OVERNIGHT ENERGY: More than 70 lawmakers join suit challenging Trump power plant rollbacks | Ranchers sue Trump administration, arguing water rollback is federal overreach |Democrats press Trump administration over plan to reopen national parks

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: More than 70 lawmakers join suit challenging Trump power plant rollbacks | Ranchers sue Trump administration, arguing water rollback is federal overreach |Democrats press Trump administration over plan to reopen national parks

ACE IN THE HOLE: More than 70 Democratic lawmakers from both chambers have joined a suit challenging the Trump administration for rolling back Obama-era power plant regulations.

The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August scraps former President Obama’s Clean Power Plant (CPP) rule. Lawmakers in the House and Senate filed separate amicus briefs in opposition to the rule late Friday.

The ACE rule aims to give states more time and authority to decide how to implement the best new technology to ease net emissions from coal-fired plants. The rule does not set any standards to cap those emissions.


Critics argue ACE allows for only modest pollution controls at power plants, a feature that, if upheld, could hamstring future administrations from addressing climate-altering pollution through regulation under the Clean Air Act.

“The Clean Air Act and its amendments granted EPA authority with significant flexibility to address unforeseen air pollution challenges, including climate change,” Democratic Reps. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court upholds permit for B pipeline under Appalachian Trail | Report finds NOAA 'Sharpiegate' statement 'not based on science' but political influence | EPA faces suit over plan to release genetically engineered mosquito Report finds NOAA 'sharpiegate' statement 'not based on science' but political influence Democrats call for green energy relief in next stimulus package MORE (N.Y) and Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Overnight Energy: Biden campaign says he would revoke Keystone XL permit | EPA emails reveal talks between Trump officials, chemical group before 2017 settlement | Tensions emerge on Natural Resources panel over virtual meetings Tensions emerge on Natural Resources panel over virtual meetings MORE (Calif.) wrote in a statement after filing a brief alongside 70 other lawmakers.

“We will continue to oppose this administration’s willful misinterpretations of environmental laws that seek to justify rolling back critical public health protections and undermine future administrations’ ability to safeguard our environment and the American people,” they wrote.

The Trump EPA had long argued the Clean Power Plant rule was too broad, creating an undue burden on industry.

"CPP's overreach would have driven up energy prices for consumers and businesses alike," EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerWatchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House threatens veto on Democrats' .5 trillion infrastructure plan | Supreme Court won't hear border wall challenge | Witnesses describe 'excessive force' used by law enforcement in Lafayette Square Stronger pollution standards could save 143k lives: study MORE said when the rule was first released. "We are proposing a better plan — it respects the rule of law and will enable states to build affordable, clean, reliable energy portfolios."

Reached for comment Monday, the agency said, "EPA looks forward to defending the Affordable Clean Energy Rule before the court."

Read more about the lawmakers’ brief here.


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RANCH ADDRESSING: A group of ranchers sued the Trump administration Monday over a rollback to an Obama-era water rule they argue is still too strict.

At stake is the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, a rule President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE repeatedly promised to deliver for farmers who complained previous policy left huge swaths of their land subject to federal oversight.

But the suit from the New Mexico Cattlemen’s Association argues the latest Trump replacement is both too strict, violating “the Constitution, the Clean Water Act, and Supreme Court precedent,” and lacking key definitions.

“The act does not define ‘navigable,’” they argued, leaving it unclear whether it falls to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Army Corps of Engineers or the state to regulate various water bodies.

But they said the rule “provides no guidance or criteria to the agencies” to sort out who will oversee what.

Environmental groups, who have likewise pledged to sue over the rule, see it differently.

“This is not just undoing the clean water rule promulgated by the Obama administration. This is going back to the lowest level of protection we’ve seen in the last 50 years,” Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said when the rule was announced in January. “This is a staggering rollback.”

Read more about the litigation here.

S-PARKING CONTROVERSY: House Democrats are questioning the Trump administration over its plan to reopen "as rapidly as possible" certain national parks that closed amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, President Trump said that his administration would begin to reopen national parks and public lands. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a tweet that the president told him to “promptly restore access to our magnificent national parks.”

Critics have expressed concern that allowing crowds to gather at the parks could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. 

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee questioned the Interior Department in a Monday letter about its timeline and criteria for opening parks and public lands. 

“In spite of these concerns and the rising number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., the administration has continued to encourage public lands visits without implementing clear protocols to ensure the health and safety of visitors and employees,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“In the face of this unprecedented crisis, it is crucial that any decisions to reopen national parks and other public land sites prioritize the health and safety of visitors, employees, and local communities and that they are guided by directives from public health experts and local officials,” they added. 

In response to the letter, Interior spokesperson Conner Swanson told The Hill in an email that "the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be our highest priority."

"Every operational change made at a national park or on our public lands during this pandemic has been led by federal, state and local public health officials. In following current federal, state and local public health guidance, the NPS [National Parks Service] continues to examine each facility function and service, ensuring our actions to increase access are done in a safe manner,” Swanson added. 

Bernhardt separately said in a statement over the weekend that his department and the National Park Service “are working to reopen the American people’s national parks as rapidly as possible.”

Read more about the plan and reactions to it here.



Loan it in...Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said this weekend that the Trump administration is considering loans for oil companies. 

“We’re looking at it carefully. The secretary of Energy and I are studying it and we’re looking at it very carefully,” Mnuchin said while appearing on “Fox News Sunday.”

He stressed that the administration wouldn’t give shareholder bailouts to oil companies or any other companies. 

“The president has said no bailouts to any companies, whether that was airlines or oil companies,” the Treasury chief said. 

Green stimulus? Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Joe Biden wins New Jersey primary Biden wins Delaware primary MORE signaled support for including environmental measures in the next stimulus package.

Biden told Politico he envisions a “trillion-dollar infrastructure program that can be implemented really rapidly,” as well as “dealing with environmental things that create good-paying jobs.”

On his list of pet projects are investments in light rail, clean drinking water and deploying half a million electric vehicle chargers on the nation’s highways.



Satellite images reveal huge amounts of methane leaking from U.S. oil fields, CBS News reports

NYC comptroller urges major insurers to sever ties with coal industry, Reuters reports

Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists, The Guardian reports

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