COURT TOSSES EPA'S DELAY OF OBAMA CHEMICAL PLANT RULE: A federal court Friday threw out the Trump administration's attempt to delay a chemical plant safety regulation written by the Obama administration.
In a major blow to the Trump administration, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Clean Air Act forbids the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from delaying the regulation's enforcement, as it tried to do in June 2017.
"Because EPA has not engaged in reasoned decisionmaking, its promulgation of the delay rule is arbitrary and capricious," the court wrote in its Friday opinion.
The judges said the EPA's action "makes a mockery of the statute" and that "there is no textual basis for EPA's current interpretation" of the law.
An EPA spokesman declined to comment on the ruling beyond saying that the agency is "reviewing" it.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D), one of the leading litigants opposing the Trump delay, cheered the court's decision.
"Again and again, the Trump EPA has tried to push through policies that jeopardize our health and fly in the face of the law -- and again and again, we've taken them to court and won," Underwood said in a statement.
"This decision is a major victory for New Yorkers' -- and Americans' -- health and safety, ensuring that the EPA cannot put special interests first and block common sense protections against toxic chemical accidents."
Court losses stacking up for EPA: Friday's ruling is just the latest in a string of court losses for former EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Trump-era EPA board member sues over firing EPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children MORE's deregulatory agenda.
On Thursday, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration's attempts to rollback another Obama-era rule. The District Court for the District of South Carolina ruled that the EPA had not followed the rulemaking procedures when it attempted to suspend the implementation of the Clean Water Rule also known as the Waters of the United States.
"As administrations change, so do regulatory priorities. But the requirements of the APA [Administrative Procedure Act] remain the same. The court finds that the government failed to comply with these requirements in implementing the Suspension Rule," the court wrote.
The decision put a nationwide injunction on the administration's suspension reinstating the rule in 26 states.
And last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt broke the law when he denied a petition to ban chlorpyrifos, a common pesticide linked to developmental and neurological disorders. That court ordered the EPA to ban the chemical within 60 days.
Why it matters: The Trump EPA has hit numerous roadblocks in its deregulatory agenda, including these, court rulings on methane and others. The federal judiciary could continue to be an impediment to the Trump agenda.
Or will it?: On the other hand, most of the court decisions against the EPA have been on administrative matters, including the chemical plant rule decision.
It will be a little while before the courts start weighing in on the substance of the EPA's rollbacks. For example, the EPA only proposed in May to repeal key parts of the chemical plant rule. That rollback has to be finalized before opponents can sue, and only then would the courts be able to judge it.
Happy end of the week! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.
DEM GOVERNOR: ZINKE WOULD 'SELL GRANDCHILDREN FOR THE OIL INDUSTRY': Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) slammed Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' MORE on Thursday, saying he is in the pocket of the oil and gas industry and would "sell his grandchildren for the oil industry."
Speaking at an event, Inslee took issue with Zinke's recent tour of California where the secretary visited neighborhoods struck by recent wildfires and told reporters "this is not a debate about climate change."
Inslee, whose state has faced similar wildfire threats, said Zinke "would flunk any science test that these kids take," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
"With climate change you have a hotter, drier climate, Mr. Zinke. You have fires. What is there about this that you cannot comprehend ... This man works for us. We do not pay him to give us false information. We get enough of that from the President," Inslee said.
He added: "That man (Zinke) would sell his grandchildren for the oil industry... We have just seen the beginning of the firestorm."
An Interior spokesperson called the remarks unprofessional and "sad."
"Bringing up the Secretary's granddaughters in a half-baked interview in order to get a couple headlines is outrageously pathetic and sad," said Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift.
Read more here.
Where this is coming from: Zinke toured California along with Department of Agriculture head Sonny PerdueSonny PerdueOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court rules that pipeline can seize land from New Jersey | Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development | Kevin McCarthy sets up task forces on climate, other issues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results Civil war between MAGA, GOP establishment could hand Dems total control MORE last weekend, meeting with fire chiefs and local representatives. During a number of interviews, Zinke pushed the need for greater forest management and likened the environmentalists who opposed logging and other brush clearing measures to "terrorist groups."
ON TAP NEXT WEEK: The House is still on August recess, but the Senate will still be in town next week.
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee is planning a Tuesday hearing on the energy efficiency of blockchain and similar technologies. It comes amid explosive growth of cryptocurrencies and other technologies that use blockchain, as well as concerns about how much energy it uses.
The Energy Committee is also planning a Wednesday hearing in its public lands subcommittee on 14 bills within that panel's jurisdiction.
We'll have our eyes out as well for potential movement on the EPA's replacement proposal for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. Reuters reported Thursday that the proposed rule is likely to be unveiled next week.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
Brazil's agriculture minister said banning glyphosate there would be a "disaster" for the country's farming industry, Reuters reports.
Oil prices are on track for their longest downward streak since 2015, Bloomberg reports.
Biologists will soon start a project of capturing bears in Yellowstone National Park to put tracking collars on them for research, National Parks Traveler reports.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out Friday's stories ...
-Washington governor says Zinke would 'sell his grandchildren for the oil industry'
-Court throws out EPA delay of Obama chemical plant safety rule