Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists

Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists
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CAFE ALL DAY: It was a busy day of tit for tat in President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Esper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients 'if push comes to shove' Schumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar MORE's battle with California. 


Because it's 2019, of course this day starts with a tweet: President Trump announced on Wednesday that his administration will be removing California's tailpipe emissions waiver under the Clean Air Act, a decision likely to face fierce backlash in courts.

Trump made the announcement via Twitter while touring California for private fundraisers and a visit to the border with Mexico. The tweet came just before he was scheduled to deliver remarks at a breakfast with donors at a downtown Los Angeles hotel.

"The Trump Administration is revoking California's Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER," Trump tweeted.


"This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars."

Trump added that the administration's new standard -- which has not yet been released -- would have "very little difference in emissions between the California Standard and the new U.S. Standard."

He said, though, that the rule would be "far safer and much less expensive" and lead to more car production.

"Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business," he tweeted in the thread.

The Clean Air Act allows California to set more stringent emissions standards -- something the state has done for decades. Thirteen other states chose to adopt those tougher standards. 

Trump's announcement also indicates the White House is moving ahead with plans to split its auto emissions rule into two parts, a move seen as a way to speed up the process of finalizing the hotly debated deregulation. The final draft of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule was submitted to the White House in August.

Read more here


Less than an hour later, California responds: Officials in California said on Wednesday that they will fight the Trump administration's plans to revoke the state's authority to set its own emissions standards.

"There's no question, of course, that we will be in court," California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said in a press conference.

"This is the fight of a lifetime. We have to win this," she added.

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher Newsom16 things to know today about coronavirus outbreak Newsom: Number of California coronavirus patients in ICU quadrupled in past week Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll MORE (D) said Trump is trampling on states' rights.

"That's not about states' rights. That's about bullying and intimidation. That's unethical," he said, pointing to automakers' opposition to Trump's measures.

"It's about the oil industry, period. Full stop," he added. "It's not about the car manufacturers; it's not about consumers."

California and the administration have been at loggerheads on a number of issues, in addition to vehicle emissions. The two sides have also failed to reach an agreement on a related standard on fuel economy. While the Trump administration has proposed rolling back Obama-era mileage goals, California has been working to get automakers to voluntarily meet higher fuel economy standards.

California's leaders were light on details for the basis of their legal challenge to Trump's latest move, but state Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraT-Mobile, Sprint complete merger Overnight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus Court OKs Trump repeal of Obama public lands fracking rule MORE (D) said states also have due process rights.

"If the arguments in the president's tweets are the arguments they would use to propel this initiative, then we're looking pretty good," Becerra said. "That's perhaps why they've taken so long to issue something they've been saying forever that they were going to do. They can't find a way to square the facts and the science with what they're trying to do."

Read more here.


Meanwhile, Democrats are calling for more automakers to join a deal with California: A pair of Democratic senators are among those calling for more automakers to join with four car companies that have already pledged to meet stronger tailpipe emissions standards, despite the Trump administration's effort to roll back regulations.

"Four auto companies demonstrated real courage to work with California and other states to determine a responsible alternative," said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards MORE (D-Del.), ranking member of the House Environment and Public Works Committee, on a call with reporters Wednesday.

 "The other auto companies, about a dozen, they remain silent in the face of today's reckless announcement. You don't have to stay stuck in neutral."

Carper, along with Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Overnight Energy: Critics blast EPA move as 'license to pollute' during pandemic | Trump expected to roll back Obama mileage standards| Group plans to sue over rollback of water law Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Chinese official's virus disinformation doesn't violate rules | Hackers target WHO | Senators urge agencies to stop coronavirus robocalls MORE (D-Mass.), California Air and Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary Nichols and Margo Oge, former Director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said now was the time for more automakers to join in with Honda, Volkswagen, Ford and BMW of North America, all carmakers who announced a partnership with the Golden State in July to produce cars with higher emissions reduction standards.

Read more here


It's Wednesday! And welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. 

Please send tips and comments to Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com and Rebecca Beitsch, rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @mirandacgreen, @rebeccabeitsch and @thehill.

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GRETA THUNBERG IS ON THE HILL: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told lawmakers during congressional testimony Wednesday that they should "listen to the best available science" and act quickly to curb the catastrophic impact of climate change.

"I have met people whose communities were simply destroyed by natural disasters ... amplified by the climate crisis," Thunberg, 16, said at a hearing co-hosted by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment.

"I have met people whose food and water supplies are being threatened by climate-related catastrophes," the activist added. "We are already seeing the unacceptable consequences of this today, and it will only get worse the longer we delay action unless we start to act now."

Thunberg arrived in New York City on Sept. 11 after traveling to the United States by emissions-free boat to reduce her carbon footprint. She is scheduled to participate in the United Nations Action Summit on Sept. 23.

