Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum

Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum
© Greg Nash

TRUMP, CALIFORNIA FIGHT RAGES ON: 

Today the Trump administration formally announced it will revoke California's tailpipe emissions waiver...

The Trump administration on Thursday officially revoked California's tailpipe waiver under the Clean Air Act, a decision likely to face quick legal challenges.

The Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the "One National Program Rule," giving the federal government sole authority to set emission standards for cars.

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The rule is part of the administration's Safer, Affordable, Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule, a draft of which was submitted to the White House in August.

The second part of the rule will include a final decision over what fuel efficiency levels to set emissions at starting in 2025.

Revoking California's waiver will also affect 13 other states that adopt California's tougher emissions standards.

"One national standard provides much-needed regulatory certainty for the automotive industry and sets the stage for the Trump Administration's final SAFE rule that will save lives and promote economic growth by reducing the price of new vehicles to help more Americans purchase newer, cleaner, and safer cars and trucks," EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy: Major oil companies oppose Trump admin's methane rollback | Union files unfair labor practice charge against EPA Major oil companies oppose EPA methane rollback Union files unfair labor practice charge against EPA MORE said in a statement.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days MORE on Wednesday tweeted that the waiver would be revoked while he was fundraising in California.

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraAppeals court rejects California's ban on high-capacity magazines Newsom says he has already received a number of pitches for Harris's open Senate seat Uber CEO says app will temporarily shut down in California if new ruling upheld MORE (D) has threatened to sue the administration if it moved to revoke the state's waiver. The state has relied on the waiver process to set their own tougher emissions standards for about 50 years. 

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

Read the full story here.

 

Upon leaving the state last night, Trump also knocked San Francisco...

President Trump on Wednesday said he expects the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slap San Francisco with a violation notice in the coming days related to pollution associated with the city's homeless population.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump again took aim at Los Angeles and San Francisco over the number of homeless people in each city. But he escalated his rhetoric, saying an announcement citing San Francisco for environmental violations would come in the next week.

"There's tremendous pollution being put into the ocean because they're going through what's called the storm sewer that's for rainwater," Trump said. "And we have tremendous things that we don't have to discuss pouring into the ocean. You know there are needles, there are other things."

"It's a terrible situation -- that's in Los Angeles and in San Francisco," he continued. "And we're going to be giving San Francisco, they're in total violation, we're going to be giving them a notice very soon."

Trump said the notice would come from the EPA, but did not elaborate. 

"We can't have our cities going to hell. These are great cities. And we can't lose our great cities like this," he said.

An EPA spokesperson declined to comment, citing the agency's practice on not discussing potential enforcement actions.

London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, hit back at Trump over his remarks, arguing the city was doing its part to try and address its homeless population by investing in shelter beds and mental health services.

"The president is cutting clean air and clean water standards, restricting our ability to regulate car emissions, and denying climate change even exists," Breed tweeted. "He's cut funding for homelessness and affordable housing. In SF, we're meeting the challenges on our streets."

Trump spent the last two days in California for fundraisers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. He also stopped by the U.S.-Mexico border to tour a barrier under construction.

Read more here.

 

On Capitol Hill, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler tried to dodge most questions about the "notice"...

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler dodged questions about any agency plans to bring enforcement against San Francisco, a day after President Trump derided pollution and homelessness in the city and promised a notice "very soon."

"I'm not going to comment on a potential enforcement action that we may or may not take. It's inappropriate for me to do so," Wheeler told reporters following a congressional hearing Thursday.

Asked what jurisdiction EPA had for San Francisco's homeless population, Wheeler said any actions that might be taken would involve regulatory authority under the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts for the disposal of water and waste going into the sewer systems.

He said that last week the EPA had sent a few staff members out to California "to look at some of the issues and the problems," in various California communities. But he said the agency has not "taken any official steps yet."

Read more of Wheeler's comments.

 

HAPPY THURSDAY! 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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DID SOMEONE SAY 'ANOTHER' CLIMATE FORUM?

Some highlights from the first day...

-Sanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Obama speechwriter Favreau: 'Hilarious' some media outlets calling Harris a moderate Trump to counter DNC with travel to swing states Progressives look to flex their muscle in next Congress after primary wins MORE (I-Vt.) at an MSNBC climate forum on Thursday defended his plan to shut down the fossil fuel industry, despite potential downsides for the industry's employees. 

Sanders's $16 trillion Green New Deal climate plan calls for eliminating fossil fuel use by 2050, and the 2020 candidate spoke more fully about a "just transition" for workers at the forum, which was held at Georgetown University.

Moderator Chris Hayes asked Sanders to speak to an oil field worker whose job would be threatened.   

"Bernie Sanders comes in on Day 1 and says no more. What happens?" Hayes asked.

"I'm not going to say Chris, you know if you want to press the point, that there aren't people who will be hurt. I got that. And it doesn't make me happy," Sanders said.

He said a just transition means not holding mainstream employees responsible for causing climate change.

He also said he expects growth in the clean energy sector will create new jobs to replace those lost.

Read more on Sanders' performance here and here.

 

-Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system: Presidential candidate and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson touts endorsements for progressive congressional candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Warren becomes latest 2020 rival to back Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests MORE described climate change as one symptom of an "amoral" economic system at MSNBC's climate forum Thursday.

Williamson blamed what she called a "virulent strain of capitalism that puts short-term shareholder profit before all else, before the safety and welfare of the workers, before the safety and welfare of the environment."

"The issue here is not that we have an economic system that is immoral, but that we have an economic system that is amoral," she told moderator Ali Velshi.

"A very large number of people suffer because of that, and that's why we need a revolution in our times," Williamson continued. "Our biggest issue when it comes to climate change is psychological: It's a massive state of denial."

Read more on Williamson's remarks here.

 

-Yang commits to electric presidential fleet: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew YangPoll: Majority of voters now say the government should have a universal basic income program The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump threatens Postal Service funding l Biden proposes national mask mandate l Democratic convention takes shape Bloomberg to speak at Democratic convention MORE told Georgetown University students Thursday he would electrify the entire presidential motorcade if elected president. 

"If you are president of the United States, will you lead by example and order an electric presidential vehicle?" a student asked Yang at a MSNBC town hall.

The tech entrepreneur, who previously promoted an endorsement by Tesla founder Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskHillicon Valley: GOP lawmaker says 'no place in Congress' for QAnon after supporter's primary win | Uber CEO says app could temporarily shutdown in California if ruling upheld | Federal agency warns hackers targeting small business loan program Top Republican criticizes Twitter's briefing on massive hack SpaceX is building the road to the moon and Mars in Texas MORE, said he would.

"I'll do better. If I'm president, the entire White House motor pool will be electric," Yang said.

Read more on Yang here.

Yang also floated naming a former presidential contender, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeHarris climate agenda stresses need for justice OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer | Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee | Border wall water use threatens endangered species, environmentalists say Why a rising star is leaving Congress MORE (D), as climate czar if elected. More on those remarks here.

 

ON TAP FRIDAY:

MSNBC is hosting the second day of its climate forum in Washington, D.C. Top headliners are Sound Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention MORE and New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerNew Jersey governor to announce state will move to mostly mail-in voting for November The Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' MORE.

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

To keep exports flowing, Saudi Arabia looks to import oil, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Imelda slams southeast Texas, bringing flash floods and mandatory evacuations, NBC news reports.

Greenland's disappearing ice sheet worries scientists: "One degree is everything," CBS news reports.

 

ICYMI: Stories from Thursday...

-Sanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels

-Study finds US, Canada lost 3 billion birds over last 50 years

-Sanders: 'Duh' I would use DOJ to go after fossil fuel companies

-EPA head dodges questions about environmental action against San Francisco

-Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system

-Yang commits to electric presidential fleet

-Yang floats nominating Inslee as 'climate czar'

-EPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year'

-Amazon announces sweeping new climate pledge amid employee pressure

-Trump administration officially revokes California tailpipe emissions waiver

-Trump says EPA will cite San Francisco for pollution stemming from homelessness issues

-Interior transfers parts of public lands to Army for border wall construction