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Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump officials repeal safety rule for oil trains | California regulator slams emissions rollback | Judge won't move monument case to Utah

Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump officials repeal safety rule for oil trains | California regulator slams emissions rollback | Judge won't move monument case to Utah

TRUMP OFFICIALS REPEAL OIL TRAIN BRAKE RULE: The Trump administration on Monday repealed a mandate that would have required trains carrying crude oil to use special brakes with new technology.

The Department of Transportation's Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said it undertook a congressionally mandated analysis of the provision in a 2015 regulation under which oil trains would have had to use electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

“The Department [of Transportation] determined that the expected benefits, including safety benefits, of implementing ECP brake system requirements do not exceed the associated costs of equipping tank cars with ECP brake systems, and therefore are not economically justified,” PHMSA said.

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The mandate to phase out traditional air brakes for crude oil use was part of a comprehensive rule that the Obama administration wrote in 2015 to try to improve the safety of crude oil trains.

The rule was mainly meant to implement a new design for tank cars that carry crude, with new requirements for metal thickness and fire protection. The brake mandate and speed limits were also in the new regulation.

The brake requirement was a top target for the railroad and oil industries in pushing back against parts of the 2015 rule.

Congress, in the bipartisan Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2016, told the PHMSA to conduct a new cost-benefit analysis of the brake provision. If the costs outweighed the benefits, the PHMSA was required to repeal it.

Read more.

 

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Happy Monday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

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NATIONAL MONUMENT CASE WILL STAY IN D.C.: A federal judge in Washington, D.C., Monday denied the Trump administration’s attempt to move lawsuits challenging President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE’s national monument rollbacks to a Utah court.

In a brief order that did not explain her reasoning, Judge Tanya Chutkan said she wouldn’t move the three cases challenging Trump’s cuts to the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

The Justice Department argued that since the protected areas are in Utah, the case would be appropriately heard in federal court there.

“The presidential proclamation modifying the monument was signed in Utah; the implementation of the proclamation will occur in Utah; and that implementation will most directly affect Utah residents,” attorneys for Trump wrote in similar motions in the various cases.

“Transfer is warranted because that strong local interest outweighs the District of Columbia’s tie to the claims and plaintiffs’ selection of this forum.”

Conservation and American Indian groups, including the Navajo Nation and the Sierra Club, said the D.C. court is more appropriate because parties bringing lawsuits have a degree of deference in picking the venue, among other reasons.

“We are pleased that Federal Judge Tanya S. Chutkan has agreed that it is the right of plaintiffs to choose where they sue. This includes the tribal sovereign nations seeking to protect Bears Ears and is why the lawsuits opposing Trump’s actions can rightfully be heard in a federal court in the U.S. Capital,” Nada Culver, senior counsel for the Wilderness Society, one of the groups involved with the cases, said in a statement.

“National monuments belong to all Americans and not just individual states or the special interest groups that would exploit them for mining, drilling and development,” she said.

Read more.

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CALIFORNIA AIR CHIEF WARNS RULE ROLLBACK ‘BLOWS A HOLE’ IN POLLUTION STANDARDS: The chief of the California Air Resources Board is warning that the Trump administration's proposed changes to car emissions standards "blows a hole" in efforts to meet air-pollution standards.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the state panel, said the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule, deemed the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient rule, is nothing of the kind.

“There is nothing safe about this proposal,” Nichols said in prepared remarks released before the first public hearing on the proposal Monday.

“The proposal turns its back on decades of progress in cleaning up cars and trucks under the Clean Air Act; ignores currently available and cost-effective clean vehicle technology; wastes gasoline; and pumps more climate-changing gases into the atmosphere.”

Nichols is among the experts who testified at the EPA’s hearing on the bill in Fresno, Calif., Monday. The agency will hold two more back-to-back hearings this week, in Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday and in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

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ON TAP TUESDAY:

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Energy Department’s efforts in quantum information science.

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OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

One of the co-owners of the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant project in Georgia decided Monday to stay with it, but the plant’s fate isn’t certain yet, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

New research says glyphosate can harm honeybees, the Guardian reports.

Brent crude oil hit its highest price in four years Monday, CNBC reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and the weekend ...

- Judge denies bid to move lawsuit over Trump national monument rollbacks to Utah

- Trump officials roll back Obama oil train safety rule

- Top California regulator: Emissions rule change 'blows a hole' in air pollution standards

- Court orders EPA to implement Obama chemical plant rule

National parks are heating up, drying out due to climate change: study

- FEMA head to reimburse government for use of federal vehicles: report