OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump orders cuts in regulations that 'inhibit economic recovery' | Green group calls for Energy secretary to step down over 'redlining' comment | Daily carbon emissions drop 17 percent

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump orders cuts in regulations that 'inhibit economic recovery' | Green group calls for Energy secretary to step down over 'redlining' comment | Daily carbon emissions drop 17 percent
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LOSING INHIBITIONS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE signed an executive order Tuesday directing agencies to consider what sort of deregulatory action they might take that could spur economic growth.

The order directs agency heads to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” highlighting that regulations could be permanently or temporarily lifted.

“Just as we continue to battle COVID-19 itself, so too must we now join together to overcome the effects the virus has had on our economy,” the order states.

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“Agencies should address this economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.”

The order comes as more than 35 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits amid the economic fallout stemming from the coronavirus.

Trump announced the executive order at a Cabinet meeting at the White House, telling Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Bottom line Democrats to probe Trump's replacement of top Transportation Dept. watchdog MORE the order “gives you tremendous power to cut regulation.”

“And we want to leave it that way,” he said. “In some cases we won’t be able to but in other cases we will.”

The executive order is the latest deregulatory effort from an administration that in its easiest days required agencies to revoke two regulations for every new rule they want to issue.

Some agencies have already loosened requirements amid the pandemic.

A March memo from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alerted industry it would suspend enforcement of environmental laws that require companies to monitor their pollution.

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Read more on the executive order here

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COMING SOON, TO A COMPUTER NEAR YOU: On Thursday, May 21, The Hill hosts Advancing the American Economy, a national virtual summit to discuss a responsible reopening of the US economy. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Val Demings calls for a new DOJ Office of Police Standards; Trump, GOP to pull convention from NC Lobbying world MORE joins Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead On The Money: Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of needing another COVID-19 relief bill | 2.4 million more Americans file new jobless claims | Top bank regulator abruptly announces resignation Overnight Health Care: Trump says US won't close over second COVID-19 wave | Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of needing another COVID-19 relief bill | Why the US has the most reported coronavirus cases in the world MORE for a headline interview followed by an afternoon of discussions with leading CEOs and national health experts. Additional speakers to be announced. Register Now!     

Read more on the tension here

DRAWING A LINE: The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is calling for the resignation of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette after he compared banks' refusal to finance certain oil and gas projects to redlining.

“Trump Energy Secretary Brouillette should step down immediately for his offensive comments that completely dismiss the experience black communities had and have with discriminatory lending practices,”  LCV President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. 

“The racist practice of redlining contributed to inequities, including environmental racism, that continue to plague the health and well-being of communities of color today,” he added. “Our Department of Energy should be focused on ensuring all people can live in clean, safe, and healthy communities right now, not using ignorant language to bail out Big Oil.”

Brouillette, in an interview with Axios, stated that he didn’t want banks to “be redlining” oil and gas in response some of them refusing to fund fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic. 

"For years and years and years, banks would not lend money, insurance companies would not write policies in minority areas in the country,” he said. “Redlining is the term used all throughout those debates. We didn’t want banks redlining certain parts of the country. We don’t want that here. I do not think banks should be redlining our oil and gas investment across the country."

Redlining refers to discriminatory tactics used to prevent minorities from buying homes. In the past, banks systematically declined to extend loans to applicants who were looking to buy homes if those applicants were from areas with large minority populations.

That now-illegal practice was named in reference to red lines drawn on maps to demarcate certain neighborhoods.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes defended Brouillette’s remark, telling The Hill in a statement that the administration official “was not in any way equating the plight of minority communities to that of energy companies.”

She said that Brouillette instead made “the powerful point that historically there had been discrimination practiced by some in the financial services industry, a custom he and many others worked hard to eliminate and continue to oppose.”

In recent months, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Morgan Stanley have said they will not directly finance new fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Republicans have previously condemned this as “discriminating” against energy companies. Brouilette himself also said last month that he would work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to make sure banks and lenders don’t make “discriminatory decisions” against oil and gas companies when issuing coronavirus relief loans. 

The story is here

ENDANGER OF LOSING: A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a challenge to its rollback of endangered species protections, ruling late Monday that the 17-state lawsuit can proceed.

The August rule significantly weakens protections under the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing economic factors to be weighed before adding an animal to the list and limiting how aspects such as climate change can be considered in listing decisions.

It also weakens protections for threatened species that are at risk of becoming endangered.

