OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House threatens veto on Democrats' $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan | Supreme Court won't hear border wall challenge | Witnesses describe 'excessive force' used by law enforcement in Lafayette Square

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House threatens veto on Democrats' $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan | Supreme Court won't hear border wall challenge | Witnesses describe 'excessive force' used by law enforcement in Lafayette Square
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TRUMP CARD: President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE threatened to veto House Democrats' $1.5 trillion green infrastructure plan on Monday, arguing it should eliminate or reduce environmental reviews and doesn’t route enough money to rural America.

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The bill contains billions to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges while setting aside funds for broadband, schools and hospitals. It would also require states to commit to reducing greenhouse gasses and other climate measures in order to receive funding.

But Republicans have branded it as an iteration of the Green New Deal crafted without their input.

“This bill is problematic for several reasons. It is heavily biased against rural America. It also appears to be entirely debt-financed. And it fails to tackle the issue of unnecessary permitting delays, which are one of the most significant impediments to improving our infrastructure,” the White House wrote in a statement of administrative policy, saying the bill “is full of wasteful ‘Green New Deal’ initiatives.”

The veto message gives added fuel to Senate Republicans; Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOcasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Video shows NYC subway station renamed after Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE (R-Ky.) has not expressed a willingness to bring the bill to the Senate floor. 

The 2,300-page Moving Forward Act rolled out by Democrats this month is slated for a vote as soon as this week.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealRep. Cedric Richmond set to join House Ways and Means Committee Coons beats back progressive Senate primary challenger in Delaware Pelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief MORE (D-Mass.) has called it “the largest tax investment in combating climate change Congress has ever made.”

But the veto message reiterated Trump’s interest in paring down the environmental reviews that accompany major projects, calling the delays caused by permitting “one of the biggest roadblocks to improving the nation’s infrastructure.”

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The bulk of the Democrat’s infrastructure package is geared toward transportation measures that funnel money to public transit and would also require states to consider climate change when weighing projects.

“Those who don't believe in climate change, tough luck. We're going to deal with it,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioAirline CEOs plead with Washington as layoffs loom House report rips Boeing, FAA over mistakes before 737 Max crashes Pelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief MORE (D-Ore.) said when the bill was unveiled.

The White House memo called the bill “heavily skewed toward programs that would disproportionately benefit America’s urban areas” while appearing to be “financed solely by the government taking on additional debt.”

Democrats have not outlined how to pay for the bill, but Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs families deal with coronavirus, new federal dollars should follow the student Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Hypocrisy rules on both sides over replacing Justice Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) stressed “with the interest rates where they are now there's never been a better time for us to go big.”

Read more about the White House statement here.

SKIRTING SCOTUS: The Supreme Court has declined to take up a case challenging President Trump’s border wall, leaving in place a decision that rejected environmental groups' quest to stop construction.

The court will not hear an appeal to a case seeking to block construction on 145 miles of wall running along Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and other environmental groups filed the cause in January, arguing the Department of Homeland Security did not have the authority to waive environmental requirements to speed construction.

“We’re disappointed that the Supreme Court won’t consider the Trump administration’s flagrant abuse of the law to fast-track border wall construction,” Jean Su, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a Monday statement.

“This administration has made a mockery of the Constitution to build an enormously destructive wall. We’ll continue to fight these illegal waivers and do everything possible to prevent further damage to the beautiful borderlands.”

The suit had challenged 16 waivers that exempted Homeland Security from considering 40 different environmental laws, the groups contended, nixing consideration of the wall’s many potential environmental impacts. Building the wall could block migration for Mexican grey wolves and jaguars and damage ecosystems of cacti and rare wetlands, they argued.

Defenders of Wildlife also pledged to continue to examine the legality of the waivers.

“The Trump administration’s waiver of federal and state law to expedite border wall construction raises serious constitutional issues and those issues deserve to be heard,” Jason Rylander, senior endangered species counsel for the group, said in a statement.

The administration has faced multiple suits from environmental groups, who have both challenged the wall’s funding and argued it will hurt habitats for threatened and endangered species.

Read more about the court’s decision here.

EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS: Witnesses testified Monday that Park Police met largely peaceful protests with escalating force during a now-infamous incident at Lafayette Square earlier this month. 

Protester Kishon McDonald and reporter Amelia Brace, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, described a scene where officers aggressively cleared protesters, saying they did not hear any warnings before projectiles and chemical munitions were fired. 

“Police started throwing tear gas and flash-bang grenades at us for no reason. We were retreating,” McDonald said in his opening statement. 

