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Overnight Energy: Judge revives clean water rule | Keystone XL pipeline to get new environmental review | Nominee won't say if he backs funding agency

Overnight Energy: Judge revives clean water rule | Keystone XL pipeline to get new environmental review | Nominee won't say if he backs funding agency

JUDGE RULES AGAINST TRUMP ATTEMPT TO DELAY WATER RULE: A U.S. district court federal judge issued a ruling Thursday that overturns the Trump administration's delay to implementing the Clean Water Rule.

The decision put a nationwide injunction on the administration's suspension rule, reinstating the Obama-era rule--known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS)--in 26 states.

The United States District Court in South Carolina ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not followed the rulemaking procedures by failing to give an adequate public notice and comment period as stipulated under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

"As administrations change, so do regulatory priorities. But the requirements of the APA remain the same. The court finds that the government failed to comply with these requirements in implementing the Suspension Rule," the court wrote.

The remaining 24 states were previously granted the ability by a federal judge to get out of the water rule regulations.

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.

 

TRUMP OFFICIALS ORDERED TO DO NEW KEYSTONE REVIEW: A federal judge has ordered the government to conduct a full environmental review of a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline in a blow for the Trump administration.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris in Montana made the ruling late Wednesday in favor of the Indigenous Environmental Network and other groups challenging the pipeline.

The decision is likely to delay the project, which was proposed more than 10 years ago.

Morris found that the State Department must prepare a new environmental impact statement (EIS) to reflect Nebraska regulators' November 2017 decision to reject TransCanada Corp.'s preferred route through the state, and instead approve an alternative.

The State Department, under President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE, approved the preferred route in March 2017.

"The Mainline Alternative route differs from the route analyzed in the EIS. The Mainline Alternative route crosses five different counties. The Mainline Alternative route crosses different water bodies. The Mainline Alternative route would be longer. The Mainline Alternative route would require an additional pump station and accompanying power line infrastructure," wrote Morris, who was nominated to the bench by former President Obama.

"Federal defendants cannot escape their responsibility under [the National Environmental Policy Act] to evaluate the Mainline Alternative route," he continued, writing that State has "the obligation to analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision."

Representatives for State and TransCanada declined to comment Thursday, beyond saying that they were reviewing the decision.

Read more.

 

ENERGY AGENCY PICK WON'T SAY IF HE SUPPORTS FUNDING AGENCY: A Trump administration nominee selected to run a science-based agency within the Department of Energy dodged questions on Thursday as to whether he supports funding the office.

Lane Genatowski told members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his confirmation hearing that he would be happy to lead the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and put his "oar in the water" there, if the agency were indeed funded.

He added, however, that he supports President Trump's budget.

Trump proposed to zero out the entire program in both of the White House's 2018 and 2019 fiscal year budgets.

Senators on both sides of the aisle were eager to point out the discrepancy, with some attempting to pigeonhole Genatowski into commenting on whether he agreed with Trump's decision.

"You said you support the president's budget -- then why are you sitting here?" asked Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel People have forgotten 'facade' of independent politicians, says GOP strategist Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight MORE (I-Maine). "The president's budget supports zeroing out ARPA-E. You can't be two people."

Genatowski disagreed, but acknowledged the dichotomy.

"In my mind, I could hold both concepts and they wouldn't be inconsistent. If Congress votes to appropriate money and authorizes money to be appropriated to ARPA-E, and the president signs the bill, there would be a budget to run ARPA-E and I would like to run it," he told the committee.

Read more.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Smoke from California's wildfires has now reached the East Coast, the Washington Post reports.

The United Kingdom's government is expected to detail plans this week to phase out the use of coal for home heating, the Guardian reports.

California Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) proposed Delta Tunnels project is now estimated to cost nearly $20 billion, a 22 percent increase from last year's estimate, the Sacramento Bee reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Judge rules against Trump attempt to delay Obama water rule

-Trump nominee won't say if he supports funding agency he was selected to run

-Watchdog closes probe into alleged censorship of Park Service climate report

-Judge orders new environmental review of Keystone pipeline