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 pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE took office, is backing Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE in her challenge of Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R) and Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Budget deal sparks scramble to prevent shutdown 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 BishopThe House Republicans and Democrats not seeking reelection in 2020 Texas GOP lawmaker Conaway announces retirement Texas GOP Rep. Conaway won't seek reelection: report MORE (R-Utah) and Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeNew policy at Interior's in-house watchdog clamps down on interactions with press Overnight Energy: EPA proposes scrapping limits on coal plant waste | Appointee overseeing federal lands once advocated selling them | EPA lifts Obama-era block on controversial mine Latest appointee overseeing federal public lands once advocated to sell them 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 BridenstineMaking space exploration cool again In-space refueling vs heavy lift? NASA and SpaceX choose both From Apollo 11 to Artemis: This time when we go back to the moon, we are going to stay 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