Overnight Energy: Trump to offer oil waivers for Iran sanctions | EPA puts ozone review on fast track | DOJ to shut environment division’s San Francisco office

Overnight Energy: Trump to offer oil waivers for Iran sanctions | EPA puts ozone review on fast track | DOJ to shut environment division’s San Francisco office
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OIL WAIVERS FOR IRAN SANCTIONS: The Trump administration is set to reimpose sanctions as planned on Iran next week, but eight "jurisdictions" will get temporary waivers to keep importing oil from the Islamic nation without suffering consequences from the United States.

"This part of the campaign about which we're speaking today is simple: It is aimed at depriving the regime of the revenues that it uses to spread death and destruction around the world," Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoHouthis: US sanctions prolonging war in Yemen China plays the Trump card, but Biden is not buying it Trump: 'I can't imagine' any Republican would beat me in 2024 primary if I run MORE told reporters.

"We expect to issue some temporary allotments to eight jurisdictions, but only because they have demonstrated significant reductions in crude oil and cooperation on many other fronts and have made important moves toward getting to zero crude oil importation."


Pompeo did not specify which eight jurisdictions are getting waivers, saying a list would be released Monday. Asked if the use of the word "jurisdiction" meant that the European Union, a group of 28 countries, is getting waiver, Pompeo said the E.U. is not being granted a waiver.

In May, Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States from what he once called the "worst deal ever negotiated."

The 2015 agreement, reached by the Obama administration, gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

The agreement was between the United States, Iran, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia.

In withdrawing from the agreement, Trump gave companies and countries doing business with Iran two "wind-down" periods before the United States would reimpose sanctions.

Read more.


Which 'jurisdictions'?: A senior administration official told Bloomberg that at least Japan, India and South Korea will be getting waivers, while China is negotiating a deal.

Read more.


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EPA FAST-TRACKS OZONE REVIEW: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to implement an "accelerated" process for deciding whether to further restrict allowable ground-level ozone pollution limits.

In a draft plan released Friday, the EPA explained that in order to meet the legally required deadline of late 2020 for a final decision on ozone, it has found some ways to speed up the review process.

"The current review of the [ozone standard] is progressing on an accelerated schedule and the EPA is incorporating a number of efficiencies in various aspects of the review process to ensure completion within the statutorily required period," the agency wrote.

The changes from previous review processes include skipping a kick-off workshop, not giving the external air pollution advisory committee a separate period to review the standard apart from the public comment period and not writing a risk and exposure assessment.

"The successfulness of these and other efficiencies implemented in this review will be considered by the EPA in planning for other future [air standard] reviews," the EPA said.

Read more.


DOJ TO CLOSE SAN FRANCISCO ENVIRONMENT DIVISION: The Department of Justice is shutting its environment and natural resources division office in San Francisco, citing cost cutting.

All 14 employees working out of the San Francisco office will be paid to relocate either to the DOJ's Denver or Washington, D.C. offices. A DOJ spokesperson emphasized that there are over 600 employees in the entire environment division.

"The Environment and Natural Resources Division, in close coordination with the Justice Management Division, evaluated the costs associated with the San Francisco office, both currently and anticipated in the next several years, and compared those costs with opportunities for greater efficiencies associated with consolidation at our larger field office in Denver. After careful review, it was determined that substantial savings could be achieved by closing the San Francisco field office and consolidating both staff and space in Denver," a DOJ spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill Friday.

The move comes weeks after the Senate confirmed Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a well-known climate change skeptic and former industry attorney, to lead the Department of Justice's (DOJ) environment division.

Clark was an attorney at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, where he has represented numerous industry clients, including oil giant BP in its efforts to fight certain claims from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and spill, and the Chamber of Commerce. He's said climate change science is "contestable."

The move to consolidate DOJ offices is not novel. In 2011 lawyers in DOJ's antitrust division were irked when then Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderBiden meekly gives Saudi crown prince 'one free murder' pass on Khashoggi LIVE COVERAGE: Senate set to consider Garland for AG Census to delay data delivery, jeopardizing redistricting crunch MORE announced they'd be shuttering four regional offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Dallas. At the time leadership said the consolidation would allow DOJ to focus on larger criminal investigations.

However DOJ's consolidation of its environmental division is likely to raise eyebrows as the Trump administration faces continued criticism over budget cuts to a number of key offices and agencies that handle science and environmental regulations. DOJ itself garnered criticism earlier this year when EPA reported that the amount of civil penalties charged to polluters dropped significantly under Trump. Numbers released by EPA in its annual enforcement report revealed that polluters were fined a total of $1.6 billion in penalties in fiscal 2017 -- about a fifth of the $5.7 billion EPA penalties collected the year prior, under President Obama.



As the public gears up to vote in the midterm elections next Tuesday all eyes will be on whether Democrats can successfully take back the House from Republicans. If they do, it could potentially set the stage of a new concerted push by Democrats to pass legislation addressing environment, public land and climate change issues. Congressional offices are already plotting how they might address major environmental issues largely overlooked by the Republican leadership. Of course, if Republicans manage to hold onto the House, the amount of legislative change will not be the same but Republicans could still get behind some environmentally forward looking legislation such as a bill that would incentivize more investment in carbon capture technology.


Also keep your eye on state ballot initiatives, a number of which center on carbon, water and drilling issues. If they succeed, those states will be test kitchens for potential future federal policy down the line.



A group funded by coal miner Murray Energy Corp. lost in its bids to block a series of natural gas fired power plants in West Virginia, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.
Despite their misgivings, regulators in Virginia approved a proposal to build a small wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach, the Associated Press reports.

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro says he may not combine the environment and agriculture ministries, following objections by environmentalists, Reuters reports.



Check out Friday's stories ...

-EPA plans 'accelerated' consideration of ozone pollution rule

-Trump set to reimpose all nuclear sanctions on Iran

-Eight nations to receive US waivers under Iran sanctions: report

-Trump concerned Zinke broke rules amid DOJ referral: report