“When a species goes extinct, there’s no turning back the clock,” California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Park Police chief insists tear gas wasn't used despite reports| Energy headquarters to reopen next week OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump official violated ethics rules in seeking EPA job for relative, watchdog finds| Trump administration aims to buy uranium for reserve 'as soon as possible,' official says| 18 states fight conservative think tank effort to freeze fue 18 states fight conservative think tank effort to freeze fuel efficiency standards MORE said in a Tuesday release. 

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“In California, we recognize the importance of biodiversity, and we cherish the hundreds of endangered species that make their home in this state. We commend the court for moving this challenge onward and look forward to continuing our strong fight against these unlawful rules.”

Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for Northern California said states made a sufficient case that they would be injured by the rule.

Read more on the case here

In other legal news...

-A coalition of states suing over the Trump administration’s rollback of waterway protections is asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would block the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

-The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Treasury Department for records that show which oil, gas, coal and plastics applied for assistance under the CARES Act. 

SURVEY SAYS: 

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It’s going down for real... Between January and early April, global daily carbon dioxide emissions decreased by about 17 percent compared to average levels last year, according to a new study that illustrates the major climate effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, also projected that emissions would drop between 4 percent and 7 percent by the end of 2020 depending on the length of stay-at-home orders and other measures tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

The study showed much of the drop in emissions was due to a drop in travel. The sharpest decline in carbon emissions, making up 43 percent of the decrease, came from a reduction in traffic from cars, buses and trucks. There was also a drop in emissions from air travel.

However, the study noted that the emissions reductions are likely temporary because they “do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport or energy systems” and many observers believe once the pandemic ends, past levels of emissions would resume.

Rob Jackson, study co-author and professor at Stanford University, said the globe needs systemic change through green energy and electric cars, not temporary reductions from enforced behavior.

“Emissions in China are now coming back. Emissions dropped in Europe and North America, and now they're coming back. So the global system hasn't changed really in a sustained way,” Jackson told The Hill in an interview earlier this month. 

In order to conduct the study, researchers measured country confinement levels and available economic data to estimate the extent that policies impacted emissions. 

Read more on the study here

Speaking of bouncing back... Pollution in China surged in May, as the country’s lockdown orders ended and millions returned to work according to the study.

"Controlling for meteorological conditions, national average PM2.5, SO2 and ozone concentrations in the past 30 days were above their pre-crisis levels, while NO2 concentrations were at the same levels as before the crisis, showing that the rebound cannot be accounted for by weather factors," researchers said of the rebound in pollutant levels.

"Rebounding air pollutant levels are a demonstration of the importance of prioritizing green economy and clean energy in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. All eyes are on China, as the first major economy to return to work after a lockdown," the study's abstract continued.

Researchers pointed specifically to a spike in China's usage of private transportation over public options such as buses and subways, a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as one reason why the spike in May was so significant.

Read more on that here

Yes, it’s possible to worry about several things at once… Americans’ concern over climate change has not dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.

A report released Tuesday by Climate Change in the American Mind, written by researchers at Yale University and George Mason University, found that the issue of climate change remains at near historic high levels of priority despite the ongoing public health crisis.

The report found that a record-tying 73 percent of respondents said they think global warming is happening. 

The same survey found that 66 percent of those polled said they are at least “somewhat” worried about global warming, with 26 percent saying they are “very worried” about it. 

Read more on that here

ON TAP TOMORROW:

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the EPA. Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump rule limits states from blocking pipeline projects | EPA finalizes rule to regulate cancer-linked chemical | Democrats want Congress to help plug 'orphan' oil and gas wells EPA finalizes rule to regulate cancer-linked chemical Trump rule limits states from blocking pipeline projects MORE is slated to appear. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Mark Menezes, President Trump’s pick for the number two role at the Energy Department. 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

White House warned EPA about legal concerns, 'spurious' tone in SAFE rule, E&E News reports

Amid the pandemic state say they are still on track to meet clean energy goals, Stateline reports

Traffic Is Way Down Because Of Lockdown, But Air Pollution? Not So Much, NPR reports

Phoenix-area brush fire forces hundreds to evacuate, we report

ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday…

Survey finds 66 percent worried about climate change even amid coronavirus

Air pollution returns to pre-lockdown levels in China after falling 40 percent

Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit

Daily carbon emissions drop 17 percent compared to last year: study

Trump: food chain 'almost working perfectly again'

Green group calls for Energy secretary resignation after he accuses banks of 'redlining' oil and gas industry

EPA 'secret science' proposal garners 76,000 comments, many critical

Trump orders agencies to cut regulations that 'inhibit economic recovery'

EPA effort to limit guidance could undermine past administration policy