Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law

Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law
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HOUSE TO VOTE ON ANTI-CARBON-TAX RESOLUTION: The House is set to vote as soon as next week on a measure that would condemn the idea of a carbon tax.

The resolution, introduced by House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' MORE (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleySuper PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias at hearing Live coverage: Social media execs face grilling on Capitol Hill MORE (R-W.Va.) in April, would express the "sense of Congress" that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions "would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States."

House GOP leaders posted the measure Friday on a list of proposals due for consideration by the full House next week.

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The non-binding measure mirrors one passed in 2016, shortly before the presidential election.

In introducing the resolution in April, Scalise said it "would yet again put Congress on record against a carbon tax, which would result in massive job losses, lead to higher prices for American families and small businesses, and jeopardize America's energy security."

Why it matters: Since the 2016 resolution, there have been more efforts to convince Republicans that a carbon tax is a good idea.

They include a "carbon dividends" proposal backed by prominent Republicans like former Secretary of State James Baker, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

That proposal's backers started pushing the idea last year, including in a meeting with White House aides to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE. Under their idea, all of the money collected would return to the economy through tax breaks or other means.

In addition, some conservative scholars support a carbon tax, as do major oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell.

Read more.

 

TGIF! 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.

 

TOP DEM: EPA LEADERS VETTED CERTAIN FOIA REQUESTS: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials have put some "politically charged" public information requests through a more complex review process, according to a top House Democrat.

Ryan Jackson, chief of staff to both former 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 and current acting head Andrew Wheeler, told congressional investigators in an interview last month that "politically charged" or "complex" requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would get an extra layer of review before being fulfilled, likely delaying the documents.

Jackson said a wide-ranging request from the Sierra Club was one such request that got more attention.

"The request was -- I can't remember the original request, but the request was 'we would like to get all of the emails sent by, or maybe received by, but definitely sent by this group of people since they began working at EPA.' So, that's pretty much a fishing expedition," Jackson said, according to snippets that Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsRep. Cummings: Will Kavanaugh take lie detector test and ask for FBI investigation? Graham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests MORE (Md.), top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put in a letter to Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe MORE (S-S.C.), seeking a subpoena for EPA.

Jackson said the green group's request got more scrutiny because it wasn't a proper FOIA request.

"There was no reason for it. There was no topic. It was just a fishing expedition," he said of the request. "And so when I say it's 'politically charged,' there's no real FOIA, you know, Freedom of Information Act reason for it, it is just simply submitted to us to see what we will produce."

Jackson also said some requests were reviewed by the subjects themselves before they were released, and that some releases were delayed so they would coincide with similar releases.

Why it's important: The new information adds to previous accusations from Democrats and others that the EPA has sought to slow walk or otherwise block requests for agency documents under FOIA. Democrats have said that Trump administration officials are trying to hide their activities.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK: Beyond the carbon tax vote, it's going to be a busy time on Capitol Hill next week.

Before that vote, the House is due to vote on an appropriations package that includes the funding measures for the Interior Department and EPA. The measure would modestly cut both agencies' funding, giving Interior $13 billion and EPA $8 billion.

On Tuesday, the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee will consider controversial amendments meant to change key provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) -- a decades old law that Republicans have increasingly challenged as too restrictive to industry.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump privately calls Mattis ‘Moderate Dog’: report Push to change wildlife act sparks lobbying blitz House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill MORE (R-Wyo.), the panel's chairman, unveiled the legislation earlier this month. Its aim is to overhaul how the federal government helps endangered species recover, including giving states and localities new roles in crafting recovery plans.

Simultaneously the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be discussing the Interior Department's final list of critical minerals for 2018. The topic is contentious, due in part to Interior's decision to list uranium as a critical mineral, to the objection of Democrats.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeMontana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Overnight Energy: Navajo coal plant to close | NC dam breach raises pollution fears | House panel to examine endangered species bills Navajo-owned coal plant to be shut down despite Interior push to keep open MORE along with committee Chair Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski says she’ll wait until Ford testifies before making decision on Kavanaugh Alaska gov, lieutenant gov come out against Kavanaugh The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh MORE (R-Alaska) have been pushing the need for more critical mineral mining across the U.S. Many of those minerals, including uranium, are found in and near national parks and monuments including the Grand Canyon -- a reality that has left many environmental groups fearful that the protected regions could be at risk.

The Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee will again weigh into another heated debate related to the Interior Department on Thursday, discussing a reorganization plan led by Zinke.

Zinke has made a number of proposals related to restructuring the agency, mainly surrounding the idea that land management agencies should be organized by geographic features like watersheds. He also wants to move more personnel out of Washington, D.C., and to the West.

The committee will also be discussing similar administration modernization proposals for the Department of Energy.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Flash flooding has spurred evacuations in a remote area of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA Today reports.

Five of the seven members of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's board quit following the departure of Rafael Diaz-Granados one day after he was named CEO, Reuters reports.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) to prosecute manufacturer 3M over harmful chemicals it has produced, the Detroit News reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-House to vote on measure denouncing carbon tax

-Apple launches $300 million clean energy fund in China

-Top Dem: EPA slowed 'politically charged' FOIA requests

-Majority of registered voters say Pruitt 'conducted himself inappropriately' at EPA: poll