Overnight Energy: Advisory panel pushes park service to privatize campgrounds | Dems urge Perry to keep lightbulb efficiency rules | Marshall Islands declares national climate crisis

Overnight Energy: Advisory panel pushes park service to privatize campgrounds | Dems urge Perry to keep lightbulb efficiency rules | Marshall Islands declares national climate crisis
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IT WOULD PROBABLY BE A-OK WITH KOA: A committee that reports to the National Park Service (NPS) is recommending privatizing campgrounds within national parks, limiting benefits for senior visitors and allowing food trucks as a way to bring more money into the system.

The panel that shared the ideas was formed under former Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks Interior disbands advisory board that floated privatization at national parks Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE, part of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, designed to "advise the Secretary of the Interior on public-private partnerships across all public lands." 

The memo prepared by the Subcommittee on Recreation Enhancement Through Reorganization highlights privatization and an increase in contracts with private companies as a way to offer services such as Wi-Fi, food and equipment rentals to draw more visitors to parks.


The subcommittee called park campgrounds "the victims" of park infrastructure problems as the U.S. park service faces a $12 billion maintenance backlog.

"There is also broad consensus that the current national park campground system, largely operated by federal employees, combines inadequate and outmoded visitor infrastructure," the memo reads, saying campgrounds lack funds, have not kept up with demand and they fail "to meet expectations of the contemporary camping market." 

Interior react: A spokesman for the Department of the Interior, which oversees NPS, said they have yet to be formally provided the Sept. 24 memo. 

"As we do with all recommendations that we get, we'll review the report and respond accordingly but there has been no action taken on any of these recommendations," Interior spokesman Nick Goodwin told The Hill.

The big picture: Privatization has been a growing trend among state parks that have struggled to cover operations through park fees alone, with many seeking to bring in new recreational opportunities to attract visitors, such as archery lessons or ropes courses.

But privatizing campgrounds in national parks could be a polarizing idea, particularly since many view parks as a way to provide time in the outdoors to Americans of all stripes and don't want to see some visitors priced out of visiting national treasures. 

Jayson O'Neill, deputy director of the Western Values Project, a conservation group, said in a release that "the move would hurt working Americans, [and] it would fill the pockets of Trump donors who stand to benefit from lucrative contracts."

Read more on the proposal here


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CLIMATE EMERGENCY: The Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of the lowest lying island nations in the world, has declared a national emergency over climate change.

The country's president, Hilda Heine, tweeted the news Friday, blaming the international community for not acting quickly enough to mitigate global warming "of its own making."

"Our parliament has officially declared a national climate crisis. As one of only four low-lying coral atoll nations in the world, the failure of the international community to adequately respond to the global climate crisis of its own making holds particularly grave consequences," she tweeted.

The official declaration of the "National Climate Crisis" cites the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned of the extreme climate effects expected to impact low-lying atoll nations.

The report predicted that a global average temperature rise between 1 and 3 degrees Celsius could result in an average sea level rise between 1 and 4 feet by 2100.

Such significant water rising could have grave impacts on the Marshall Islands, an archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean. At that rate, sea level rise and erosion are expected to make the islands nearly uninhabitable by 2050. The country's 29 atolls average 6.5 feet above sea level. Nearly 75,000 people live there.

The resolution says it's a decision by the government to "unite fully and equivocally behind the science" and recognize calls by the country's youth and their "right to a climate safe future." It adds that the declaration puts climate concerns at the forefront of the nation's mind.

"The declaration will direct the current and future governments of the Marshall Islands to ensure the fight against climate change remains the country's top priority," it says.

Read more here


NOT A BRIGHT IDEA, DEMS SAY: Senate Democrats are urging Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryNew Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits MORE not to follow through with a rule that eliminates efficiency standards for about half the bulbs on the market.

The regulation, finalized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in September, leaves in place rules for standard pear-shaped bulbs, while removing such requirements for recessed lighting, chandeliers and other shapes of bulbs.

"These rollbacks are indefensible, both in terms of their costs to consumers and their contravention of Congressional intent," they wrote in a letter spearheaded by Sens. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyWarren proposes 'Blue New Deal' to protect oceans There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trump administration drops plan to face scan all travelers leaving or entering US MORE (D-Mass.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East | Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Biden reveals four women he could pick as his running mate MORE (D-N.H.). "These standards protect consumer budgets and the climate."

The senators want Perry to continue to apply the efficiency standards to the full range of bulb shapes covered under the Obama administration. 

Failing to do so, they say, will cost the average consumer an extra $100 on their electricity bill each year, while emitting 38 million metric tons of carbon annually.

DOE has argued its rule will have little impact given the increasing demand for LED bulbs, which use less electricity than many other types.

"This rule does not prevent consumers from buying the lamps they desire, including efficient options," the agency wrote in the rule. "The market is successfully transitioning to LEDs regardless of government regulation. Consumers are clearly taking advantage of the energy savings provided by LEDs."

Read more here.



Senate Democrats will force a vote to repeal the Trump administration's new power plant pollution rule.

On Tuesday, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will review technology to address lead removal

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on aquaculture.

Later that day, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on how disease impacts wildlife management. 

On Thursday, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a hearing on green buildings.

Also that day, House Natural Resources will review pathways to achieving net-zero emissions

Also Thursday, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on reducing emissions

And the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on petroleum reserves.



-Authorities order 100,000 evacuated in California wildfire, The Associated Press reports.

-Outages include Southern California as fires spread, the Los Angeles Times reports.

-Fishermen live in stain of Venezuela's broken oil industry, the Associated Press reports.


ICYMI: Stories from Friday...

-Democrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules

-Jane Fonda arrested during climate change protest outside Capitol

-Marshall Islands declares national climate crisis

-Committee pushes National Park Service to privatize campgrounds

-Japan bracing for super typhoon during Rugby World Cup, Grand Prix

-Anne Hathaway defends Greta Thunberg from 'textbook misogyny'