Overnight Energy: EPA official calls addressing climate a 'priority' | Zinke vows to make his company 'great again' | Park Service acquires MLK home in Atlanta

Overnight Energy: EPA official calls addressing climate a 'priority' | Zinke vows to make his company 'great again' | Park Service acquires MLK home in Atlanta
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EPA OFFICIAL CALLS CLIMATE 'A PRIORITY': A Trump administration official said Friday that climate change is a "priority" for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but that other issues can outrank it.

"I think reducing carbon emissions is important, and it's a priority for us. It's one of many priorities for us," Bill Wehrum, the EPA's assistant administrator for air, told The Guardian's Emily Holden at a Society of Environmental Journalists event.

Asked directly if the administration sees climate as a priority, Wehrum said, "you bet it's a priority for us."

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But Wehrum also said that he and the administration weigh climate against other potential priorities as well.

"Part of my job as a regulator is to be as smart as I possibly can in how we allocate resources, how we set our standards and how we require society more broadly to expend resources," he said.

Wehrum's boss, acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler, gained attention last week when, at a Senate hearing, when he said climate change is "a huge issue," but not "the greatest crisis."

Wehrum went on to say Friday that he has "spent a good amount" of time reading the National Climate Assessment, the major federal report released last year that warned of dire consequences from climate change in the United States.

But the EPA is still trying to figure out climate change science and whether it is a "crisis," among other scientific questions.

Read more on his remarks here.

 

TGIF! The government shutdown clock is at 35 days, but Trump agreed to end it today -- at least for three weeks -- and the Senate has approved the deal. Read more about that from our colleagues at The Hill here and here. The House is expected to pass the three-week continuing resolution Friday evening.

 

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

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ZINKE PROMISES TO MAKE HIS NEW EMPLOYER 'GREAT AGAIN': Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeBLM issues final plan for reduced Utah monument New 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 MORE may no longer be a member of the Trump administration, but he says he's still hoping to make something "great again" -- his new job at a private cryptocurrency company.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE's former Interior secretary, who departed Washington in January on the heels of multiple ethics investigations, is now working for Artillery One, a little-known blockchain and cryptocurrency investment company based out of North Carolina.

"I'm going to make Artillery One great again," Zinke told Vice News in an interview released Friday.

Zinke, the managing director of Artillery One, spoke to the publication from San Moritz, Switzerland, where he was attending a crypto-finance convention with his boss, Daniel Cannon.

Artillery One said in a press release that Zinke will be based in Montana and California but the job would also involve "extensive travel overseas."

The former Trump Cabinet official said he joined the company after meeting Cannon on an airplane. After leaving the Department of Interior, Zinke got a phone call "out of the blue" from Cannon, and said they realized they had "similar visions."

"Secretary Zinke is a dynamic individual, he served his country and he deserves the attention. He's a man to be looked up, I'm very proud he's part of Artillery One and now our managing director," Cannon told Vice.

Read more on Zinke's new career here.

 

PARK SERVICE ADDS MLK HOME: The National Park Service has taken ownership of an Atlanta home where civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. lived for years.

The National Parks Foundation bought the house in the Vine City neighborhood with philanthropic help and donated it to the Park Service this month, the two groups said in a Thursday statement. It happened days before King's birthday, despite most of the agency being furloughed due to the partial government shutdown.

The Park Service had taken ownership last year of the other house in Atlanta where King was born in 1929, also via a donation from the foundation.

Both houses are now part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, and the agency plans to make them accessible to the public for the first time.

"The addition of the homes where Dr. King was born and where he raised his family with Coretta Scott King provides the National Park Service sacred spaces to more fully tell the story of Dr. King's life and legacy," Daniel Smith, the Park Service's deputy director and top official, said in a statement.

"African American history is U.S. history, and the family home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King is a touchstone for us all to better understand our shared heritage," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation.

Read more on the move here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK: Monday will be the first day back at work in more than a month for hundreds of thousands of federal employees, so expect a lot of catching up.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is dedicating its first hearing of the Democratic majority to examining the impacts of the shutdown on agencies within its jurisdiction, which includes the EPA.

Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) had planned for climate change to be the focus of the first hearing, but he decided this week to push that off to No. 2 due to the shutdown.

Steven Winberg, assistant secretary of Energy for fossil energy, will give keynote remarks Monday at an Atlantic Council event on the future of carbon capture and storage and the role of the United States.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Exxon Mobil Corp. has signed a preliminary deal with German utility Uniper to provide liquefied natural gas for a planned terminal at Wilhelmshaven, Reuters reports.

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Investigators concluded that a private electrical system, not PG&E Corp., caused the 2017 Tubbs Fire in northern California that killed 22, NBC News reports.

Hundreds are missing and many could be dead following a major dam failure at an iron ore mine in Brazil, BBC News reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Friday's stories ...

Trump EPA official: Addressing climate change 'one of many priorities'

Zinke on new gig: I'm going to make cryptocurrency company 'great again'

Park Service acquires Martin Luther King Jr. home in Atlanta