Overnight Energy — Presented by Chevron — GOP lawmaker says Pruitt should step down | EPA launches smog standard review | Chairman warns of Chinese threat using environmental laws

Overnight Energy — Presented by Chevron — GOP lawmaker says Pruitt should step down | EPA launches smog standard review | Chairman warns of Chinese threat using environmental laws
© Greg Nash

HOUSE REPUBLICAN WANTS PRUITT OUT: Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act This week: House to vote on bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination MORE (R-Pa.) joined a handful of his GOP colleagues Monday in calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Overnight Energy: Democrats push EPA to collect 4K in 'excessive' Pruitt travel expenses | Greens angered over new rules for rocket fuel chemical | Inslee to join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas Democrats push EPA to collect 4K from Pruitt for 'excessive airfare expenses' MORE to step down.

"Yes, I do," Fitzpatrick said at a news conference Monday in Horsham, Pa., when asked if he thinks Pruitt needs to resign.

"My standard for calling for resignations is an [inspector general] report, an IG study, finding some facts, conclusions of law. And there's way too much stuff now," he continued, according to video recorded by activist environmental group Friends of the Earth.

Fitzpatrick said he made his call due to Pruitt's spending and ethics scandals. But he also said "exhibit A" in the case against Pruitt is a study that the EPA allegedly tried to block from public release into the health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of man-made chemicals that have been found in drinking water sources lately.

In an email made public last month, an unidentified administration official said the PFAS study drafted by a Department of Health and Human Services agency would be a "public relations nightmare" because it would show health harms at a much lower exposure rate than the EPA had previous estimated.

The congressman and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) called their news conference Monday near a military base in suburban Philadelphia where firefighting chemicals containing PFAS have leached into local water supplies.

Fitzpatrick, a freshman, is facing a tough reelection battle this year in a race that election watchers like the Cook Political Report have declared a "toss-up."

A small club: Despite the growing scandals over the past few months, only four other GOP lawmakers have openly said they want Pruitt out: Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDisinvited GOP lawmaker turns up at Dem hearing Overnight Energy: 2020 rivals rip Biden over expected 'middle ground' climate plan | Dems cancel plans to invite Republican to testify on climate change | House passes .2B disaster aid bill over Trump objections Dems cancel plans to bring in Republican as climate change witness MORE (Fla.), Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Ex-GOP Rep. Denham heads to lobbying firm K Street boom extends under Trump, House Dems MORE (Fla.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikHillicon Valley: Lawmakers seek 'time out' on facial recognition tech | DHS asks cybersecurity staff to volunteer for border help | Judge rules Qualcomm broke antitrust law | Bill calls for 5G national security strategy Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Here are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act MORE (N.Y.) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority LoBiondo launches consulting firm MORE (N.J.).

What it means: As long as the Republican voices calling for Pruitt's ouster are a small minority, he isn't likely to sweat it. Only Trump's opinion matters, and the president has repeatedly made it clear that he has Pruitt's back.

Read more.

 

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.

 

 

IT'S OZONE TIME: The EPA is kicking off the process of reviewing the nation's ground-level ozone pollution standard, a project likely to take years.

In a notice due for publication in the Federal Register Tuesday, the EPA says it's taking comments from the public to prepare initial documents for the review. Those documents will lay out the plan for the review process and the scientific literature on ozone, a component of smog.

The review will take place under new standards that President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE set in an April memo. He instructed the EPA, when setting new air quality rules, to consider factors like "adverse public health or other effects that may result from implementation" of the rules and the extent to which areas have background levels of the pollutants that aren't caused by human activity.

Both factors have long been pushed by industry in an attempt to get more lenient air pollution standards written.

Inhaling ozone is linked to respiratory ailments like asthma attacks. Since ozone can be created from pollutants caused by burning fossil fuels, states with areas that exceed the federal standard often look to reduce fossil fuel use, an often-expensive proposition.

The EPA last set a new ozone standard in 2015, declaring that 70 parts per billion is the acceptable level for ambient air.

Read more.

 

BISHOP SAYS CHINESE COULD USE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AGAINST MILITARY: House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopDozens of states consider move to permanent daylight saving time Statehood bill could make Puerto Rico a state before 2020 Here's why Congress, not the president, should lead on environmental protection MORE (R-Utah) said Monday that China's government may be using United States environmental laws to thwart the military.

Bishop, speaking Monday on Hill.TV's "Rising," said potential Chinese actions to undermine the military are one of the main focuses of a series of investigations his panel recently launched into U.S.-based environmental groups.

"There is obviously a great deal of concerns," Bishop told host Buck Sexton, adding that some of the green groups "are claiming that they're suing the government once every 10 days."

"Last time I was in the Pacific in some of our territories, we had a briefing from some of the military that simply said the Chinese know our environmental laws and they use them against us," Bishop continued.

"We're trying to explore how deep that actually goes, whether it's something done on purpose or something just by serendipity. But we're trying to see where that takes us," he said.

Bishop and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) launched the project earlier this month with a letter demanding certain documents and answers from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the dominant U.S. group in environmental lobbying.

NRDC fires back: The group denied that it is working on China's behalf.

"NRDC's work, in the United States and elsewhere, serves the public interest. It is directed by our senior leadership and policy experts, accountable to our independent board of trustees and supported by millions of Americans," Bob Deans, the group's director of strategic engagement, said in a statement after Bishop sent his initial letter. "Any suggestion to the contrary is just false."

Read more.

 

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ON TAP TUESDAY:

The World Gas Conference will kick off. Major speakers Tuesday include Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Another VPOTUS tries for POTUS: What does history tell us? MORE, Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Darren Woods, Chevron Corp. CEO Michael Wirth and Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyBipartisan senators reveal sweeping health care package Senate passes bill to undo tax increase on Gold Star military families Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag MORE (R-La.).

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to consider four nominees for Energy Department positions.

The House Natural Resources Committee's energy and mineral resources subcommittee will hold a hearing on three bills meant to help develop offshore wind energy.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's energy subcommittee will hold a hearing on the geopolitics of oil and natural gas.

The House Oversight Committee's Interior subcommittee will hold a hearing on Forest Service road closures.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Signs regarding the mysterious spike in chlorofluorocarbon emissions point to a rural town in China, The New York Times reports.

Australia is on track to miss its greenhouse gas emissions target under the Paris agreement, the Guardian reports.

Wastewater from Vermont breweries is adding to Lake Champlain's pollution problems, the Associated Press reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and the weekend ...

- House Republican says Pruitt should resign

- EPA to consider changes to smog standard

- Emails indicate Pruitt tried to recruit oil execs for EPA jobs

- Oceanic agency head floats removing climate from mission

- GOP chairman takes aim at environmental review law

- GOP chairman: Chinese may use US environmental laws to undermine military

- Pruitt's office discussed hiring friend of his landlord: report

- Five things to know about efforts to repeal Obama's water rule

- Seattle plastic straw ban to take effect next month