OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies
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SEND THE MARINES: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation
The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to former President Obama’s designation of a national monument 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a statement issued Monday that “despite concerns” about the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the lawsuit does not “satisfy our usual criteria” for reviewing cases.
Roberts explains his ruling: “To date, petitioners have not suggested what this critical statutory phrase means or what standard might guide our review of the President’s actions in this area,” Roberts wrote.
His decision upholds a 2019 appeals court ruling in favor of the monument.
Obama established the monument in 2016 to protect deep sea environments and marine life.
MISSOURI BUSINESS: Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river
The Interior Department has reversed a Trump administration decision determining that a portion of the Missouri River was under the jurisdiction of the state of North Dakota rather than a Native American reservation.
Trump officials had concluded a part of the river that flows through the Berthold Indian Reservation was within the state’s jurisdiction rather than that of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, the reservation’s three affiliated tribes.
Interesting timing: The opinion comes days after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland became the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Native groups have expressed hope that Haaland’s confirmation will mean they have an ally in the department on issues affecting tribes.
“The previous administration’s M-Opinion overturned decades of existing precedent holding that the Missouri riverbed belonged to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation,” an Interior spokesperson said in a statement. “Today’s action will allow us to review the matter and ensure the Interior Department is upholding its trust and treaty obligations in accordance with the law.”
The origins of the dispute: The earlier opinion is the subject of a legal challenge by the tribe in the District Court for the District of Columbia, according to the department. The court has granted the Interior Department a stay to review that opinion.
North Dakota has maintained the state owns the mineral rights to the portion of the river while the tribes have asserted legal precedent dating back to 1936 that gives them ownership.
Read more about the case here.
GRID YOUR TEETH: Moniz says Texas blackouts show need to protect infrastructure against climate change
Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Monday told lawmakers that recent extreme weather events in Texas underscored the need to better incorporate climate change risks into energy infrastructure.
“Climate change means that the weather patterns of the past are not adequate to inform those of the future,” Moniz said at a hearing hosted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Advice for the future: “Research, development, and demonstration of grid resilience technologies will be critically important to preserving reliability, an essential role of the federal government,” he added.
Moniz, who served during the Obama administration, noted that both the failure of the Texas grid and rolling blackouts in parts of California were indicative of the need to protect energy infrastructure from extreme climate events.
Read more about Moniz’s testimony here.
FRIENDS OR FRENEMIES: White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies
National climate adviser Gina McCarthy on Monday met virtually with leadership from oil and gas companies to discuss “shared priorities,” according to a readout from the White House.
The readout, which did not specify which companies or individuals participated, said that these priorities included climate change, protecting and creating jobs and ensuring that the U.S. is a leader on clean energy.
McCarthy “made clear that the Administration is not fighting the oil and gas sector, but fighting to create union jobs, deploy emission reduction technologies, strengthen American manufacturing, and fuel the American economy,” according to the White House.
The background on the meeting: The meeting comes amid tensions between the White House and some in the industry over moves like putting a temporary pause on new leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands.
That pause is pending a review from the administration of its oil and gas program, and the Interior Department will hold a forum this week where groups representing industry, tribal and environmental viewpoints will speak.
Read more about the meeting here.
FORUM ME, NOT FOR THEE: Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum
Republicans on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources are raising objections to the Interior Department’s list of participants for a forum on federal oil and gas leases.
In a letter sent Monday, Republicans on the panel accused the department of deliberately excluding Republican governors of energy-producing states. The forum, set for March 25, will review the Biden administration’s moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
“We believe that you have intentionally limited the right for the public to participate, including state-wide elected officials, namely the governors of our states,” says the letter.
GOP senators signing the letter included Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the panel’s ranking member, as well as Sens. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Steve Daines (Mt.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Jim Risch (Idaho), John Hoeven (N.D.), John Cornyn (Texas), and Kevin Cramer (N.D.).
Read more about the letter here.
IS IT INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK YET? The New York Times and The Washington Post on Monday reported that the White House is preparing a $3 trillion infrastructure and jobs package that could have major investments in the fight against climate change.
Specifically, The Post reported that the proposal devotes $400 billion to preventing climate change, including: $60 billion for green transit infrastructure, $46 billion for climate-related R&D. It also reportedly aims to boost the availability of electric vehicle charging stations.
ON TAP TOMORROW:
- The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled ” Building Back Better: Examining the Future of America’s Public Lands”
- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on the status of provisions from the Water Resources Development Act of 2020.
- Climate Under Threat: A virtual event at 1:30 PM ET with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), UN Environment Programme ED Inger Andersen, Atlantic Council’s Randolph Bell and more discussing the environment, energy and global cooperation. https://climateunderthreat.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
FOIA docs raise questions about interference in wind project, E&E News reports
Federal regulators in some cases don’t know for sure whether California oil companies are obeying the law, The Desert Sun and ProPublica report
A Colorado county may have a model for the nation’s conservation efforts, The Denver Post reports
EPA deal with Ala. polluter undercuts Biden equity pledge, E&E News reports
ICYMI: Stories from Monday and the weekend…
Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum
Moniz: Texas blackouts show need to protect infrastructure against climate change
Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri River
Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation
Japan issues tsunami warning after major quake rocks country
FROM THE HILL’S OPINION PAGES
Why the US should care about the China-India ‘blackout war’ by Peter Pry of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security
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