“I’ve seen footage of this kind of attack on African American protesters in the 1960s when we wanted change. The dogs and water cannons from the '60s have turned into tear gas and flash bangs today,” his prepared statement read. 

He added during the hearing that he believed law enforcement used “excessive force.”

Footage has shown Brace, a reporter with Australia’s Seven News, and her cameraman Tim Myers being confronted by law enforcement. Video shows Myers being hit in the stomach with an officer’s shield and his camera being punched. 

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“Tim suffered what I would describe as a harder hit than what I did ... with the shield to his stomach and then the camera was punched which put it back into his face. He also was hit with a nonlethal projectile in the back of the neck,” Brace testified on Monday. 

The reporter added that she was hit across the back with a baton and hit in the legs with projectiles. 

The Park Police have said they are investigating two officers in response to what happened to Brace and Myers.

Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan has said the Park Police’s actions were necessary due to “violent” protesters who threw objects such as bricks at law enforcement. 

McDonald and Brace said during the hearing that they did not see any violence at the protest prior to the clearing of protesters. 

Monahan was invited to testify at the hearing but declined. In a letter to Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Interior Department legislative affairs director Cole Rojewski suggested that Monahan could appear in July instead. 

“Assistant Chief Monahan would like to accept your request to appear before the Committee to present the facts that occurred on the ground that evening,” Rojewski wrote. “However, because of the ongoing protests and accompanying violence and destruction of memorials and monuments by some individuals, the United States Park Police must currently continue in its highest operational status.”

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He added that Monahan has been the subject of lawsuits in relation to the incident and wrote that “this discussion would be further constrained, if not completely circumvented in its entirety, were an adverse party to such a lawsuit also asked to testify at that same hearing.” 

McDonald is part of a lawsuit over the incident. 

During the hearing, Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University who was a Republican witness during the House impeachment hearings, testified that questions remain as to whether the Park Police’s tactics in dispersing protesters were legal. 

However, Turley, who is also an opinion contributor for The Hill, said that the actions toward Brace appeared to be illegal. 

Read more about their comments here.

STUDY GUIDE:

Particle pollution problems: A recent study found that stronger pollution regulations could save more than 143,000 lives over a decade. 

The study, published Friday in the Science Advances journal, determined that lowering the maximum standard for fine particulate matter, also known as soot, by 2 micrograms per cubic meter could save about 143,257 lives over a 10-year period.

The researchers used 16 years worth of data, including information about 68.5 million Medicare enrollees, to “provide strong evidence of the causal link between long-term [fine particulate matter] exposure and mortality.”

The study follows a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make no changes to Obama-era standards for this type of pollution.

At that time, EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy: Smoke from wildfires has reached Europe | EPA postpones environmental justice training | UN report: Countries have failed to meet a single target to protect wildlife in last decade EPA postpones environmental justice training after White House memo OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' MORE said the agency believes “that the current standard is protective of public health.”

However, EPA staff said in January that new evidence has been “calling into question” whether the standard for fine particulate matter is adequate. 

Read more about the particulate matter study here.

Flooded with risk: Nearly twice as many homes face a substantial risk of flooding than in earlier government predictions, according to new study.

The study from the First Street Foundation estimates some 14.6 million properties around the country are at risk, with nearly 6 million people “currently unaware of or underestimating the risk they face.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), by comparison, estimates just 8.7 million properties are at risk of a 100-year flood.

The new study, the first of its kind, pulls federal elevation and rainfall data along with flood claims and historic flood paths in an effort to offer a more robust picture of where major flooding could occur. It’s more comprehensive than the analysis by FEMA, which has been criticized for not continuously updating its predictions.

The study maps new areas previously not analyzed by the government — an important feature as climate change increases the risk for extreme weather that could cause flooding.

Appalachia and much of the West, along with Washington, D.C., had some of the biggest gaps between the FEMA and First Street estimates.

“The results shed light on the unevenness in which changing environmental factors will impact regions of the country differently, and prove the need to incorporate more localized data at a property level in order to fully understand flood risk,” the study's authors said.

The research could mark a significant shift in how flood risk is evaluated and how homeowners assess the potential for damage at their property. 

Read more about flooding the study here.

OUTSIDE (AND INSIDE) THE BELTWAY:

Even the South Pole is warming, and quickly, scientists say, The New York Times reports

Mount Rushmore fireworks display too risky because of drought and ponderosa pines, wildfire expert warns, Weather.com reports 

Year’s first right whale death in U.S. reported, The Cape Cod Times reports

Pendley: Black Lives Matter based on 'terrible lie', E&E News reports

ICYMI: Stories from Monday and over the weekend…

Chesapeake Energy files for bankruptcy

BP sells petrochemicals division for $5B