Overnight Energy — Presented by the American Forest & Paper Association — Watchdog finds DOE broke law with anti-ObamaCare tweet | Trump 'very close' to ethanol waiver

Overnight Energy — Presented by the American Forest & Paper Association — Watchdog finds DOE broke law with anti-ObamaCare tweet | Trump 'very close' to ethanol waiver
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WATCHDOG FINDS TWEET BROKE THE LAW: A congressional watchdog agency found Thursday that the Department of Energy violated the law last year with a negative tweet about ObamaCare.

The report from the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, finds that the Department of Energy violated the law because its funding is not directed to be used for health-care messaging.

The tweet in question, from last July, linked to an anti-ObamaCare opinion piece by Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch MORE, stating, "Time to discard the burdens and costs of Obamacare: @SecretaryPerry."

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The agency deleted the tweet later in the day.

"We find that Energy violated the purpose statute when it tweeted about the Secretary's column because Energy did not show that its appropriation is available for the purpose of informing the public about health care legislation," the GAO report states.   

Read more here.

 

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.

 

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TRUMP 'VERY CLOSE' TO E15 WAIVER: President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE said Thursday that his administration is "very close" to implementing a policy that would allow higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline during certain months.

The ethanol industry has long pushed for a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would allow fuel stations to sell gasoline with 15 percent ethanol during the summer months. Currently, EPA prohibits such sales in warm months due to concerns about air pollution.

"I'm very close, I have to tell you, to pulling off something that you've been looking forward to for many years, and that's the 12-month E15 waiver. Very close to doing that. It's a very complex process," he said Thursday during an agriculture event in Iowa.

"I stuck with ethanol, most of the other candidates weren't there," Trump continued, referring to his commitment throughout the 2016 presidential campaign to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Read more.

 

COURT BANS FISH IMPORTS FROM MEXICO TO HELP ENDANGERED PORPOISE: A trade court Thursday ordered the Trump administration to implement a ban on seafood imports from Mexico caught with a method tied to harming an endangered porpoise species.

The United States Court of International Trade ruled that the government must ban Mexican imports of seafood caught using gillnets, a fishing technique that has been found to injure and kill the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.

Scientists believe there are only 15 vaquitas left in the wild, which could leave the species extinct by 2021.

The court denied the Trump administration's motion to dismiss the case, writing, "Evidence shows that vaquita are killed by gillnet fishing and are on the verge of extinction: because the statutory duty to ban fish imports resulting in such excessive marine mammal bycatch is mandatory, the Government must comply with it."

Gillnets are a type of fishing net that is hung in the water to catch passing-by seafood.

The case brought by three conservation groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare Institute, against the Department of Commerce argues that it is the U.S. government's duty to enact a ban on Mexican seafood imports under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the vaquita, the smallest species of porpoise.

Read more here.

 

FROM THE OPINION SECTION:

Eric Rosenbach, co-director of the Belfer Center on Science and International Affairs at Harvard, argues the president's cyber threats are being used to prop up coal.

Mike Carr, executive director of New Energy America, makes the argument that the recently proposed carbon tax is half baked.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

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Marc Edwards, the engineering professor central to research involving the Flint water crisis, is suing environmental activists for $3 million, accusing them of defamation, BuzzFeed News reports.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the Brexit presents an opportunity for a new farming policy, include new environmental measures for agriculture, ITV News reports.

Royal Dutch Shell kicked off oil company earnings announcements for the second quarter Thursday with news of a 30 percent increase in net profit, CNBC reports.

 

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Trump 'very close' to allowing higher ethanol content in gasoline

-Actress Diane Lane urges lawmakers to ban shark fin trade

-Congressional watchdog finds Energy Dept. violated law with anti-ObamaCare tweet

-Court grants ban of fish imports from Mexico caught with nets that hurt endangered porpoise

-Perry seeks to reassure allies about Trump trade moves

-Walt Disney Company plans to eliminate plastic straws by mid-2019

-Dems reverse course on White House parks plan