Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill

Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill
© Aaron Schwartz

AN EXCUSE TO RECUSE: A trio of Democratic senators is asking President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE's ambassador to the United Nations to recuse herself from dealing with the Paris climate accord as the White House prepares to formally withdraw from the landmark agreement.

A letter to Kelly Craft questions if she has too many conflicts of interest to be involved given her financial and personal ties to the industry.

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Craft has $63 million invested in coal, oil and natural gas, according to the letter, and she's the wife of Joe Craft, CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, one of the largest coal companies in the U.S.

"Given your extensive family ties to the coal industry, and given that decisions about climate inherently involve decisions about the future of coal, we urge you to agree to recuse yourself from any actions to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement," wrote Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate committee advances budget reform plan Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill MORE (D-Ore.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid States, green groups challenge rollback of Obama-era lightbulb rules Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill MORE (D-Mass.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators seek documents on Trump's alleged call for Barr press conference Senate committee advances budget reform plan Bipartisan Enzi-Whitehouse budget bill a very bad fix for deficits MORE (D-R.I.).

The State Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Trump has often bragged about withdrawing from the Paris accord, making an announcement in the Rose Garden in 2017 to say he intended to do so.

But the agreement doesn't allow him to begin the formal yearlong withdrawal process until Monday. The U.S. would officially be out of the deal the same date in 2020 -- just one day after the presidential elections.

All signs indicate the White House is gearing up for a formal withdrawal.

Read it here

 

TGIF! 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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TIDBITS:

Green group sues three agencies for data on climate science attacks... An environmental group is bringing a lawsuit against three government agencies, arguing they've failed to fulfill several public document requests released to climate science changes.

The Environmental Defense Fund sued the Interior Department, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) Thursday for public documents related to reports that the Trump administration is attacking climate science.

"[The public] has a strong interest in understanding the extent to which the current administration and defendants are seeking, or have sought, to undermine established scientific conclusions about the threat of climate change to the national security interests of the United States," the group wrote in its complaint.

The new suit brings the tally of agencies that EDF has sued to release Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) information to ten in total. The suits were filed over the past seven months, the group said.

A number of environmental and watchdog groups have sued the Trump administration to force the released of public documents. The Interior Department and other agencies have pointed to a jump in FOIA requests as a major reason for delays in responses.

Read the complaint here.

 

Calls for investigation of Dakota Access Pipeline spill... Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is pushing for answers from a major oil company after its pipelines spilled hundreds of thousands of acres in North Dakota.

The Keystone Pipeline leaked roughly 383,000 gallons of crude oil this week, one of the largest spills in North Dakota history. 

"These recurring pipeline incidents call into question whether TC Energy should continue to operate this pipeline if it cannot do so safely," Markey wrote in his letter to president and CEO Russel Girling. "They further call into question President Trump's March 2019 decision to promote the pipeline's expansion by granting permission for the construction of Keystone XL. That decision flies in the face of the climate crisis and -- as is becoming increasingly clear -- public safety and acceptable operating practices." 

The pipelines have been sharply opposed by tribes in the state who argued they were unsafe and risk contaminating drinking water.

Read the letter here

 

Thunberg to join Los Angeles oil drilling protest... Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg will join a Los Angeles school strike on Friday to protest drilling.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Thunberg, 16, will join almost a dozen California teenagers and college students who want state and local authorities to work to end fossil fuel production. 

They are reportedly demanding a suspension of new oil drilling and a 2,500 foot distance between drilling locations and homes. 

"We're not going to stop striking until they start listening to us," organizer Chandini Brennan Agarwal, 16, told the Times. "Even though our focus this time is oil wells in California, we're still trying to send a message about the climate crisis to politicians worldwide."  

Read more here

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

The House is out next week, but the Senate... is not.

On Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing with Katharine MacGregor, who has been nominated as the new deputy secretary at the Department of the Interior.

On Wednesday, the same committee will hold a hearing on various bills while the Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that tweaks the Clean Air Act.

On Thursday, Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on a bill examining royalties and another that looks to boost renewable energy development on public lands. 

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

California governor calls on residents to stop 'harassing' power company workers, the Sacramento Bee reports. 

Exxon Mobil profit falls 49 percent as oil and gas prices decline, The Washington Post reports.

Patagonia to Sue Trump Over Endangered Species Rules, Bloomberg reports.