Overnight Energy: 'No deal' after senators, Trump meet on ethanol mandate | Green group flunks Trump on annual report card | Judge rules for Trump in border wall case

Overnight Energy: 'No deal' after senators, Trump meet on ethanol mandate | Green group flunks Trump on annual report card | Judge rules for Trump in border wall case

NO DEAL ON BIOFUELS: Four Republican senators representing oil and farm states failed to come to an agreement on changes to the nation's biofuel mandate during a White House meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE on Tuesday.

The senators met with Trump, Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerduePlan to lift roadless rule in Alaska's Tongass national forest threatens economy House Democrat asks USDA to halt payouts to Brazilian meatpacker under federal probe From state agriculture departments to Congress: Our farmers need the USMCA MORE and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog Is Big Oil feeling the heat? MORE to discuss changes that oil-state senators want made to the country's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

"There was no deal made," said Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Horowitz did not find evidence Obama asked for probe of Trump MORE (R-Iowa), who has been defending corn and ethanol interests in recent months amid pressure to change the ethanol mandate or how it is enforced.

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"We reminded President Trump of his commitment to maintaining the 15 billion gallons per year of ethanol under the RFS, his commitment to biofuels, ethanol and rural America."

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Senate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal Senate passes Armenian genocide resolution MORE (R-Texas), who for months had held up the nomination of Bill Northey to a top Agriculture Department post in order to force the meeting, called the discussion "vigorous and positive."

"I believe we are likely to reach a win-win outcome. One that is a win for Iowa corn farmers, that results in Iowa corn farmers being able to sell more corn than they can right now, and at the same time that saves the jobs of tens of thousands of union [refinery] members," Cruz told reporters.

Although no agreement was reached, the Senate did approve Northey's nomination by voice vote.

Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Houston police chief stands by criticism of McConnell, Cruz, Cornyn: 'This is not political' Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Iowa) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) also attended the meeting.

The RFS requires refineries to mix transportation fuel with a certain level of ethanol or buy credits called Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN).

Cruz has been pushing in recent months for the EPA to put a cap on the price of RINs, which are sold on a market and subject to price increases and decreases, to count exported ethanol toward the mandate total, or to forgive RIN obligations for certain refineries.

Read more here.

 

GROUP GIVES TRUMP, CONGRESS FAILING GRADES ON ENVIRONMENT:  President Trump and congressional Republicans scored record lows on an annual analysis of pro-environment voting records, released Tuesday.

The 2017 League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Scorecard gave Trump a failing grade and handed GOP Senators a 1 percent average score for positions they've taken on energy and the environment in the past year, the lowest scores in the history of the organization's rankings.

"There's no getting around it: at the federal level, 2017 was an unmitigated disaster for the environment and public health with President Trump and his Cabinet quickly becoming the most anti-environmental administration in our nation's history," read the report.

The findings compiled by LCV, an environmental activist and lobbying group, also highlighted increased differences on environmental policies in Congress.

The highest rankings went to members from mostly blue states, with the lowest rankings handed largely to Republicans in red districts.

The results come at a time when science policy changes are increasingly under the microscope.

As the Trump administration moves to consolidate Environmental Protection Agency offices, remove environmental regulations and bring more industry voices into fact-finding processes, environmentalists are accusing the government of putting science on the back burner.

Read more here.

 

JUDGE RULES FOR TRUMP IN BORDER WALL CASE: A federal judge in California ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration followed the law and the Constitution when it waived numerous environmental laws to build Trump's border wall.

The ruling means that the Department of Homeland Security will be able to continue waiving the regulations to build barriers on the border.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel wrote in his ruling that he did not have "serious constitutional doubts" about the administration's use of the waivers.

"In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent," he said.

The lawsuit, filed by the state of California last year, argued that the department had improperly waived the National Environmental Policy Act and other immigration and environmental rules to speed up the construction of the wall.

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraSecond federal judge blocks Trump from using military funds for border wall California recovers M from auto parts makers' in bid rigging settlement Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings MORE said in a statement Tuesday that the state is "unwavering in our belief that the Trump Administration is ignoring laws it doesn't like in order to resuscitate a campaign talking point of building a wall on our southern border."

"We will evaluate all of our options and are prepared to do what is necessary to protect our people, our values, and our economy from federal overreach," he said. "A medieval wall along the U.S.-Mexico border simply does not belong in the 21st century."

Trump famously attached Curiel during the 2016 president case over his Mexican heritage, saying he was too conflicted to oversee a lawsuit regarding Trump University. Curiel, who was nominated to the bench by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaModerate or left of center — which is better for Democrats in 2020? Obama: Countries facing severe effects of climate change offer 'moral call to rest of the world' Democrats' self-inflicted diversity vulnerability MORE, is a native of Indiana.

Read more here.

 

SENATORS QUESTION DOE OVER WHISTLEBLOWER POLICIES: The Department of Energy (DOE) appears to have reimbursed one of its contractors millions of dollars for legal expenses from fighting whistleblower retaliation claims, a pair of Senate Democrats say.

Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle MSNBC's McCaskill: Trump used 'his fat thumbs' to try to intimidate Yovanovitch GOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' MORE (Mo.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Trump administration approves Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (Ore.) asked about the situation in a Tuesday letter to Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryNew Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits MORE, citing documents that appear to show that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) paid more than $24 million to the partnership of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for costs from a series of whistleblower cases.

Rules generally prohibit contractors from recovering such costs from federal agencies.

"Whistleblowers are an invaluable resource for weeding out waste, fraud and abuse -- the last thing the government should be doing is paying the legal fees of contractors who've retaliated against whistleblowers," McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

"The Department of Energy needs to justify why it spent taxpayer dollars on reimbursing this contractor. And if it can't, it needs to get that money back now."

DOE and the Lawrence Livermore partnership did not return requests for comment on the senators' letter.

The documents Wyden and McCaskill cite came from ongoing litigation involving a whistleblower, and they did not disclose the litigant in the case.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's subpanel on water and power will hold a hearing on five bills in its jurisdiction.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

A federal judge blocked California officials Tuesday from requiring cancer warnings on Roundup and other products containing glyphosate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Duke Energy and other owners of a coal-fired power plant in Ohio sold the plant for undisclosed terms, the Associated Press reports.

Malibu, Calif., has banned straws and other plastic utensils from restaurants, CBS Los Angeles reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

-Senators say DOE may have reimbursed contractor for fighting whistleblower claims

-'No deal made' as GOP senators meet with Trump on ethanol mandate

-Mexican-American judge who Trump attacked rules in favor of border wall

-Power companies pull workers from Puerto Rico as many remain without power

-Group gives Trump, Congress lowest grades in annual environment scorecard

-Rick Perry planning nuclear energy talks with Saudi Arabia: report
-US forecast to be world's top oil producer by next year

-German court rules cities can ban diesel cars

-EPA reorganization will merge science office