Thunberg gained international attention last year when she inspired young people around the world to organize strikes to protest what she called inadequate government action on climate change.

On Wednesday, she was joined on Capitol Hill by other young climate activists who offered testimony.

Read more here


And if you want to know more about the teenager capturing all this attention on Capitol Hill, check out our 5 things to know feature on Greta Thunberg. 



-Democrats held the first hearing on their efforts to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050: House Democrats on Wednesday floated several strategies to reduce carbon emissions from industry, including boosting carbon capture technology and investing in innovation, during a first hearing for their push for the U.S. to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.

"We cannot achieve meaningful climate targets such as our economy-wide net-zero by midcentury goal without significantly reducing industrial emissions," said Rep. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoBottom Line Trump administration expected to roll back Obama-era mileage standards As we face coronavirus battle, we must ensure critical supplies of respirators for health care workers MORE (D-N.Y.) who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate change.

The hearing came two months after Democrats on the committee first announced their intentions to produce climate legislation by the end of the year.

Read more here.

-Coalition of farmers and ranchers endorses Green New Deal: A national coalition representing thousands of farmers and ranchers endorsed the Green New Deal on Wednesday, with Democratic lawmakers from agricultural states offering their support.

"It makes all the sense in the world that farmers and ranchers support our Green New Deal resolution," Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandPressure mounts for national parks closure amid coronavirus We must demand our government decrease emissions from federal public lands Asian Pacific American Caucus vice chair 'shocked and dismayed' GOP leader referred to 'Chinese coronavirus' MORE (D-N.M.), a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, said at a news conference Wednesday.

Regeneration International, one of the organizers of the ranchers and farmers coalition, argued that overhauling the agricultural sector could help sequester carbon emissions in the soil, reversing the industry's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more here.

-Former NOAA heads criticize agency leaders, Trump over 'political attacks' against the agency: Four former administrators for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are objecting to what they call "political attacks" against the agency and criticizing the Trump administration and the agency leaders after controversy over the projected path of Hurricane Dorian.

Former agency heads Kathy Sullivan, Jane Lubchenco, Conrad Lautenbacher, and D. James Baker along with more than 200 former employees and scientists signed a letter voicing their support of science-minded employees at NOAA and its National Weather Service (NWS), writing that the White House made the "wrong choice" when it threw "the agency and its employees under the bus" after the recent controversy over whether Hurricane Dorian was predicted to hit the state of Alabama.

The open letter addressed to Neil Jacobs, acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA, criticized the administration's handling of a tweet by Birmingham, Ala., based NWS staff that said the storm was not supposed to hit Alabama. The tweet followed one from President Trump that had warned residents of the state they could be hit by the hurricane.

"Political leadership at NOAA also has choices. They can make sure that NWS has what it needs to do its job in the face of an imminent natural disaster, or they can just as easily throw the agency and its employees under the bus. In this case, both the White House and NOAA leadership made the wrong choice," the letter wrote.

Read more here.



Georgetown University and MSNBC are kicking off a two-day climate forum with many 2020 candidates. You may remember some front-runners declined to participate.

On the Hill, EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy: Critics blast EPA move as 'license to pollute' during pandemic | Trump expected to roll back Obama mileage standards| Group plans to sue over rollback of water law Trump administration expected to roll back Obama-era mileage standards Overnight Energy: EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus | Trump oil purchase in jeopardy | Analysis finds gasoline demand could fall 50 percent MORE will appear before the Science, Space and Technology Committee to discuss science and technology at the EPA.

A House Appropriations panel will hold a hearing on how marine debris impacts ocean ecosystems.

Thursday is also a busy day for the House Natural Resources Committee, where subcommittees are reviewing a number of bills.  



-Colorado is the first state prepared to fight fires from the air at night, KUNC reports.

-South Dakota governor says recent weather a 'slow-rolling natural disaster of epic proportions,' the Argus Leader reports. 

-Northam lays out renewable energy goals for Virginia, calls for carbon-free electricity by 2050, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.


ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday...

Senators call for more automakers to join emissions deal with California

Democrats hold first hearing in push for clean energy by 2050

Coalition of farmers and ranchers endorses Green New Deal

Former NOAA heads criticize agency leaders, Trump over 'political attacks' against the agency

Climate activist Greta Thunberg implores lawmakers to 'listen to the best available science'

California prepares court action against Trump's move on tailpipe emissions

Greta Thunberg disputes GOP lawmaker's metaphor on pollution

5 things to know about climate activist Greta Thunberg

Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe emissions waiver while visiting state

Watchdog group sues BLM for relocation docs

US youth climate activists to join Thunberg in protest at Supreme Court