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 FrelinghuysenRepublican lobbying firms riding high despite uncertainty of 2020 race Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 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 ScaliseSanders, socialism emerge as top targets at CPAC The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders top target at CPAC House passes historic legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime 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 CurbeloRepublicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea Progressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign The Memo: Bad polls for Trump shake GOP MORE (Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' This week: Trump's budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill House approves pro-union labor bill MORE (Pa.), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthOvernight Defense: House passes bills to rein in Trump on Iran | Pentagon seeks Iraq's permission to deploy missile defenses | Roberts refuses to read Paul question on whistleblower during impeachment trial Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation House votes to rein in Trump's military authority MORE (Ind.), Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveThe biggest political upsets of the decade Former GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets have to stop Congressional Women's Softball team releases roster MORE (Utah), Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyOvernight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides 2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week MORE (Fla.) and Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenEx-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR 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 MurphyGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Sanders under fire from Democrats over praise for Castro regime The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats reckon with Sanders's rise 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 CostellloFormer GOP Rep. Costello launches lobbying shop Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts Lobbying world MORE (R-Pa.) and Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico governor warns sheriffs they must enforce new red flag gun law or resign Capitol Christmas tree lights up Washington Here are 16 places celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time this year 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 MarchantGun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 Gaetz filing ethics complaint against Pelosi for 'destroying' Trump speech House GOP wants Senate Republicans to do more on impeachment 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