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 RyanUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Soaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington MORE said he disagrees with the president. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators 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 UdallDemocrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections Republicans should get behind the 28th Amendment New Mexico says EPA abandoned state in fight against toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.M.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax MORE (D-R.I.) and Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction FARA should apply to Confucius Institutes The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (D-Del.) want an investigation into whether Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEnvironmentalists renew bid to overturn EPA policy barring scientists from advisory panels Six states sue EPA over pesticide tied to brain damage Overnight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules 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 NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups 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 ZinkeBLM issues final plan for reduced Utah monument New policy at Interior's in-house watchdog clamps down on interactions with press Overnight Energy: EPA proposes scrapping limits on coal plant waste | Appointee overseeing federal lands once advocated selling them | EPA lifts Obama-era block on controversial mine 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