Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Protesters plan Black Friday climate strike | ‘Father of EPA’ dies | Democrats push EPA to abandon methane rollback

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NOT THAT KIND OF BLACK FRIDAY: Cities across the U.S. will see climate strikes on Black Friday with youth protesters aiming to bring attention to climate action.

The protests, organized by nine youth climate activist groups, will take place in cities including Chicago, Sacramento, Calif., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

The rallies are the latest in an ongoing series of organized national strikes demanding climate action from U.S. leaders. 

Groups organizing the strike include the Sunrise Foundation and Extinction Rebellion Youth, both groups that recently staged sit-ins in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) Washington, D.C., office to demand more be done on climate change.

The aim of Friday’s protests is to turn America’s attention away from the traditional shopping deals and towards an imperiled planet.

“On a day typically reserved for deals and shopping, youth in America will boycott this trend and call for a change to business-as-usual to confront the climate crisis,” the groups said in a statement.

Read more on their plans here.

 

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RIP TO AN EPA ORIGINAL: William D. Ruckelshaus, the so-called father of the EPA, died Wednesday at age 87. Ruckelshaus led the EPA from its inception in 1970 through 1973 and again from 1983 through 1985, solidifying its mission to protect public health and the environment.

He also made headlines as deputy attorney general of the Nixon administration, refusing to fire special investigator Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal.

Ruckelshaus had also been critical of the agency’s direction under the Trump administration as well as Republicans’ refusal to accept the science behind climate change.

“It’s a threat to the country,” he told HuffPost in January 2018. “If you don’t step up and take care of real problems, and don’t do anything about it, lives will be sacrificed.” 

More on Ruckelshaus here.

 

METHANE PUSHBACK: Four Democratic senators are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abandon a regulatory rollback they say benefits the oil and gas industry.

The agency has twice issued proposals to roll back a 2016 Obama administration rule on methane, a heat trapping gas more potent than carbon that is released during oil and gas production.

The latest proposal, released in August, would eliminate current requirements on oil and gas companies to install technology to monitor methane emissions from pipelines, wells and facilities.

A letter from Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) asks the EPA to withdraw the proposal entirety, saying it was unduly influenced by industry.

“There is no substantive difference between an agency explicitly telling a company or industry to write a rule for it, and an agency telling a company or industry it will write whatever rule the company or industry wants. In both cases, the substance is all industry, whatever the letterhead, and the public interest is ignored,” the senators wrote in a letter Thursday. 

The EPA has said the oil and gas industry already has an incentive to capture methane rather than flare it off.  

“EPA’s proposal delivers on President Trump’s executive order and removes unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement when the latest rule was announced, referring to a 2017 order pushing for a review of regulation that “potentially burden” domestic energy production.

“The Trump Administration recognizes that methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use. Since 1990, natural gas production in the United States has almost doubled while methane emissions across the natural gas industry have fallen by nearly 15 percent. Our regulations should not stifle this innovation and progress.” 

Oil and gas companies have largely been in support of regulating methane.

Read more on the controversy here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

-Dover, Del., clears path for extending water lines to homes, businesses affected by contamination, WBOC reports. 

-Evacuations ordered after plant explosion in southeastern Texas, NBC News reports.

-China says it has already hit 2020 carbon reduction goal, we report.

 

ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday…

Youth protesters plan Black Friday climate strike

Americans could use renewable energy from solar, wind and hydro power more than coal by 2021

Democratic senators push EPA to abandon methane rollback

China says it has already hit 2020 carbon reduction goal

Tags Andrew Wheeler Black Friday Chris Van Hollen climate action Donald Trump EPA father Jeff Merkley Nancy Pelosi Sheldon Whitehouse Tammy Duckworth

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