OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina | Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention | Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina | Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention | Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package

HAPPY TUESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.

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IT’S ALL ABOUT FLORIDA: 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 moved to block oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina until mid-2032, a decade longer than drilling is currently delayed off Florida’s Gulf Coast. 

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“I will sign a presidential order extending the moratorium on offshore drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast and expanding it to Florida’s Atlantic Coast as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina," Trump said in a speech from the Inlet Lighthouse and Museum in Jupiter, Fla.

Florida is key to Trump's chances of winning a second term, and the decision was steeped in politics.

“Thanks to my administration’s pro-American energy policies we can take this step and the next step while remaining the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world,” Trump said. 

Who might be happy with this news?

Offshore drilling is nearly universally opposed by leaders in both political parties in Florida after tourism was heavily impacted following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. A 2018 state amendment to block offshore drilling was also approved by nearly 70 percent of Florida voters. 

A congressionally passed offshore drilling moratorium protects Florida’s gulf waters from offshore drilling until mid-2022. The state’s House delegation has tried to extend that, pushing through legislation that would permanently block drilling near the state, though it has yet to be considered by the Senate. 

The move got some pushback from the oil industry, a group otherwise considered part of the Trump base...

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“Our preference should always be to produce homegrown American energy, instead of deferring future production to countries like Russia and Iran, which do not share American values. Limiting access to our offshore energy resources only shortchanges America and dulls our national outlook,” said National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito in a statement. 

Where it gets complicated…

The Trump administration in 2018 said it would not pursue offshore drilling near the state. 

However, Politico reported in June that Interior was preparing to allow oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast but would wait to say so until after the election. 

Read more on the administration’s offshore drilling track record here. And on a related note, read about the push for coronavirus protections for oil and gas workers here.  

EXCEPT FOR WHEN IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HATCH ACT: Democrats are asking the National Park Service (NPS) to account for its involvement in the Republican National Convention. 

Trump’s speech closing out the convention from the White House’s South Lawn culminated with a fireworks show around the Washington Monument, including fireworks spelling out Trump and 2020.

Democratic lawmakers are concerned the involvement of Park Service staff may have violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity while at work.

“We are deeply disturbed that the president continues to use our nation’s park system—sites that include some of our country’s most iconic symbols of freedom—to advance his partisan political agenda,” Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallLWCF modernization: Restoring the promise 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' Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency MORE (D-N.M) and Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina | Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention | Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention Overnight Energy: EPA chief outlines vision for agency under 'Trump's second term' | Agency sued over decision not to regulate chemical linked to fetal brain damage MORE (D-Minn.), ranking member and chair of the appropriations subcommittees that oversee NPS, wrote in a letter to the agency.

The two said the display “raised significant ethical concerns, may have been in contravention of the Hatch Act, and used federal resources inappropriately or possibly even illegally.”

We’ve gone deep on potential NPS Hatch Act violations before, with ethics experts calling the latest speech “a bridge too far”... 

The permit given to the RNC was most likely a First Amendment permit, which allows any group to host an event at a national park that doesn’t otherwise fit within the park service’s mission. Ethics experts say it’s very difficult for career NPS officials to refuse a request, from the White House or any other entity.

“It’s unfortunate that Sen. Udall and Rep. McCollum are uninformed and didn’t do some basic research before seeking to politicize permitted First Amendment activities. First Amendment activities on federal property are permitted in accordance with all applicable laws and ethics regulations,” Interior spokesman Nick Goodwin said in an email to The Hill.

Udall and McCollum are asking the Park Service to turn over a number of documents, including permits for the events at the Washington Monument and Ft. McHenry, where Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Pence vows for law and order everywhere Trump met with chants of protest as he pays respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE gave his convention acceptance speech, and “the criteria and legal justification” for approving them.

They are also asking for “a full accounting of the amount of NPS staff time and resources spent supporting the Republican National Convention,” and a description of activities taken by NPS to avoid any political impropriety. 

Read more on that here

STIMULATING CONVERSATION: The latest coronavirus stimulus package introduced by Senate Republicans on Tuesday includes efforts to aid the mining and coal industries in a move already angering some Democrats.

The Tuesday bill includes a bipartisan effort by Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Energy: Trump officials finalize plan to open up protected areas of Tongass to logging | Feds say offshore testing for oil can proceed despite drilling moratorium | Dems question EPA's postponement of inequality training Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy MORE (R-Alaska) and 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 (D-W.V.) to establish a critical minerals program along with another section that includes millions for research into extracting rare earth metals from coal.

“How pathetic,” Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters Republicans not immune to the malady that hobbled Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election MORE (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter after the Republican roll out of the bill, which also  includes a $300 per week federal unemployment benefit boost, a reduction from the $600 in extra benefits approved in the first coronavirus package.

“While Senate Republicans tell us we can't afford to give $2,000 a month to the working class during the economic crisis, the COVID-19 ‘relief’ bill they just released provides $161 million in corporate welfare to the coal industry during a climate emergency," Sanders added.

Read more on the overall bill here and on the energy specifics here

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WITHDRAWN YOUR HONOR: The White House has withdrawn the nomination of William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

A quick recap: Pendley has been serving as the acting director of the agency for over a year with his tenure the subject of two lawsuits.The White House announced it would withdraw Pendley’s nomination in August but plans to keep the controversial appointee in office.

Today’s move makes the withdrawal officially official now that the Senate is back in session.

The White House is getting the paperwork tied up as Democrats have vowed to increase the pressure on the Trump administration to remove Pendley entirely.

Democrats have sent two caucus-wide letters to the White House, first asking to find a new nominee to lead the BLM and then another asking to boot Pendley.

And tomorrow House Democrats plan to apply pressure of their own with a joint Democrat-only forum with members from the House Natural Resources Committee and the Oversight Committee evaluating Pendley’s time with the agency. 

OUTSIDE (AND INSIDE) THE BELTWAY:

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USGS chief: Coral killed by pineapples, goats (and climate), E&E News reports

EU says one in eight deaths in Europe linked to pollution, environment, Reuters reports

No 'hot pants': Sexist rules for women on Arctic expedition, E&E News reports

California wildfires torch record 2m acres as new blazes force evacuations, The Guardian reports

U.S. utilities say Biden plan to cut CO2 hinges on breakthroughs, Reuters reports

ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday and the long weekend…

Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package

Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention

Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina

More than 40 groups call for coronavirus protections for oil and gas workers

Weather service records hottest temperature on record in LA County

National Guard rescues 200 from California wildfire

Animal rights group sues US government to prevent aquarium from acquiring 5 beluga whales

Environmental activists target UK printing plants, delaying newspapers

FROM THE HILL’S OPINION PAGES: EPA's birthday gift to America: More pollution, writes David F. Coursen, a former EPA attorney and a member of the Environmental Protection Network.