Overnight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change

Overnight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change
© Greg Nash

HIGH MARKS: The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund is giving Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Biden will go after Bloomberg, Sanders at Las Vegas debate, aides say MORE (I-Vt.) the highest grade on environmental issues out of the seven major Democratic presidential candidates in its new voter guide unveiled Monday.

The group gave Sanders an A overall. He was followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll 2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll MORE (D-Mass.) with an A-minus, Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll 2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll MORE with a B.

Andrew YangAndrew YangCNN signs Andrew Yang as contributor Trump seeks split-screen moments in early primary states More accusers come forward after Evelyn Yang breaks silence on alleged assault by OBGYN MORE was given a C and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Biden will go after Bloomberg, Sanders at Las Vegas debate, aides say MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll 2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day What to watch in the debate tonight MORE both were given a C-minus. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe What to watch in the debate tonight MORE (D-Minn.) scored worst, receiving a D.

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How they were graded: The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund evaluated the candidates on the categories of "saving wildlife, protecting public lands, ensuring environmental justice and ending the climate crisis."

The evaluations were based on voting records, executive decisions, private-sector experience, campaign proposals and a questionnaire sent to the campaigns.

The guide praised Sanders's record on the environment and said he had the "strongest plan to address climate change."

It said that Klobuchar, meanwhile, "would be an unmitigated disaster for the environment" as president and that her climate plan "is the weakest of any major candidate."

Sanders has also been praised by other environmental groups. He is similarly listed as the top candidate on Greenpeace's scorecard and he received the endorsement of the youth-led Sunrise Movement. 

Read it here

 

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IT'S MONDAY!  Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.

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TRUMP'S WATER RULE MAY NOT BE ENOUGH FOR FARMERS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants MORE's new water rule cements a campaign promise to farmers to reverse a controversial Obama-era policy, but it may not be enough to win over an agricultural industry that has seen markets evaporate under his trade wars.

In the past two weeks, Trump has delivered some of his biggest wins for farmers, shepherding through an initial trade deal with China that would boost agricultural purchases, securing the passage of a new agreement with Canada and Mexico, and on Thursday, offering his replacement for Obama's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that was near universally-despised by farmers.

But Trump's efforts to woo farmers who say they are undecided for 2020 may come up short, as a new water policy will do little to counter the financial hits agricultural producers have taken from tariffs.

Trade war fallout: Disappearing markets in China have left stockpiles of soybeans. Oil policies and trade wars have diminished the market for corn-based ethanol. And extreme weather has made it a tough year for farming in the Midwest. 

"A lot of farmers voted for him with the hope of better days, let's put it that way, and then between the trade issues and the ethanol issues the bloom is of the rose," said Tim Dufault, a self-described "radical moderate" who grows wheat and soybeans on his fourth-generation family farm in Crookston, Minn.

"There's been a lot of grumbling. It's all going to depend on who the candidate is that he'll be facing this fall, but I've got to think that there are a good chunk of farmers that supported him this time are going to be bailing this fall."

Trump's new water policy, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, was welcome news to a wide variety of farm and industry groups. The rule removes federal protections for many smaller bodies of water--a direct contrast to Obama's WOTUS, which faced a slew of legal battles as farmers and others argued it was overreaching and would subject huge swaths of land to federal oversight.

Of course, different farmers, different opinions: "This new rule I think is definitely going to swing some people in the direction of Trump," said Shayne Isane, a farmer with 5,000 acres outside Badger, Minn., just 25 miles south of the Canadian border.

A self-professed moderate who has hosted 2020 hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on his farm, Isane said his initially favorable view of Trump has faltered over the last three years. But he's starting to warm to him again--describing him as a president, fresh off a speech to the Farm Bureau's annual conference, that has always prioritized agriculture.  

"We haven't had a lot of good news in farm country, and we needed some wins, and now we've had three in a row," he said, referring to the two trade deals and the new water rule. "I think that will get some support for Trump in the heartland and in the ag community."

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But the new water rule, popular as it may be, may not have the same sway as the trade deals.

Read more on the political impacts of the rule here

 

PROTESTING AMAZON: More than 350 Amazon workers are speaking out about climate change, defying the company's policy on making public comments about business activity.

In a Medium post on Sunday night, 357 employees posted quotes critical of climate-related actions taken by the online retail giant.

They said in a separate statement posted to Twitter that the quotes were to protest "Amazon's newly updated external communications policy, which forbids employees from speaking about the company's business without prior approval."

The workers said the new policy was unveiled last year after Amazon employees said they would participate in a climate strike in September.

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"This clearly shows that as Amazon tech workers have reflected upon what is the right thing to do at this moment, they decided that they needed to keep speaking out," software development engineer Victoria Liang said in the Twitter statement.

"Every person who shared a statement had to decide for themselves that whatever the consequences, they needed to stand up for what they felt was right. The climate crisis is just that urgent. We just couldn't be silenced by these policies on issues of such moral weight," Liang added.

The back story: The Medium post follows a report earlier this month from The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative Bezos launching initiative that commits billion to combat climate change MORE, that said Amazon threatened to fire at least two employees who expressed concern about the company's environmental policies.

Amazon's side: Representatives from Amazon told The Hill at the time that the company's external communications policy was "not new and we believe is similar to other large companies."

After employees said they would participate in the September climate strike, Bezos announced that the company would commit to carbon neutrality by 2040 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

In response to a request for comment Monday, an Amazon spokesperson highlighted those commitments in a statement to The Hill. Employees are encouraged to suggest improvements internally, according to Amazon.

Read more on the employees' climate statement here.

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GARDNER UNDER PRESSURE: Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Impeachment fallout threatens to upend battle for Senate MORE (R-Colo.) is being targeted by a six-figure ad campaign seeking to pressure him into supporting legislation aiming to protect Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

Alaska Wilderness League Action is spending $150,000 on ads that will start running on Monday and highlight the vulnerable Republican's record on drilling. 

"Tell Senator Gardner to stop betraying Colorado values and support legislation protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," concludes the 30-second spot. 

Gardner is up for reelection this year and is viewed as one of the GOP's most vulnerable senators. 

Read more on the ad here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will examine the impact of wildfires on the power sector and the environment. 

Also on Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on three water-related bills and a separate hearing on a bill regarding reporting of fossil fuel extraction and emissions.

The House Agriculture committee will review implementation of farm bill conservation programs.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

Northeast governors slow to embrace regional climate pact, the Associated Press reports. 

Oh no! Climate change threatens world's wine supply, USA Today reports.

GM investing billions in Michigan plant to produce electric trucks, SUVs, we report.

Lawsuit planned to stop Idaho-Wyoming natural gas pipeline, the Associated Press reports.

 

ICYMI: Stories from Monday and the weekend...

Hundreds of Amazon employees defy company policy by speaking out about climate

Fifth congressional Democrat backs Bloomberg in 2020 race

Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide

Ad campaign pressures Gardner on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge bill

Greta Thunberg slams AP photo that cropped out Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate

Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage