Overnight Energy: Supreme Court to rehear Alaska moose hunter case | Greens to sue Trump's Chicago hotel | EPA stops having press aide review grants

Overnight Energy: Supreme Court to rehear Alaska moose hunter case | Greens to sue Trump's Chicago hotel | EPA stops having press aide review grants
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JUSTICES TO REHEAR CASE ABOUT MOOSE HUNTER, HOVERCRAFT: The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rehear the case of an Alaskan man who sued the National Park Service (NPS) after being removed from a river for using a hovercraft to hunt moose.

The case brought by John Sturgeon against NPS in 2011 after he was removed from Alaska's Nation River in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve is coming in front of the Supreme Court for a second time after the court in 2016 rejected a lower court's reasoning against him. On re-hearing the case last fall, the Ninth Circuit once again ruled against Sturgeon, arguing that the NPS has the authority to determine how to preserve and protect the river.

The case will determine the federal government's right to ban hovercrafts from national parks, even in areas where the state itself does not ban the use of the vehicle. NPS overall bans the use of hovercraft due to noise concerns and fear of damage to the surrounding ecosystems.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Budowsky: Kavanaugh and the rights of women Key GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand MORE (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Senate Natural Resources committee, welcomed the lawsuit saying in a statement that she hoped it would determine that Alaskans have a right to determine their own land usages.

We've got more on the case here.

 

Happy Monday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

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.

 

GREENS TO SUE CHICAGO'S TRUMP HOTEL: Two environmental groups plan to sue the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago citing, clean water violations directly in breach of a key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule.

The Chicago chapter of the Sierra Club and the Friends of the Chicago River on Monday submitted an intent to sue, alleging that the hotel's use of a cooling water intake structure that siphons water from the Chicago River was in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The group argues in its intent to sue that the hotel ownership failed to undertake necessary tests to determine how to minimize damage to aquatic life from its water intake system -- an action mandated under the law. It raises concerns that the system likely "traps and kills fish and other wildlife" in this method.

"Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE has repeatedly said 'we want crystal-clean water, and we want clean air -- the cleanest ever' but his hotel has been negatively impacting the Chicago River for years," said Jack Darin, chapter director of the Sierra Club in a statement.

The groups say the intake is a threat to recreation and to native fish species.

A joint venture between environmental groups and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has helped to reintroduce hundreds of thousands of native fish to the Chicago River since 2014 in an attempt to clean up and balance the river's ecosystem. The initiative cost nearly $500,000. It is those fish the group is most concerned about being harmed.

More on the lawsuit here.

 

EPA WON'T HAVE PRESS OFFICE REVIEW GRANTS: The EPA rescinded a policy last month that had a political appointee in the press office review the agency's grants before they could be approved.

The EPA replaced the controversial policy with a new system in which relevant regional administrators or assistant administrators -- most of whom are also political appointees -- will review and approve grants.

"EPA awards about $4 billion in grants annually and the Trump EPA is committed to being good stewards of the taxpayers huge investment in our agency by reviewing every grant award and solicitation," a spokesman said.

"Now that all of our regional administrators and most of our program AAs are in place, we have shifted the responsibility to these leaders to review and manage the grants that flow through their respective offices."

The new memo was first reported Monday by E&E News.

Background: The political review process was instituted last year by EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE as an attempt to ensure that grant funds coming from the agency reflected the Trump administration's policies.

John Konkus, a senior aide in the public affairs office and former Trump campaign official, was tasked with reviewing every grant before it went out, as well as grant solicitations.

The system was widely criticized by Democrats and environmentalists who argued that Konkus wasn't qualified to review grants, and the process would overly politicize grantmaking.

Read more.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Groundwater quality in Pennsylvania's Bradford County is improving despite the natural gas fracking boom, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports.

Paint products maker Sherwin-Williams is planning to completely phase out the use of the paint-stripping chemical methylene chloride, Cleveland.com reports.

German authorities arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler as part of they're ongoing investigation into the diesel emissions scandal, CNNMoney reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and over the weekend ...

-EPA stops policy of having press aide review grants

-Greens to sue Chicago Trump International, citing environmental rule breach

-White House thought Pruitt's climate idea was 'out of control'

-Pruitt's new problem with the GOP: Ethanol

-Harvard scientists: Trump environmental policies could result in 80,000 more deaths per decade