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 John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick 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 Scott GardnerBreaking the Chinese space addiction Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error Billionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden MORE (Colo.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesOn The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power Credit union group to spend million on Senate, House races 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 McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments 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) ManchinThe debate over the filibuster entirely misses the point Trump plans to pick Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg on court Day before Trump refused to commit to peaceful transition, Aaron Sorkin described how he would write election night 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 PerryEnergy secretary questions consensus that humans cause climate change OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice | Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling energy bill | Trump courts Florida voters with offshore drilling moratorium 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 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 MastoHillicon Valley: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress | Treasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities | House Republican introduces bill to set standards for self-driving cars Senators introduce bipartisan bill to mandate digital apps disclose country of origin Democratic Senate campaign arm raised nearly M in August 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. 

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