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Overnight Energy: Oil industry warns of fallout from Trump steel tariffs | Dems want probe into Pruitt's apartment hunt | EPA board to review science 'transparency' rule

Overnight Energy: Oil industry warns of fallout from Trump steel tariffs | Dems want probe into Pruitt's apartment hunt | EPA board to review science 'transparency' rule
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BIG OIL FEARS TOLL OF TRUMP TARIFFS: Oil and gas industry representatives are expressing worries about new tariffs the Trump administration is imposing on steel and aluminum imports from three key U.S. allies.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) said it was "deeply discouraged" by the new tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union that were announced Thursday, saying that the U.S. is moving in "the wrong direction."

"The implementation of new tariffs will disrupt the U.S. oil and natural gas industry's complex supply chain, compromising ongoing and future U.S. energy projects, which could weaken our national security," said API President and CEO Jack Gerard in a statement.

Gerard added that the tariffs could lead to increased prices in specialty steel and raise costs for domestic production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. That would also come as the price of foreign oil imports are at a major high.

As a result the company said it will be asking for an exemption from the tariffs.

"We hope and expect that the administration will recognize the national security benefits of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry and grant API's member companies product exclusions from steel tariffs and quotas in the ongoing Department of Commerce process, as well as provide transparency and flexibility in the process to lessen the impact on U.S. oil and natural gas production, transportation and refining," Gerard said.

The Administration announced Thursday that the trade penalties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum will take effect at midnight.

Read more about the oil industry's response here.

Click here for more on Trump's decision.

 

More on the tariffs.

Mexico quickly answered the tariffs with duties of its own on U.S. goods.

The European Union is also vowing to retaliate.

The move also split Republicans. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Atheist group argues in court for prayer rights on House floor Small-dollar donations explode in the Trump era MORE said he disagrees with the president. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Congress should work with Trump and not 'cowboy' on Saudi Arabia, says GOP senator US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK MORE (R-Utah) blasted the decision Thursday, calling the tariffs a "tax hike on Americans."

A Koch brothers group joined in the criticism.

Markets dropped on the tariff news.

 

Happy Thursday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Does it feel like your shortened workweek is still dragging? Next time you may want to take a cue from Congress, which took off until Monday.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill

DEMS WANT PROBE ON PRUITT'S APARTMENT-HUNTING AIDE: Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Hillicon Valley: Officials warn of Chinese influence efforts | Dow drops over 800 points | Tech stocks hit hard | Google appeals B EU fine | James Murdoch may be heading for Tesla | Most Americans worried about election security For everyone’s safety, border agents must use body-worn cameras MORE (D-N.M.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Democrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight MORE (D-R.I.) and Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths MORE (D-Del.) want an investigation into whether Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA puts science ‘transparency’ rule on back burner Tucker Carlson says he 'can't really' dine out anymore because people keep yelling at him Overnight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports MORE broke the law when he had a close aide shop for apartments for him.

The demand for a probe comes after Pruitt told a Senate hearing this month that Millan Hupp, his scheduler, conducted the apartment hunt during non-work hours, but Pruitt did not pay her.

"There are several regulations designed to prevent the misuse of taxpayer funds and to prevent a supervisor from misusing the time of or accepting an improper gift from a subordinate employee, whose salary is paid by American taxpayers," the senators wrote Thursday to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins.

They also suspected that Hupp used some work hours for the apartment search, which would also violate regulations.

Tia Elbaum, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Inspector General, said the office had received the letter and would review it.

The Washington Post reported last month that Hupp contacted a real estate firm and a landlord last year to arrange visits to properties for rent in Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Read more.

 

EPA BOARD TO SCRUTINIZE SCIENCE RULE: The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) external scientific advisers have decided to formally scrutinize Administrator Scott Pruitt's proposal to require new transparency measures for science the agency uses.

The EPA's Science Advisory Board voted unanimously to take on the regulation at a Thursday meeting. It also decided to examine five other controversial regulatory rollbacks Pruitt is working on.

Key quote: "There is a real lack of clarity in how you would unroll this and actually apply it," Allison Cullen, a public policy professor at the University of Washington and a member of the board, said at the meeting.

The backstory: Under the new rule, any scientific data or findings the EPA uses for regulation, enforcement or other decisions would be subject to strict new standards. It would have to have all data publicly available, and it would have to be reproducible.

Two sides: Supporters say it would subject science to more scrutiny and let outsiders challenge the EPA's findings. Opponents say it would severely restrict the science EPA uses, particularly epidemiological studies, which rely on personal health data that is usually confidential.

We break it down here.

 

FLORIDA SENATOR WANTS ANSWERS ON OFFSHORE DRILLING PLAN: Florida Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Florida extending early voting in counties hit by hurricane MORE (D) is pushing the Interior Department to answer questions about the future of offshore drilling in his state.

In a letter sent to 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 on Thursday, Nelson urged Zinke to clarify previous statements he and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) made that Florida is "off the table" for potential future offshore drilling plans -- a statement Zinke made via Twitter in January but has since walked back.

Nelson, who is firmly opposed to opening Florida's offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, asked Zinke to clarify what the state's future for expanded drilling is and to provide details as to how Interior plans to protect Florida's coast.

"Despite your initial announcement in January that Floridians should not worry about your new plan, you later told Congressional committees that 'Florida did not get an exemption' and is 'still under consideration,'" Nelson wrote.

The congressman pressed Zinke for failing to provide any details about the pact he made with Scott earlier in the year that led to his first announcement that Florida would be exempted from the new Interior policy to open up offshore drilling in the U.S.

"Any plan that allows oil drilling one inch closer to Florida's shores is unacceptable," Nelson wrote.

We've got more on Nelson's letter here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

California regulators have approved $768 million worth of utility programs to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Australia's government is citing a rarely used environmental law to block a proposal to expand phosphate mining on Christmas Island, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The domestic benchmark for oil prices has posted its first monthly loss since February, MarketWatch reports.

 

FROM THE OPINION SECTION:

William Murray, a federal energy policy manager at the R Street Institute, says there are promising signs for the country's nuclear energy policy after a long winter

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

- EPA board to scrutinize Pruitt's science 'transparency' rule

-Oil industry fears toll of Trump steel, aluminum tariffs

-Dems want probe into aide who shopped for Pruitt's apartment

-Florida senator demands answers on Interior's offshore drilling plan

-Federal assessment finds 'gaps' in preparation for electric grid attacks

-Group files ethics complaint over Pruitt's legal defense fund