Overnight Energy: Navajo coal plant to close | NC dam breach raises pollution fears | House panel to examine endangered species bills
Overnight Energy: Dems urge California governor to stop oil, gas extraction | Greens protest DNC reversal on fossil fuel donations | Probe finds booming US demand for imported giraffe parts
DEM LAWMAKERS URGE CALIFORNIA GOV TO END FOSSIL FUEL EXTRACTION: Two Democratic members of Congress are urging California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to put a cap on any new fossil fuel projects and set a timeline for a hard stop on oil and gas extraction throughout the state.
In a letter sent to Brown on Wednesday, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) asked him to end all fossil fuel production in the Golden State as part of the governor's commitment to "driving transformational change."
The lawmakers mentioned threats of climate change, increased air pollution and impacts to low-income communities in their reasoning for the sweeping request.
"We regularly hear from constituents about the tremendous burdens that fossil fuel production places on our communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color. California is home to some of the country's most polluted air basins," Khanna and Lee wrote in the letter.
"The pollution from oil and gas field operations and refinery facilities is a major contributor to the array of air quality related health problems that hurt our most overburdened communities."
The lawmakers referenced a 2015 oil spill and a 2012 refinery explosion as examples of threats the fossil fuel production brought to the state.
"Ending the issuance of new permits for fossil fuel development and infrastructure will establish the standard for climate policy worldwide," the lawmakers wrote. "Ending permits for new wells and enacting a health and safety buffer could keep 660 million barrels of oil, equivalent to 425 million metric tons of carbon pollution, in the ground through 2030."
Read more here.
Happy Thursday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS PROTEST DNC REVERSAL ON FOSSIL FUEL DONATIONS: A group of environmentalists, Bernie Sanders supporters and progressives is urging the Democratic National Committee to reverse its decision to allow donations from the fossil fuel industry.
In a letter Thursday, 20 groups and 1,000 petition signers told DNC Chairman Tom Perez that they were "alarmed and dismayed" at the committee's decision to reverse a prior stance that it would not accept donations from fossil fuel corporate PACs.
Groups who signed the letter include Greenpeace, 350 Action and People for Bernie.
"As you can surely understand, we were alarmed and dismayed to see the DNC reverse course after only two months," the letter read. "Taking a stand against the campaign contributions of fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, front-groups, and political action committees corrupting our democracy is a basic test of progressive leadership."
The DNC in early August overwhelmingly passed a resolution reversing its prior ban on donations from oil, gas and coal industries.
The resolution, sponsored by Perez on Friday, allows the committee to accept contributions from "workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions' or employers' political action committees."
Read more here.
INVESTIGATION FINDS STRONG US DEMAND FOR IMPORTED GIRAFFE PARTS: The U.S. market for imported giraffe parts is booming, according to an investigative report published Thursday.
More than 40,000 giraffe parts were imported to the country between 2006 and 2015, and a number of those so-called trophies are being sold unregulated at stores across the U.S., the Humane Society said in a new report published with Humane Society International.
The most commonly found giraffe products for sale include giraffe hide cowboy boots, knives made from the animal's bones and giraffe skin throw pillows, according to the investigation that found parts for sale at more than 52 U.S. stores.
Giraffes are not on the endangered species list, meaning imports of giraffe parts are not regulated the same way as African lions or elephants.
"Purchasing giraffe parts puts the entire species at risk," Kitty Block, Humane Society president, said in a statement. "The giraffe is going quietly extinct. With the wild population at just under 100,000, there are now fewer than one third the number of giraffes in Africa than elephants."
The Humane Society has long lobbied for the inclusion of giraffes under the Endangered Species Act, petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 2017 to add the animal to the list as its numbers in the wild dwindle.
The market for items made from giraffes across the country includes pricey items ranging from $8,000 for an entire giraffe taxidermy to $400 for a giraffe leather Bible cover, the group's investigation found.
A report by animals rights group Friends of Animals released last month found that more than three dozens permits to import lion trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia were issued since 2017.
Read more here.
FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:
Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argues that the EPA's new rule replacing the Clean Power Plan ends Obama's war on coal.
Kyle Isakower, vice president for Regulatory & Economic Policy at the American Petroleum Institute, writes that Congress needs to make sure sanctions to punish Russia for election interference don't hurt U.S. energy companies.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
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-Big oil asks government to protect its Texas facilities from climate change
-Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials recommend people "bearproof" their homes
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out stories from Thursday...
-Strong US demand for imported giraffe parts, investigation finds
-Kroger to stop using plastic bags by 2025
-Dem lawmakers urge California governor to end fossil fuel extraction
-Trump declares state of emergency in Hawaii ahead of hurricane