Overnight Energy: Trump to visit California wildfire victims | Head of Park Service climate program resigns | Dems rip Trump pick for energy panel

Overnight Energy: Trump to visit California wildfire victims | Head of Park Service climate program resigns | Dems rip Trump pick for energy panel
© Getty Images

TRUMP TO VISIT CALIFORNIA, MEET WITH FIRE VICTIMS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE will travel to California on Saturday as deadly wildfires ravage the state.

White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said Trump will "meet with individuals impacted by the wildfires," but provided no other details about his trip.

The visit was announced days after Trump triggered a backlash by blaming state officials for the lethal and destructive blaze.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a series of tweets last weekend, the president said "gross mismanagement" caused the wildfires and threatened to cut federal aid to the Golden State if it does not "Remedy now."

"With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!" he wrote.

The messages drew the ire of both firefighters and California celebrities who accused the president of injecting partisan politics into the disaster recovery.

The president later changed his tune. He said on Wednesday that he had spoken with California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) "to let him know that we are with him, and the people of California, all the way!"

Trump has also approved both a state of emergency declaration and a major disaster declaration for the areas ravaged by fire, directing certain federal resources to the state.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump EPA to roll out plan for fighting lead exposure | Top Interior lawyer once said women shouldn't be NFL referees | California moving toward electric bus fleet by 2040 Top lawyer at Interior once said women shouldn’t be NFL referees because they PMS Alaska oil and gas lease sale nets .5 million MORE visited the fire sites starting Wednesday along with Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long.

At least 59 people have been killed have been killed in the current wildfires. The Camp Fire in southern California is now the deadliest wildfire in the nation's history.

Read more about Trump's plans here.

Happy Thursday! 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.

 

HEAD OF PARK SERVICE CLIMATE PROGRAM RESIGNS: The woman in charge of studying climate change's effects on U.S. managed cultural resources for the National Park Service (NPS) has resigned.

Marcy Rockman, the first person to hold the position of Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for Cultural Resources at NPS, resigned in early November after seven years at the service.

In her role, Rockman studied the effects of climate change on archeological sites, cultural landscapes and historic buildings and looked to past cultures for answers on how to address future climate change.

Her job was part of NPS' Climate Change Response Program created to study the effects of climate change on NPS-owned sites and resources.

Rockman shared her resignation letter on Twitter Thursday. She said she routinely saw the agency struggle to prioritize her work.

"Despite the needs and potentials of cultural resources with respect to climate change across the national park system, and the leadership role the NPS holds in providing cultural resources guidance to federal, state, tribal, and local partners, over the course of my position I've seen the NPS repeatedly struggle to support cultural resources at levels commensurate with natural resources."

The National Park Service oversees management of National Parks and Refugees. The Trump administration more recently has placed an emphasis on natural resource extraction. It released a report Wednesday that championed increased royalty sales from oil and gas drilling on public land as a reason for heightened department revenues.

In her role, Rockman developed policy to study and manage the impacts of climate change on various cultural resource sites managed by NPS.

Risk factors she studied for at these sites included increased heat, wildfires, and erosion from extreme weather.

Read more here.

 

DEMS TAKE ON TRUMP'S ENERGY PANEL NOMINEE: Senate Democrats tore into President Trump's nominee for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), saying he is too close an ally to the Trump administration and its policies.

Bernard McNamee has served in numerous senior roles at the Department of Energy under Trump. He has told senators that he was the leading attorney in the administration's failed attempt to require higher electricity payments for coal and nuclear power plants.

Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee argued in a Thursday hearing on his confirmation that McNamee's history shows he cannot be the neutral arbiter an independent agency like FERC requires.

"You played a key role in developing the legal underpinnings of a Trump energy bailout that was so flawed, every member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected it," said Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (D-Ore.).

"Now the president wants to put you on the commission that rejected the plan you wrote. Looks to me … this is not like having the fox guard the chicken coop. This is like putting the fox inside the chicken coop."

Read more.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

New research says that diesel pollution stunts growth in children, The Guardian reports.

A European court ruled Thursday that the United Kingdom's capacity markets for trying to avoid electricity blackouts are illegal and must stop, Reuters reports.

California utility PG&E's stock hit a 15-year low amid fears of its liability for wildfires, MarketWatch reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION: Vance Ginn and Elliott Raia of the Texas Public Policy Foundation say a carbon tax as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would be economically destructive.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Head of NPS climate change adaptation program resigns

-Trump to visit California amid wildfires

-Dems slam Trump's energy regulator nominee

-Trump team plans to promote fossil fuels at UN climate event: report

-Death toll rises to 56 in California wildfires

-House Dems split on how to tackle climate change