Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Texas coal plant to shut down | Macron rejects trade deals with climate pact outsiders | Vote on park funding bills to miss deadline

Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Texas coal plant to shut down | Macron rejects trade deals with climate pact outsiders | Vote on park funding bills to miss deadline
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ANOTHER COAL PLANT TO CLOSE: A northern Texas coal fired plant is adding itself to a growing list of coal refineries shutting their doors.

Officials announced Tuesday that the Oklaunion plant based in Vernon, Texas, will retire in 2020, citing a failure to compete in the energy market, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The owners voted to close the plant after coming to terms with the fact that the 700-megawatt coal plant was not competitive in the state's energy market run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), American Electric Power Texas spokesman Greg Blair told the Chronicle.

"The owners voted to close the plant between April and Oct. of 2020. There's a lot more approvals that need to be gotten before that happens, but really the plant was no longer competitive in the ERCOT market," he said.

The plant is at least the fifth one in Texas to close, or to announce plans to close, this year. It joins a number of other coal plants nationwide that are shutting down following a struggle to maintain a profit.

Read more here.

 

Other power plants that have closed recently...

Last week, a struggling coal fire plant that Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Zinke, Lewandowski join Trump veterans’ lobbying firm Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? MORE championed announced it will shut down next year after a planned sale fell through.

Also last week on the nuclear plant side, the nation's oldest nuclear plant retired months early

 

 

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ALL EYES ON THE LAND WATER CONSERVATION FUND: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is likely to vote on a bill to renew a key funding program for parks, but not until after the program's authority lapses.

A spokesman for Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenate votes to extend key funding mechanism for parks White House poised to take action on AI, 5G Overnight Energy: States press Trump on pollution rules | EPA puts climate skeptic on science board | Senate tees up vote on federal lands bill MORE (Wash.), the panel's top Democrat, said lawmakers are hoping for a Tuesday meeting to vote on Cantwell's bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Tuesday would mark two days after the last law to authorize the LWCF expires. After Sunday, the program can still make payments, but the money collected from offshore oil and natural gas drillers that would usually go into the fund instead goes to general government funding.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE (R-Alaska), the committee's chairwoman, said only that the panel is hoping for a Tuesday markup "that involves a variety of lands bills," but would not specify the bills.

The committee has not sent out a formal notice of its planned meeting, a necessary step in advance of the markup.

What it does: The fund takes a portion of the revenue the government gets from offshore drilling, and puts it toward federal, state and local park, recreation and conservation projects.

Conservationists, congressional Democrats and some Republicans have made an all-out push in recent weeks to get the LWCF renewed. Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry Cohen to testify before three congressional panels before going to prison MORE (R-N.C.) has held up unrelated legislation in order to see the program's renewal.

Read more here.

 

FRENCH PRESIDENT REJECTS TRADE DEALS WITH CLIMATE PACT OUTSIDERS: French President Emmanuel Macron told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country will begin to make trade agreements contingent on membership in the Paris climate pact.

"We will no longer sign commercial agreements with powers that do not respect the Paris accord," he told the assembly.

Although Macron did not mention the United States, the remarks were seen as a shot at the country. The U.S. is the only country that is not part of the agreement after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE withdrew in June 2017.

Leaving the Paris deal, which Trump has called "very unfair at the highest level to the United States," was one of his key campaign promises.

According to a report released earlier this month, the U.S. will fall about one-third short of the climate targets stipulated in the original deal.

Trump has been quick to roll back former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaIntelligence for the days after President Trump leaves office Barack Obama sends Valentine's message to Michelle: 'She does get down to Motown' For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love MORE's aggressive climate efforts, including pollution rules on coal-fired power plants. Last week, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management released a final rule to weaken methane pollution rules for drillers.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY:

The House Natural Resources Committee will take up the Congressional Western Caucus's package of nine GOP-backed bills to change the Endangered Species Act.

The hearing will cover all of the bills unveiled by the Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader On The Money: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown poised to become longest in history | Congress approves back pay for workers | More federal unions sue over shutdown MORE (R-Ariz.)-led caucus in July.

The bills are aimed at a number of changes, like incentivizing voluntary conservation measures, making it easier for people outside of government to get species' protections removed and to prohibit designating man-made water projects as critical habitat.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on ocean trash, its impacts on the environment and what can be done to cut down on it.

A subpanel of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Relations Committee will hold a hearing also on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water and what the federal role is in combating the issue.

A number of localities have found PFAS in their water. The EPA is considering whether to regulate levels of the pollutant.

 

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OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

-Future of last US nuclear plant remains uncertain amid talks

-Pollution from Hurricane Florence is so bad you can see it from space

-Vanishing Joshua trees: climate change will ravage US national parks, study says

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

Stuart Shapiro, a professor and director of the Public Policy Program at Rutgers University, says it will be up to the judicial branch to determine whether Trump's new methane rule is lawful.

Jared Anderson, a senior editor for North America Power at S&P Global Platts, says the future of blockchain-related energy trading applications will be shaped by the speed and degree to which these emerging tools are used in various energy markets.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Tuesday...

-Texas coal plant announces plans to shut down

-Senate panel eyes vote on parks funding bills after key deadline

-Macron rejects trade deals with countries outside of Paris climate pact

-Judge restores protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears