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Overnight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report

Overnight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report
© Greg Nash

PATAGONIA BACKS DEMS IN TWO SENATE RACES: Outdoor clothing company Patagonia Inc. is endorsing two Democrats in key Senate races that could determine control of the upper chamber.

The company, which has upped its political activism since President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California MORE took office, is backing Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenElection Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February Sinema invokes McCain in Senate acceptance speech Sinema defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race MORE in her challenge of Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerElection Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February Sinema invokes McCain in Senate acceptance speech Sinema defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race MORE (R) and Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterMellman: The triumph of partisanship VA under pressure to deliver Trump reforms Feehery: With 2020 looming, Republicans must learn lessons from midterms MORE in his Montana reelection bid against Republican Matt Rosendale.

Rosen and Tester are the first election endorsements in Patagonia's history.

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"The company is endorsing candidates for the first time this year because of the urgent and unprecedented threats to our public lands and waters. Nevada and Montana are two states where Patagonia has significant company history and a long record of conservation accomplishments, and where the stakes are too high to stay silent," the company said in a statement.

Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said the company is backing Rosen "because she will fight to protect Nevada's public lands and the vibrant outdoor industry that depends on them."

And Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder, said it is backing Tester "because he gives a damn about protecting public lands -- and, like us, he's committed to fight back against anyone who doesn't."

Escalating activism: The company has been outspoken in its support for public lands protections and its opposition to policy proposals from Trump and congressional Republicans to undo them. It has specifically fought Trump's December decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah, including filing a lawsuit over Bears Ears and declaring on its website that "The President Stole Your Land."

Patagonia has also publicly sparred with House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOvernight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report Patagonia makes its first election endorsements with two Western Democrats Daylight Saving Time costs more than it's worth MORE (R-Utah) and Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Overnight Energy: EPA weighs tougher pollution rule for trucks | Zinke to visit California wildfire areas | EPA official indicted in Alabama Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl feeds firefighters in California MORE, a native of Tester's state, Montana.

We've got more here.

 

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EPA WITHDRAWS OBAMA RULE ON URANIUM MILLING: The Trump administration announced Friday it would withdraw an Obama-era proposal aimed at regulating how waste from uranium milling is disposed.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the proposed rule for uranium and thorium mill tailings, or waste byproducts.

The Obama administration had submitted the proposed rule the day before President Trump took office in January 2017.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called the now-scrapped proposal a "rush to regulate during the waning hours of the previous administration."

"Today's action is an important step in rebalancing EPA's role with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's with respect to protecting public health and the environment alongside supporting modern methods of uranium extraction," Wheeler said in a statement on Friday.

Wheeler said that the Obama-era rule "would have imposed significant burdens on uranium miners and the communities they support."

A key point of the regulation was reducing the spread of radon, a cancer-causing radioactive gas byproduct of uranium.

The regulation aimed to create a unified standard for impounding the byproducts, which are frequently kept in holding ponds.

Read more here.

 

NASA CHIEF SEES 'NO REASON TO DISMISS' UN CLIMATE REPORT: The head of NASA bucked President Trump this week, saying that he sees no reason to reject the findings of a major climate change report from the United Nations.

Trump previously said he would review the dire report issued this month by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but he was also skeptical of it.

"It was given to me, and I want to look at who drew it," he said. "Because I can give you reports that are fabulous, and I can give you reports that aren't so good."

By contrast, NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineHow will the 2018 midterms affect NASA space policy? Cruz vs O’Rourke race puts NASA’s future on the Texas ballot The Hill's 12:30 Report — Pence vows response to Khashoggi death | Trump's rhetoric rallies base | Dems downplay wave talk MORE, whose agency is at the forefront of studying climate change, said he accepts the report's findings.

"I have no reason to dismiss the report at all," he told The Atlantic. "NASA is one agency on the planet that does more to inform the world on how the climate is changing than any other agency, and we're going to continue to do that."

But Bridenstine, who was nominated by Trump, gave no indication he would push Republicans to agree with him -- and the majority of scientists -- on climate change.

"My role is to deliver dispassionate science and allow policy makers to have these debates about it," he said when asked about discussing the report with his GOP colleagues.

"Look, if I start engaging in what to do about the science that we receive, then it politicizes what NASA is all about, and we don't want to do that," he added. "All we're going to do is study the planet and make sure that all of that data and all of that science is made available to the public."

Read more.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Maryland officials have overhauled their "Protect the Chesapeake" license plate, with a new focus on the blue crab, the Capital News Service reports.

Florida's red tide has moved up its Atlantic Coast, Florida Today reports.

OPEC and its allies are struggling to meet their commitment to boost oil output, Reuters reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Friday's stories ...

-NASA chief: 'No reason to dismiss' recent UN climate report

-Interior Department sued over withholding details on trophy permits, endangered species

-Patagonia makes its first election endorsements with two Western Democrats

-Inspector general: Zinke used taxpayer-funded travel for his wife