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: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 Pelosi: Sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo 'credible' MORE (N.Y) and Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanDemocrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House rescinds Trump proposal to restrict greenhouse gas consideration | Texas governor limits shipping natural gas out-of-state amid power shortages | Lawmakers clash over gun prohibition in Natural Resources committee room Lawmakers clash over gun prohibition in Natural Resources Committee room 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 WheelerEPA sued by environmental groups over Trump-era smog rule Environmental groups sue over federal permit for Virgin Islands refinery OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 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 TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 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 BidenBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Myanmar military conducts violent night raids Confidence in coronavirus vaccines has grown with majority now saying they want it 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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