Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Pompeo says Paris accord ‘didn’t change a thing’ | NC orders energy company to clean up coal ash ponds | Dem to offer bill on electric vehicle tax credits

Stefani Reynolds

POMPEO: PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD ‘DIDN’T CHANGE A THING’: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Paris climate agreement that more than 170 countries have committed to has failed to “change a thing” on global emissions.

“Go look at the countries that are still in the Paris agreement and see what their CO2 emissions were. It’s one thing to sign a document; it’s another thing to actually change your behavior,” Pompeo told reporters Monday.

{mosads}Asked whether the U.S. remained committed to backing out of the agreement first signed by former President Obama, Pompeo said the agreement did not produce any outcomes outside of making countries “feel good” about being in the international pact.

“Go look at Chinese carbon emissions since they entered the Paris agreement. They may feel good about being in the deal. Their people may — you may feel good about their people being in the deal, but it didn’t produce — if you’re looking for a change, it didn’t change a thing,” Pompeo said.

The big picture: President Trump has vowed to pull the U.S. out of the accord at the earliest opportunity in November 2020, calling the pact an unfair deal that bound the U.S. to unequal carbon standards.

Democrats and environmentalists have derided the decision, warning it would have significant impacts on global efforts to curb greenhouse gases which are causing climate change.

What about enforcement: However, Pompeo on Monday bashed the pact for its inability to enforce emissions controls across the board. The Trump administration has long pointed to China, which produces the largest amount of carbon dioxide emissions, as having an unfair advantage in the agreement.

“Indeed, this was why President Trump withdrew, because it was a document without any enforcement mechanism that was going to cost the American people a fortune for no benefit,” he said.

Don’t forget: Pompeo’s comments come a week after House Democrats introduced a bill that seeks to recommit the U.S. to the Paris agreement.

Read more on his remarks here.


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NORTH CAROLINA REGULATORS ORDER DUKE ENERGY TO MOVE COAL ASH PITS: Regulators in North Carolina are requiring the nation’s largest energy company to change how it stores pools of toxic residue that result from burning coal.

Duke Energy must now excavate its existing coal ash ponds and move the substance to lined pits, North Carolina’s environmental agency said Monday.

The order from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires Duke Energy to store coal ash in lined pits, rebuffing the company’s request to cover the pits in order to keep out rainwater and prevent the pits from overflowing.

“The science points us clearly to excavation as the only way to protect public health and the environment,” DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan said in a statement.

Coal ash is often mixed with water to stop the substance from becoming airborne, but when stored in unlined pits, coal ash can leach into the water, depositing arsenic, lead and mercury into the water supply.

Reaction: Environmental groups praised the decision.

“North Carolina’s rivers will be cleaner, North Carolina’s drinking water will be safer, and North Carolina’s communities will be more secure,” Frank Holleman, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), said in a statement. “We will no longer have to hold our breath every time a storm, a flood, or a hurricane hits a community with unlined coal ash pits sitting on the banks of waterways.”

SELC represented numerous communities suing Duke Energy to close the coal ash pits.

Hurricane Florence in 2018 damaged a coal ash pond near the Cape Fear River, dumping coal ash into the water supply for Wilmington, N.C.

Read more here.


DEM DANGLES BILL TO EXPAND ELECTRIC CAR CREDIT: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said Monday that he’s planning to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to expand the electric vehicle tax credit and link it to domestic manufacturing, calling the bill a way to help both the environment and the economy.

“That’s a pretty concrete application of how the Green New Deal can create jobs in the United States,” Khanna, the first vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters.

Under current law, people who purchase new electric vehicles can receive a tax credit of up to $7,500. The amount of the credit phases out after a manufacturer has sold more than 200,000 electric vehicles in the United States.

The problem: In recent months, the IRS has announced that Tesla and General Motors (GM) have each sold more than 200,000 vehicles eligible for credits of $7,500, so those who purchase Tesla electric vehicles after Jan. 1 and those who purchase GM electric vehicles after April 1 will receive smaller credit amounts.

The proposal: Khanna said that under his legislation there would no longer be a cap of 200,000 and the credit would be fully refundable at the time of purchase, but the credit would be linked to automobile companies producing vehicles in the United States.

The legislation comes after GM closed a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, last month, drawing criticism from President Trump and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“Instead of Trump yelling at the GM CEO on Twitter to open up factories, which has no effect other than shoring up his base, this would say to GM, open up those factories and you can make electric SUVs because the government is actually going to help subsidize that,” Khanna said.

Where does Trump stand? Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposes repealing the electric vehicle tax credit, which the administration estimates would reduce the deficit by $2.5 billion over 10 years.

Read more on the proposal here.



EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will testify on Tuesday morning in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on the agency’s fiscal 2020 budget request.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday will also hold a hearing to discuss climate change’s impact on national security.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will also hold a hearing Tuesday on how state and local leaders are responding to climate change. 2020 Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee (Wash.) will testify.

Across the Capitol, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to look into the Energy Department’s fiscal 2020 budget request. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will testify.



-Saudi oil company named world’s most profitable business, The Guardian reports.

-30 die fighting forest fire in China, The New York Times reports.

-Lego owners to buy majority stake in US solar developer, CNBC reports.



Check out stories from Monday and over the weekend…

Rockefeller to end resilient cities push and lay off staff

-Pompeo: Paris climate accord ‘didn’t change a thing’

-NC regulators order Duke Energy to change coal ash storage

-Dem to offer bill to expand electric vehicle tax credit

-Pregnant whale found dead with nearly 50 pounds of plastic in its stomach

-ACLU sues South Dakota over pipeline protest legislation

-Cities across the world go dark for Earth Hour

-Judge declares Trump’s order to open Arctic and Atlantic waters to drilling was unlawful

-Alaska hits earliest 70-degree readings on record

-Ocasio-Cortez shuts down town hall audience member after they call GOP lawmaker a ‘moron’

-British lawmaker says Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal has given ‘hope and energy’ to UK effort

Tags Climate change coal ash Donald Trump EPA Jay Inslee Mike Pompeo North Carolina paris climate accord resiliency Rick Perry Ro Khanna
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