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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project
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GAOA MORNING AMERICA: President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE on Tuesday signed a major piece of conservation legislation into law as he and other Republicans seek to tout such accomplishments ahead of the elections in November. 

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Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act, which would provide $900 million annually in oil and gas revenues for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps secure land for trails and parks.

The legislation would also provide billions of dollars over five years to address a maintenance backlog at national parks. 

"We're here today to celebrate the passage of truly landmark legislation that will preserve American's majestic natural wonders, priceless historic treasures ... grand national monuments and glorious national parks," Trump said at the signing.

His support for the legislation is a reversal of his previous desire to slash the LWCF. In his budget wishlist for the next fiscal year, Trump proposed slashing the LWCF’s funding by nearly 97 percent. The administration’s budget proposals from past years had also suggested significant cuts to the LWCF. 

Announcing his reversal to support the LWCF funding in March, Trump credited two GOP senators, Sens. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms 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 (Colo.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesIndigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Kennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE (Mont.), who are both up for reelection this fall and running in races considered toss-ups. Holding either or both of those seats could be key to Republicans’ hopes of keeping their Senate majority. 

"When I sign it into law, it will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands. ALL thanks to @SenCoryGardner and @SteveDaines, two GREAT Conservative Leaders!" Trump tweeted in March. 

Asked how the lawmakers convinced Trump to support the measures, Gardner told reporters in June that he and Daines had made the argument in a meeting earlier this year with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-Ky.). 

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“We spoke for probably over an hour or so in this meeting with the president about what the two components meant, how they worked, how they were funded,” Gardner said.

“And then I showed him a picture of the Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and I think Steve showed a picture as well and he looked at the park and said ‘it’s beautiful’ and we pointed up at the picture of Teddy Roosevelt on the wall and said this could be the biggest accomplishment going back to Teddy Roosevelt,” he added. 

On Tuesday, Trump again praised the senators, as well as several other Republican lawmakers and officials who were at the event. He did not mention any Democrats, and a spokesperson for Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike White House noncommittal on 'Plan B' push to add wage increase to relief bill MORE (W.Va.) said that he and other Democratic sponsors of the bipartisan legislation were not invited.

“Senator Manchin is glad President Trump is signing the Great American Outdoors Act this morning. Unless there was a miscommunication, he and other Democratic sponsors were not invited. It’s a shame since it has been a strong, bipartisan bill from the start,” Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon told The Hill in an email.

While the bill passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support, it also had its critics, with more than half of the House's Republican delegation voting against it.

Read more on the new law here

HE’S GOT A RIGHT HAND MAN: The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Mark Menezes for the No. 2 spot at the Energy Department in a 79-16 vote. 

President Trump nominated Menezes to be the department’s deputy secretary in March. He will replace Dan Brouillette, who previously held the role but was later promoted to Energy’s top job after former Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryRepublicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Five things to know about Texas's strained electric grid | Biden honeymoon with green groups faces tests | Electric vehicles are poised to aid Biden in climate fight Five things to know about Texas's strained electric grid MORE resigned. 

Menezes has served as undersecretary of Energy and has advised the department on policy and technology since 2017. Before joining the Trump administration, he lobbied for Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which, through subsidiaries, produces energy from sources including coal, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear and geothermal. 

Other former clients include Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, Koch Mineral Services and utility company Duke Energy.

Menezes was a relatively uncontroversial pick, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced his nomination by voice vote. Just one senator, Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Mars rover prepares for landing The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats ready mammoth relief bill for 10-day sprint Senate Republicans target Democrats over school reopenings in new campaign MORE (D-Nev.) expressed opposition to the nomination. She based her opposition on reports that the Trump administration is considering nuclear testing. 

Read more on Menezes here

ET TU DJT? Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday expressed opposition to the controversial Pebble Mine project, which moved a step closer to reality after the conclusion of an environmental assessment last month. 

“The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with. #PebbleMine,” the president’s son tweeted. 

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His tweet came in agreement to a similar sentiment expressed by Nick Ayers, former chief of staff to Vice President Pence. 

“Like millions of conservationists and sportsmen, I am hoping @realDonaldTrump will direct @EPA to block the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay,” Ayers tweeted. “A Canadian company will unnecessarily mine the USA's greatest fishery at a severe cost. This should be stopped and I believe  @POTUS will do so!” 

Trump Jr.’s tweet comes on the heels of an administration environmental impact assessment on the proposed gold and copper mine that moved it one step closer to construction. 

The assessment by the Army Corps of Engineers determined that the mine wouldn’t impact salmon harvests in the area, reversing an Obama-era determination that it would.

“There would be no measurable change in the number of returning salmon,” said the new assessment that was published last month. 

Read more about the Trump administration’s approach to Pebble Mine here

ON TAP TOMORROW:

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The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on a nuclear infrastructure bill

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity in the energy sector

The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the health and economic Impacts of climate change. 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

CEO of Puerto Rico's state-owned power utility resigns amid outages, we report 

Environmental groups sue Trump administration over approval of Ambler Road, Alaska Public Media reports

BP will slash oil production by 40% and pour billions into green energy, CNN reports

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Little-known U.S. firm secures deal for Syrian oil, Politico reports

ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday...

CEO of Puerto Rico's state-owned power utility resigns amid outages

Democrats introduce bill to ban chlorpyrifos, other pesticides to protect farmworkers

Trump signs major conservation bill into law

Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official

Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project