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 TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees MORE took office, is backing Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenInflux of women in Congress can improve women’s retirement security Overnight Health Care: DOJ seeks extension in ObamaCare lawsuit due to shutdown | Poll finds voters oppose court ruling against health law Press: White House not only for white males MORE in her challenge of Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Progressive strategist says changing demographics will help Dems MORE (R) and Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party 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: House votes to reopen Interior, EPA | Dems question EPA over Wheeler confirmation prep | Virginia Dem backs Green New Deal Grijalva backs Bishop over current acting Interior Secretary Dems question legality of park fees during shutdown MORE (R-Utah) and Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Major California utility PG&E filing for bankruptcy after wildfires | Zinke hired at investment firm | Barclays to avoid most Arctic drilling financing Zinke takes job at investment firm Trump taps Commerce watchdog to be new Interior inspector general 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 BridenstineGreen New Deal will only happen if we go back to the moon What is SpaceX doing in South Texas? The Hill's 12:30 Report — Cohen gets three years in prison | Fallout from Oval Office clash | House GOP eyes vote on B for wall 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