Overnight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax

Overnight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax
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INTERIOR RULE WOULD ROLLBACK ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTIONS: The Trump administration is proposing significant changes to the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act (ESA), saying they are a needed modernization of decades-old regulations, but wildlife groups say the changes will put endangered animals and plants at risk.

The proposal would make it easier to delist an endangered species and would withdraw a policy that offered the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species unless otherwise specified.

It would streamline interagency consultations and make it more difficult to protect habitat near land where endangered species live.

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The proposed rules also include an interpretation that a species considered endangered would be protected for a "foreseeable future" that extends "only as far" as it can be reasonably determined that "both the future threats and the species' responses to those threats are probable."

In a call with stakeholders on Thursday, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Deputy Director Greg Sheehan called the proposal a way of "providing clarity."

He said the changes would help the agency meet the Endangered Species Act's main goal of "species recovery" so that animals and plants could more easily be removed from endangered and threatened species lists.

The move to change the act reflects demands from industry groups and landowners who frequently challenge endangered species protections as overbearing and unsuccessful. Critics of the law have argued that only 3 percent of all species placed on the endangered list have ever been delisted.

Read more here.

And if you want to read more about other Endangered Species Act rollbacks...

 

Happy Thursday! 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.

 

HOUSE PASSES 'MINIBUS' APPROPRIATIONS BILL: The House on Thursday passed a package of two 2019 appropriations bills, marking the halfway point in its quest to pass the 12 annual spending bills needed to fund the government.

Totaling $58.7 billion, the Financial Services bill and the Interior and Environment bills fund agencies including the IRS and various financial regulators, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Interior Department and a series of popular arts programs.

The bill passed mostly along party lines, in a vote of 217-199.

Fifteen Republicans joined every Democrat in voting against the measure, including several conservatives protesting the spending levels.

"These bills fund vital programs across the federal government, including those that make Americans safer, protect our nation's resources, and create jobs," Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenBottom line Republican lobbying firms riding high despite uncertainty of 2020 race Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm MORE (R-N.J.) said on the House floor.

The full Senate has not yet passed its versions of the bills but is expected to take them up next week, potentially alongside spending bills covering Agriculture and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

The two chambers have until Oct. 1 to pass all 12 appropriations bills, iron out the differences and send them to the president's desk for signature.

Why this is noteworthy: It's a feat Congress has been unable to accomplish on time in over two decades.

Read more here.

 

HOUSE VOTES TO DISAVOW CARBON TAX: The House passed a nonbinding measure Thursday to denounce a carbon tax, calling it "detrimental" to the United States.

The resolution, sponsored by House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOSHA faces big challenge with Biden vaccine mandate Overnight Health Care — Nicki Minaj stokes uproar over vaccines Republicans ask FDA for details on any White House pressure on boosters MORE (R-La.), states that a tax on emissions of carbon dioxide -- the most prevalent greenhouse gas that causes climate change -- "would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States."

It passed 229-180 with two members voting "present."

Six Republicans voted against the resolution: Reps. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDirect air capture is a crucial bipartisan climate policy Biden's corporate tax hike is bad for growth — try a carbon tax instead Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE (Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickAngelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators US Chamber of Commerce backs Democrats threatening to derail budget resolution Democrats play game of chicken over Biden agenda MORE (Pa.), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthGOP gambles with Pelosi in opposing Jan. 6 commission The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns MORE (Ind.), Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) Love'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections MORE (Utah), Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyGOP leader taking proxy voting fight to Supreme Court Pricing carbon can help solve the infrastructure funding dilemma Allies of GOP leader vow to oust Liz Cheney MORE (Fla.) and Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenHigh-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Bottom line Bottom line MORE (Fla.).

Seven Democrats broke with their caucus to vote "yes": Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Vicente González (Texas), Conor Lamb (Pa.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyConservative group targets Spanberger, Luria in new ads ahead of reconciliation bill Failed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden agenda MORE (Fla.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), who is running for the Senate.

Two lawmakers voted "present," indicating neither support nor opposition: Reps. Ryan CostelloRyan Anthony CostellloRep. Brendan Boyle decides against Pennsylvania Senate bid Pennsylvania's Democratic lt. governor files to run for Senate Bottom Line MORE (R-Pa.) and Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamHochul makes New York the 31st state to have had a female governor New Mexico indoor mask mandate returns with new vaccine requirements School districts impose mask mandates, defying GOP governors MORE (D-N.M.).

The risk of lawmakers passing a carbon tax is low, considering widespread GOP opposition and Republican control of both chambers of Congress and the White House.

But Republicans nonetheless felt it was important to make a statement to denounce the possibility.

"This resolution will send a clear signal to the American people that we oppose policies that would drive up energy prices for families and for businesses," Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantTexas House Democrat who fled state announces congressional bid Republican Van Duyne wins race for Texas House seat Cook Political Report shifts 8 more House races toward Democrats MORE (R-Texas) said Thursday on the House floor.

"A stand-alone carbon tax, generally, would have such detrimental effects on the economy and would be an unwarranted and transparent grab for revenue," he said.

Read more here.

And stay tuned for a bill from GOP Rep. Curbello Monday that would introduce a carbon tax...

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Saudi Aramco is looking to buy a stake in SABIC, the Saudi Arabian chemical company, Reuters reports.

Sediment levels in the Mississippi River are dropping, which could be bad for the Louisiana coast, the Times-Picayune reports.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is introducing a bill to set out a new 25-year plan for the environment, BBC News reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Thursday...

-Defense Department walks back opposition to sage grouse amendment

-US crude oil production hit record level in June

-EPA watchdog faults 'management weaknesses' in Flint water crisis

-Elon Musk asked Sierra Club to publicize his donations to stem criticism: report

-Trump administration introduces proposal to roll back Endangered Species Act protections

-House completes first half of 2019 spending bills

-House votes to disavow carbon tax