Overnight Energy: Automakers fight Trump emissions rollback | Court rules against Trump on net fishing | Oil industry says voters don’t like Trump ethanol plan

Overnight Energy: Automakers fight Trump emissions rollback | Court rules against Trump on net fishing | Oil industry says voters don’t like Trump ethanol plan
© Getty

AUTOMAKERS OPPOSE FREEZING EMISSIONS RULES: Major automakers are pushing the Trump administration to abandon its plan to roll back climate change rules for cars.

Companies had emphatically encouraged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to undo the Obama administration's plans to ratchet up greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency rules for cars through 2026.

But now they're trying to stop the agencies from going too far in the other direction and freezing the standards in 2020.


In a filing made with those agencies Friday -- the deadline for comments -- General Motors Co. said the Obama administration standards are "not technologically feasible or economically practicable," and would increase vehicle costs at the expense of jobs.

But the Trump administration's plan to completely stop those rules "is not the answer to these regulatory challenges," GM added.

"Rather, we prefer standards through 2026 that continue improving the fuel economy of gasoline powered vehicles at historic rates and policies that support American leadership in zero emissions vehicles."

American Honda Motor Co., the U.S. unit of the Japanese conglomerate, wrote in its comments that freezing the standards in 2020 "jeopardizes benefits for consumers and society."

Honda went on to say the plan, which would include revoking California's authority to set its own greenhouse gas standards for cars, "invites litigation and regulatory uncertainty, stalls long-term strategic industry planning, puts at risk American global competitiveness, exacerbates climate-related environmental impacts, and slows industry readiness for a widely acknowledged -- but extremely difficult to implement -- transition to vehicle electrification."

Ford Motor Co. told the agencies that it supports "fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards that increase year-over-year," while Toyota Motor North America said it opposes the administration's proposal.

"Toyota supports continued improvements in vehicle fuel economy performance and GHG reduction," the company wrote. "This is what society and our customers expect from us, and aligns with our overall long-term corporate direction."

Read more.


Happy Monday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.


COURT SAYS ROLLBACK OF GILLNET BAN WAS ILLEGAL: The Trump administration's move to end regulations on a fishing technique in California known to ensnare and kill sea turtles and whales has been ruled unlawful.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner late Friday ruled that the federal government "exceeded its authority" when it withdrew a rule in June 2017 that initially suspended the use of swordfish gillnets off the coast of Southern California if any bycatch limits were exceeded.

The previous proposal had fisherman place numerical limits on the accidental catches of bottlenose dolphins, four species of whales and four species of sea turtles that are frequently caught in gillnets. If those limits were exceeded, the fisheries were then mandated to cease using the technique altogether.

The judge's ruling sends the proposal back to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and orders the agency under the Commerce Department to either finalize the rule as proposed or consult with the Pacific Fishery Management Council on any revisions.

The rule was initially endorsed by the council in 2015 and formally proposed for implementation by the NMFS in 2016. It was expected to gain final approval as a federal regulation until the Trump administration intervened.

The president, under the advice of the Commerce Department, argued that the cost to the fishing industry would be too burdensome and outweighed conservation needs.

An NMFS spokesperson said the agency is still reviewing the ruling.

Read more.


API POLL: VOTERS OPPOSE ETHANOL PLAN: Voters are concerned about President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE's plan to allow gasoline with higher ethanol volumes to be sold year-round, according to a new poll commissioned by the oil industry.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, was released Monday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a group that announced its opposition to Trump's proposal announced earlier this month.

Poll participants were told that E15 -- gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol -- could be sold in the summer months under Trump's plan, and the fuel "has been shown to damage vehicle engines and fuel systems, and most cars on the road today are not designed to run on E15."

After asking voters "how concerned" they would be with that approach, 79 percent said they were either "very" or "somewhat" concerned, compared to 17 percent who said they were "not very" concerned or not concerned.

API said the results show voters don't like the idea put forth by the administration.

"These numbers reinforce the need for the administration to reconsider this decision to allow year-round sale of E15," said Frank Macchiarola, API's vice president for downstream operations. "American families should not have to be burdened with an unexpected car repair bill because of a fuel that our government essentially pushed into the marketplace against the clear letter of the law."

Read more.



Some retired coal miners from Cloud Peak Energy will lose retiree health benefits, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

The United Kingdom could reduce the carbon tax that power companies pay, Reuters reports.

The Port of Corpus Christi in Texas and the Carlyle Group are teaming up to build a major oil export terminal, the Caller Times reports.



David Goldwyn of Goldwyn Global Strategies says progress is "incomplete" on energy provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Jason Bordoff, a professor and founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says the killing of Jamal Khashoggi has shown the shortcomings of the Trump administration's "energy dominance" plan.



Check out stories from Monday and the weekend ...

- Automakers fight Trump's auto emissions rollback

- Oil industry: Voters worried about Trump's ethanol plan

- Court rules against Trump administration on gillnet ban rollback

- WHO: 600,000 children died from air pollution in 2016

- Five energy and environment ballot questions to watch