Overnight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports

Overnight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports
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TRUMP, KUDLOW DIG IN ON CLIMATE SKEPTICISM: The Trump administration is doubling down on its questioning of whether climate change is man-made and its belief that scientists who think otherwise may have a political agenda.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ MORE in an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired late Sunday said he believes "something" is happening with global warming, but added that he thinks it's likely the trend will revert or "go back."

"I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's man-made," Trump said.

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Trump also said he didn't believe that Hurricane Michael -- which hit Florida's Gulf Coast as a Category 4 last week -- was linked to climate change, despite scientists connecting warming waters to stronger storms.

"I'm not denying climate change. But it could very well go back. You know, we're talking about over a millions of years. They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael," Trump said.

Speaking on a series of shows earlier Sunday, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow echoed similar sentiments that the cause of climate change is not known.

"I'm not denying any climate change issues," Kudlow told ABC's "This Week." "I'm just saying do we know precisely, and I mean worth modeling, how much of it is man-made, how much of it is solar, how much of it is oceanic, how much of it is rainforest and other issues. I think we're still exploring all of that."

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Trump in Florida: President Trump on Monday traveled to Florida to tour damage wrought by Hurricane Michael.

Trump arrived in the morning at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, which had borne the brunt of Michael's devastation. He heaped praise on Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), saying the governor "is doing an incredible job" with the storm response.

"He gets it done. So Rick Scott, thank you," Trump told Scott on the tarmac.

Scott is one of Trump's close political allies and is currently running for Senate.

The president said the government's top priority is providing food, water, power and safety to people who have lost their homes.

He marveled at the widespread damage the hurricane caused, with many homes and buildings having been flattened or taken off their foundations.

“You wouldn’t even know they had homes,” he said.

More from The Hill's Jordan Fabian here.

 

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SUSPENDED CHILDREN'S HEALTH OFFICIAL SLAMS EPA: The suspended Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official for children's health says the Trump administration's actions show it doesn't care for children.

Ruth Etzel, the director of the Office of Children's Health Protection who was suspended last month, told CBS News that she still doesn't know why disciplinary action was taken against her.

"Our message is no longer welcome," she told CBS. "The message that children are not little adults and they need special protections is not welcome."

Etzel said that before her suspension she used to have monthly meetings with the administrator -- previously Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittTime to stop letting fossil fuels run Washington Senate should reject Trump’s radical nominee to key energy panel Trump EPA official indicted in Alabama MORE and now acting head Andrew Wheeler -- but those stopped.

She also said one of the Trump administration's landmark priorities for children's health -- reducing lead content in water -- has stalled and that an official told her the administration would never allow a new EPA regulation on lead.

"My sense is that the government has absolutely no intention of taking any action toward seriously changing lead in children's environments," she said. "It basically means that our kids will continue to be poisoned. It basically means that kids are disposable, they don't matter."

EPA expands on why Etzel was put on leave: The EPA has been tight-lipped about why Etzel was suspended, citing personnel rules. Wheeler previously said she was kicked out so EPA could "investigate some allegations" about her.

An EPA spokesman on Monday expanded on Wheeler's remarks, saying Etzel was put on leave "because of serious reports made against her by staff regarding her leadership" of the children's health office.

"It's unfortunate that she has decided to go to the press in what appears to be an attempt to distract from these allegations," the spokesman said. "The agency believes Dr. Etzel's characterizations misrepresent the situation; this is about allegations of a person's actions, not the office."

Read more.

 

ADMINISTRATION COULD USE MILITARY BASES TO EXPORT COAL, GAS: The Trump administration is considering using military bases to accommodate export facilities for coal or natural gas, Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeMulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Overnight Energy: Trump to visit California wildfire victims | Head of Park Service climate program resigns | Dems rip Trump pick for energy panel Pro tip for House Dems on oversight: Do the work, avoid the court MORE has told The Associated Press.

Zinke said the strategy is being considered as a way to thwart opposition by California, Oregon and Washington leaders to allowing export terminals in their states to sell coal or gas to Asia.

"I respect the state of Washington and Oregon and California," Zinke told AP. "But also, it's in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities."

Zinke said that may involve using "some of our naval facilities, some of our federal facilities on the West Coast."

In his AP interview, Zinke only mentioned one possible facility for natural gas exports: the Adak Naval Air Facility in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, which closed in 1997.

Read more.

Dem governor calls plan 'reckless': Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a potential 2020 presidential contender, slammed the idea in a statement Monday.

"This reckless, hair-brained proposal undermines national security instead of increasing it, and it undermines states' rights to enforce necessary health, safety and environmental protections in their communities. The men and women who serve at our military bases are there to keep our country safe, not to service an export facility for private fossil fuel companies," he said.

Under Inslee, Washington has fought a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River that had the support of inland coal-producing states.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY:

The American Wind Energy Association will open its Offshore Windpower conference. Keynote speakers include Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHouse Dems can take on climate change — if they don’t get distracted by Trump Dems find easy target in Trump commerce chief Trump mulls replacing Commerce chief Ross by end of year: reports MORE (D-Mass.) and Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDem senator expresses concerns over potential Nielsen ouster Carper cruises to fourth term in Delaware Senate race Overnight Energy: Groups want Senate to probe Interior watchdog controversy | Puerto Rico eyes plan for 100 percent clean energy | Dems say Congress already rejected part of EPA car emissions plan MORE (D-Del.).

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION:

Garrett Blad, executive coordinator at SustainUS, argues for a "massive overhaul of the global economy" to phase out fossil fuels.

Ellen R. Wald, author of "Saudi, Inc.: The Arabian Kingdom's Pursuit of Profit and Power," blames oil industry decisions in the past for high prices today.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

The first fracking in seven years started in the United Kingdom this weekend amid an attempted blockade by protesters, the Evening Standard reports.

Coal company Mission Coal filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying it couldn't maximize the value of its operations, S&P Global Platts reports.

The PFAS water contamination, caused by a firefighting foam, is getting worse near a closed Michigan Air Force base, the Detroit Free Press reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out stories from Monday and the weekend ...

- Sean Astin 'pretty ticked' only 90 followers liked tweet about pro-climate candidate

- Suspended EPA health official: Administration's actions mean 'kids are disposable'

- Climate change could cripple world's beer supply: study

- Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism

- Trump administration could use military bases to export coal, gas

- California utility cuts power as wildfire precaution

- Idaho Fish and Game commissioner criticized for photos from African hunting trip

- Senators concerned as Trump official disputes UN climate change warning

- Senate Dem: Republicans 'don't want to hear the information' on climate change

- Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Sanders rolls out bill aimed at getting Walmart to raise wages Left wants a vote on single-payer bill in new Congress MORE: Kudlow's comments on UN climate change report 'so irresponsible'

- Flake: Republicans should be at the forefront of combating climate change

- Kudlow pushes back on UN warning: Climate change modeling has not been successful

- Costs from hurricane damage to rise alongside frequency, intensity