whether the energy grid would be strong enough with fewer fossil fuel sources is especially timely as a number of cities are opting for lower or zero carbon footprints.

Republicans' push toward coal echoes the sentiments of a proposal made by Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryDemocrats have debate delusion that leaves them wildly outfoxed Say no to NOPEC to maintain a stable oil market California governor plays down Trump feud MORE in December calling for new rules to protect coal-fired and nuclear power plants for grid-resiliency.

FERC, in January, rejected that proposal to prop up struggling coal and nuclear power plants.

The success of the power grids during the recent bomb cyclone, which threw a number of East Coast cities into record breaking lows in January, also added to criticism from Democrats and others as to whether ageing coal fire and nuclear plants really were needed to help the power grid.

"I think baseload often times today is more of a political term than an engineering term. It tends to come up at times as a code for trying to subsidize generation that is no longer competitive in the marketplace," said Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDems introduce bill requiring disclosure of guest logs from White House, Trump properties Senate Dems seek to turn tables on GOP in climate change fight Senate Dems introduce bill demanding report on Khashoggi killing MORE (D-N.M.) at the hearing. "Coal generators, when they go down, are providing zero power to the grid."

Read more here.

 

DOURSON LEAVING EPA: President Trump's former nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) chemical safety office is leaving his job at the agency.

Michael Dourson was hired as a senior adviser to Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election EPA pushes forward plan to increase ethanol mix in gasoline Trump: The solitary executive MORE last October after a fiery confirmation hearing. The hire angered Democrats, who accused Pruitt and Dourson of trying to do an end-run around the Senate's responsibility to confirm high-ranking government officials.

He withdrew from the confirmation process in December after a handful of GOP senators announced their opposition to him, dooming his nomination, but he stayed on in an advisory role.

Now, Dourson will leave that job in the coming weeks.

"We wish him continued success in his future endeavors," EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said.

Democrats vocally objected to Dourson, who worked as a toxicologist for two decades, throughout his confirmation process, citing his history of working on behalf of the chemical industries as an insurmountable conflict of interest.

Read more here.

 

 

GREENS SUE EPA OVER ADVISORY BOARDS CHANGES: A group of scientists are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over new rules it made to its science advisory boards, which they argue are unlawfully limiting membership.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Elizabeth Sheppard, a professor at the University of Washington who was removed from an advisory committee, argues that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's announcement in October that he would exclude any scientist receiving EPA grants from serving on any of the 23 EPA scientific advisory boards was without any factual or legal grounding.

The lawsuit is one of a handful that have been filed since Pruitt initially made the announcement.

"This directive singles out scientists from the nonprofit and academic sector--recognized experts in their field who want to serve the public--and asks them to choose between public service and their scientific work," said Joshua Goldman, senior legal analyst for UCS in a statement Tuesday. "It's another example of this administration's hostility to independent scientific input and basing policy on impartial and balanced scientific evidence. The directive inherently prevents the agency from receiving independent scientific advice, and erects unnecessary barriers to scientists who want to use their expertise to serve the public."

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing at the Washington Auto Show on federal policies and automotive technology innovation.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

New research concludes that lobster populations in the Gulf of Maine are falling as water temperatures rise, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Crews in Oklahoma found the bodies Tuesday of five workers killed in an oil well explosion, the most deadly explosion in the state's oil industry since the current boom began, Reuters reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

Daniel Cohan of Rice University says Trump's solar tariffs won't succeed at the goals the president set out for them.

Steven Greenhut of the R Street Institute argues that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's (D) carbon tax plan is about revenue, not fighting climate change.

Craig Stevens of Grow America's Infrastructure Now says that a year after Trump's executive orders on Keystone XL and Dakota Access, domestic energy is surging.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-Sierra Club to release video calling out Ford's ties to Trump admin

-Trump admin uses recent 'bomb cyclone' to push coal energy

-Trump on tariffs: You will 'have people getting jobs again'

-Trump's former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA

-Puerto Rico to privatize its power system