Overnight Energy: Court blocks Canadian oil pipeline | Greens seek order to prevent grizzly bear hunts | Toxic algae becomes issue in Florida Senate race

Overnight Energy: Court blocks Canadian oil pipeline | Greens seek order to prevent grizzly bear hunts | Toxic algae becomes issue in Florida Senate race
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COURT BLOCKS CANADIAN OIL PIPELINE: A Canadian court blocked a major oil pipeline project, ruling that the country's federal government didn't properly consider the impacts of the controversial C$7.4-billion, (U.S. $5.7 billion) 715-mile pipeline.

In a major blow for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party government, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned federal approval of Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project Thursday, effectively blocking it for the time being. The decision comes months after Trudeau agreed to buy the Trans Mountain expansion project in order to sell it to a new owner and rescue the project from its financial difficulties.

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The development is yet another result of a years-long effort across the United States and Canada by environmentalists and indigenous groups to block major oil and natural gas pipeline projects.

Similar to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, Trans Mountain brings oil from the booming oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to a market for sale or refining. The expansion project is meant to bring a new, parallel pipe to the existing one.

Specifically, Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote in the court's Thursday decision that the National Energy Board, which was responsible for reviewing the project prior to government approval, didn't properly account for oil tankers that would be brought to the Pacific coast of British Columbia to take the oil from the pipeline.

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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GREENS TO SEEK RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST GRIZZLY HUNTING: The Center for Biological Diversity is planning to file for a restraining order to stop grizzly bear hunts planned to start Saturday in Wyoming and Idaho.

Conservation groups and American Indian representatives argued before Montana federal Judge Dana Christensen Thursday that the Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the grizzly around Yellowstone National Park was improper, so the hunts need to be stopped.

But Christensen declined to rule immediately on the case, so the greens are seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) before Saturday.

"We're disappointed that we didn't get a ruling from the bench. We kind of thought we might, but it's understandable, there's a lot of issues he needs to decide," said Andrea Santarsiere, CBD's attorney in the case.

"We'll be asking the judge to hopefully rule on it by early tomorrow, and if we get an adverse ruling, we'll be appealing to the Ninth Circuit."

The hunts would be the first in the contiguous United States in more than four decades.

Greens say the Trump administration's judgment that the grizzly population had sufficiently recovered was flawed and the protections need to be reinstated. They also argue that the hunts would cause irreparable harm to the bears.

 

TOXIC ALGAE SEEPS INTO FLORIDA SENATE RACE: An alarming environmental phenomenon along Florida's Gulf Coast is seeping into the state's Senate race, and it may play a decisive role in the GOP's efforts to unseat the three-term Democratic incumbent.

A toxic green algae bloom in freshwater systems and a red algae tide in the Gulf Coast are spreading along the state's vast coastline, killing troves of fish and prompting emergency beach closures. Scientists say the uncontrolled growth of algae this summer is the worst in the Sunshine State's history.

The environmental issue that largely affects Florida's tourism and fishing industries has since become a top campaign issue for both candidates -- Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity Political shenanigans mask true problems in Puerto Rico The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R)  -- in what's expected to be the country's most expensive Senate race.

Why Republicans are also taking notice: Environmental issues are rarely a core component of Republican campaigns, but Florida's deep reliance on ecotourism industries has made the algae surge a key factor in Scott's election prospects.

While the two-term governor declared a state of emergency this month that allowed for $1.5 million in emergency funds to deal with the toxic algae, he still faces the challenge of proving he's environmentalist enough to tackle threats that largely stem from climate change.

"Florida Republicans have long been more environmentally conscious than Republicans in other places because people move here for the environmental assets," said Susan McManus, a Florida-based political analyst. "But the algae bloom has elevated the environment tremendously in Republican-rich Southwest Florida."

McManus said the challenge is for Scott to attract Democratic voters, many of whom voted for Nelson in the past, in a way that doesn't deter the Republican electorate.

Read more here.

 

FALL PREVIEW: Federal officials will be hard at work throughout the fall, moving forward with high-profile actions to implement President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE's agenda to dismantle major environmental regulations, boost fossil fuel production and streamline protections for endangered species.

Rather than follow the pattern of a typically slow August bookended by congressional recesses, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spent the month rolling out two highly anticipated proposals to undo major pieces of former President Obama's environmental legacy.

The new rules aim to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and vehicle emissions standards that determined future fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

Those are just two of the big issues on Washington's fall agenda. Click here for a primer on what The Hill will be watching in the months ahead.

 

THE HILL EVENT:

Join us Thursday, Sept. 6, for "Partnerships & Progress: Driving Climate Solutions," featuring Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickSinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests Congress prepares to punt biggest political battles until after midterms MORE (R-Pa.) and Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (D-R.I.). Editor in Chief Bob Cusack will sit down with the headliners to discuss how the public and private sectors can balance environmental progress with healthy economic growth. RSVP here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

James Dyson of vacuum fame said he's working on testing facilities and putting $150 million into an effort to launch an electric car by 2020, Reuters reports.

Officials in Ann Arbor, Mich., rolled out a $850,000 plan to fight per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the city's drinking water, MLive reports.

Environmental groups are accusing a Pennsylvania power plant of contaminating the Susquehanna River with toxic waste, and threatening to sue, the Baltimore Sun reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

David Gattie, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Georgia, argues that the U.S. must develop a strategic, forward-thinking vision to advance the state of nuclear science.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Trump to tap current EPA official for chemical safety office: report

-Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project

-Washington's fall agenda: EPA to focus on new power plant, water rules

-Toxic algae sludge seeps into Florida Senate race

-Pruitt aide wrote memo to absolve him in controversy over raises