Overnight Energy: Trump supporters split on elephant trophies policy | House votes to ease coal pollution rule | Home Depot to pay $27M fine over hazardous waste

Overnight Energy: Trump supporters split on elephant trophies policy | House votes to ease coal pollution rule | Home Depot to pay $27M fine over hazardous waste
© Getty

TRUMP ALLIES SPLIT ON ELEPHANT TROPHIES: The Trump administration's decision to reverse course on an Obama-era ban on African elephant trophy imports is facing pushback from some allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE.

While hunting advocacy groups and members of Congress who back them are cheering the decision from the Department of Interior's Wildlife Service (FWS) to allow imports on a case-by-case basis, others are knocking the move.

Two conservative media hosts who pushed Trump in November to put a pause on a decision to overturn an established trophy import ban are among those urging him to hold up the Obama-era order.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a plea to Trump on Wednesday asking him to change the new policy and warning him of what could happen to supporters if he did not.

"Please @realDonaldTrump, stick with your good instinct on this. We do NOT want to reward animal poaching. You will alienate independents & conservationists! #RespectAllofGodsEarth," she tweeted.

Ingraham previously tweeted at Trump in November saying, "I don't understand how this move by @realDonaldTrump Admin will not INCREASE the gruesome poaching of elephants. Stay tuned."

The next day, facing widespread backlash over the move, Trump tweeted saying he was putting a hold on the decision.

Read more here.

HOUSE PASSES BILL TO LOOSEN COAL WASTE EMISSIONS STANDARDS: The House voted Thursday to loosen certain air pollution standards for a specific kind of coal-fired power plant.

The Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act, which passed 215 to 189, would set less stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for hydrogen chloride and sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants that burn coal refuse, a waste byproduct of the coal mining process.

The plants are mostly in Pennsylvania, and since they don't burn standard coal, it's more difficult for them to reduce their emissions to the levels called for in the Obama administration's landmark 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule.

"This is a debate about one-size-fits-all coming out of Washington, D.C., and the failure of folks in this town at regulatory agencies to not appreciate [the] nuance of what's going on in the rest of the country," Rep. Keith RothfusKeith James RothfusConservative group pledges .5 million for 12 House GOP candidates Election handicapper moves GOP leader's race to 'toss-up' Buckle your seatbelts for 100 days of political drama before midterms MORE (R-Pa.), the bill's lead sponsor, said on the House floor.

Democrats said the bill amounted to a regulatory exemption that would increase air pollution, similar to a bill passed Wednesday that would delay air emissions rules for brick kilns and wood-fired heaters.

"It continues the theme of the floor this week, giving unnecessary preferences to a handful of special interests at the expense of clean air and people's health," said Rep. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoA bipartisan approach to protecting racehorses Overnight Energy: House votes to advance Yucca Mountain nuke waste plan | EPA won't reverse danger findings for paint stripping chemical | County sues oil companies over climate House votes to advance Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project MORE (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee.

Read more here.

 

HOME DEPOT PAYS $27M OVER HAZARDOUS WASTE: National retailer Home Depot will pay more than $27 million to the state of California to settle an unlawful disposal of hazardous waste case.

In the settlement announced Thursday, Home Depot will pay California $27,840,000 to resolve allegations brought against the retailer that it improperly disposed of batteries, aerosol cans, paints and other hazardous materials.

As part of the deal, Home Depot agreed to pay more than $16 million in civil penalties and $2 million toward projects that enhance environmental protections.

The company additionally agreed to spend $6.8 million to work toward more strict environmental compliance beyond what is mandated by law.

California's Department of Justice found evidence of Home Depot's failure to comply with state hazardous waste laws during 45 inspections it made of trash dumpsters belonging to Home Depot stores between 2013 and 2015.

Evidence of illegal disposal was found on each of those inspections, according to a statement released by California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Judge rules against DeVos rollback of Obama-era student loan regulations MORE on Thursday.

Additionally, the inspections found improper disposal of customer information, which left personal details readable.

Read more here.

 

GREENS SUE OVER WALRUS PROTECTIONS: An environmental group sued the Trump administration over its decision not to institute federal protections for the Pacific walrus species.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, the Center for Biological Diversity argues that the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ignored the threat to the walrus species from climate change.

The FWS said in 2011 that the Pacific walrus warranted protection as a threatened species since the sea ice it needs will continue to melt. But the Trump administration said in October that the species has other ways to survive.

"The Trump administration's outrageous reversal is a deathblow for the Pacific walrus," Emily Jeffers, an attorney with the group, said in a statement.

"Arctic ice is disappearing at a record rate, and walruses are suffering catastrophic habitat loss. Rather than ignoring the science, the administration needs to give these magnificent creatures the protection they desperately need to survive -- and legally deserve."

Read more here.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

The Salt River Project is trying to settle a years-old lawsuit with Tesla Inc. by buying batteries and incentivizing customers to buy batteries themselves, AZCentral reports.

Ryan Bundy, who led the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge in 2016, is running for governor of Nevada, FOX5 Las Vegas reports.

Colorado lawmakers killed a bill meant to increase safety and environmental standards for oil and gas drillers, the Denver Post reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

-Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana, says the economic benefits of a clean coastline are worth far more than offshore drilling.

 

-IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Elephant trophy decision faces pushback from some Trump allies

-Greens sue Trump over walrus protections

-Dem bill would overhaul ethanol mandate

-Home Depot to pay $27.8M in California hazardous waste settlement

-Perry calls global moves to shift from fossil fuels 'immoral'

-Faith groups ask Trump to stop off-shore drilling plan

-House votes to loosen air pollution rules for some coal plants

-Utah lawmaker shelves bill to name highway after Trump

-Nearly half of Trump EPA political appointees have industry ties: AP

-Head of US forest service resigns over misconduct allegations