Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: What to know about Trump’s new coal power plan | Trump team reverses on selling public lands | Walmart joins retailers banning chemical in paint thinners

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TRUMP’S NEW COAL POWER PLAN: The Trump administration on Tuesday is expected to roll out its alternative to a capstone Obama-era coal pollution rule, which critics fear will significantly weaken efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The new rule would give coal-burning plants and states more leeway in determining pollution controls. In some instances, coal plants wouldn’t even need to meet the forthcoming standards.


President Trump has promised since the campaign trail to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The drafts leaked last week offered the first glimpse of his plan to revise President Obama’s ambitious climate regulation that, coupled with the Paris Climate Accord, was meant to make the U.S. a global leader in the fight against carbon emissions. Trump announced in June 2017 that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement.

Here are five things to know about the anticipated new rule and its potential effects on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Trump is expected to announce his plan in coal country.
  2. Coal companies could stay in business longer.
  3. States would get more control.
  4. Climate change is de-emphasized.
  5. Courts will likely have the final say.

Get more specifics here.


Happy Monday! 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 REVERSE COURSE ON SELLING PUBLIC LANDS: The Trump administration is taking any plans to sell federal land from the reduced boundaries of Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante off the table.

Interior Department deputy Secretary David Bernhardt officially reversed course in a memo sent Friday to Brian Steed, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) deputy director for policy and programs, obtained by The Hill.

Bernhardt in the memo blocks part of BLM’s management plan, released two days earlier, that identified acres of public land that could be sold off privately.

The targeted 1,600 acres for “disposal” come from the 900,000 acres that President Trump removed from the Grand Staircase Escalante monument in December.

“Earlier this week, the Bureau of Land Management, released Draft Resource Management Plans and an Environmental Impact Statement (draft) for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and for the federal lands previous included in the GSENM,” Bernhard wrote in the memo dated August 17.

“Because the current draft is inconsistent with departmental policy, I am directly BLM to modify the draft so that it does not include any preferred alternative that identifies federal lands for possible disposal.”

Read more here.

See the memo here.


WALMART JOINS STORES BANNING CHEMICALS FOUND IN PAINT STRIPPER: Walmart is joining the growing list of retailers that are banning paint strippers that contain two controversial chemicals tied to cancer.

The chain announced Monday that it will no longer sell products carrying paint strippers that contain methylene chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) starting in February.

The decision follows in the footsteps of retailers Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherman Williams, which all announced a similar move this year.

The chemicals in question, commonly found in paint thinners and metal cleaning products, can affect the central nervous systems of those in contact with them. Long exposure can at times lead to liver cancer. The chemical has been linked to dozens of deaths.

The removal of the products will cover all of Walmart’s stores in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Central America.

“At Walmart, we are committed to providing our customers with access to affordable, effective and more sustainable products. We will continue to work with suppliers, NGOs, academics, government and industry stakeholders as we advance our sustainable chemistry commitments,” Zach Freeze, senior director of strategic initiatives for sustainability at Walmart, said in a statement.

Read more here.



The Trump administration is expected to roll out an alternative plan to the Obama rule on coal fired power plants. President Trump is expected to promote the plan during a rally he’s holding in Charleston, W.Va.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a 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.



-Four wolf pups found dead on public land in Wyoming.

-Feds agree to shrink flood zone borders in Newport Beach, Calif.



Check out stories from Monday and over the weekend…

-Trump officials reverse course on selling public lands

-Five things to know about Trump’s new coal power plan

-Pruitt made one phone call to White House using $43K soundproof booth

-Walmart becomes latest retailer to ban chemicals found in paint strippers

-Australian prime minister abandons climate change targets

Tags Climate change Coal Donald Trump emissions EPA Grand Staircase Escalante Interior paint thinner power plant Science Utah

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