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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court considers whether US should pay for Guam hazardous waste cleanup | EPA eyes reversal of Trump revocation of California vehicle emissions waiver | Kerry faces calls to step down over leaked Iran tapes

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court considers whether US should pay for Guam hazardous waste cleanup | EPA eyes reversal of Trump revocation of California vehicle emissions waiver | Kerry faces calls to step down over leaked Iran tapes
© (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Today the Supreme Court heard a case on hazardous waste policy, the EPA eyed its next move to roll back Trump-era policies and Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmCleaner US gas can reduce Europe's reliance on Russian energy Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve Biden administration eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve MORE offered thoughts on the Biden administration’s energy goals.

WASTE NOT: Supreme Court considers whether US should pay for Guam hazardous waste cleanup

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The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments about whether the U.S. government should pay Guam for hazardous cleanup over the dumping of waste from the Navy at the territory’s Ordot Dump. 

At issue in the case is whether a 2004 settlement between the U.S. and Guam under the Clean Water Act (CWA) should prevent the island from pursuing payment under a law that deals with hazardous waste cleanup known as CERCLA. 

Specifically, the case looks at whether that settlement counts as an action under CERCLA, and therefore prevents additional claims under the law. 

What’s Guam’s argument? Gregory Garre, an attorney for Guam, argued that CERCLA claims should be treated separately from CWA ones, including because the CWA settlement dealt with discharges of pollutants without a permit, while CERCLA deals with hazardous pollutants with or without a permit. 

Garre also argued that the agreement reached between the U.S. and Guam didn’t contain language preempting the pursuit of further claims under other environmental laws.

Read more about the case here.

MAKE THE CALI: EPA eyes reversal of Trump revocation of California vehicle emissions waiver

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reconsidering the Trump administration’s decision not to allow California to set its own vehicle tailpipe emissions standards, the first step in reversing the major climate rollback.  

The EPA on Monday posted a notice seeking public input on whether it was appropriate under certain laws to withdraw a waiver that allowed the state to set its own standards. 

The agency said in a statement that it's seeking input "for the purposes of rescinding the action taken by the prior administration" and Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganEPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot air quality standards GM asks for flexibility in meeting emissions target EPA to revise Trump rollback to water pollution protections MORE indicated that he supports the restoration of California’s ability to set its own standards.

Further EPA actions: The agency also said Monday that it will be taking a separate action to reconsider a rule that weakened national vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards, and that it plans to propose a new rule in July. 

Not allowing California to set its own standards — which have also been adopted by more than a dozen other states — was considered a major climate rollback, as tighter tailpipe standards are expected to result in a greater share of electric or other lower-emission vehicles being sold. 

The transportation sector is the greatest contributor to climate change, making up 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

Read more about the announcement here.

Kerry faces calls to step down over leaked Iran tapes

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change John KerryJohn KerryBudowsky: President Biden for the Nobel Peace Prize Bishops to debate banning communion for president In Europe, Biden seeks to reassert U.S. climate leadership MORE is facing calls for his resignation from Republican lawmakers and pundits for reportedly discussing Israeli military operations with Iran’s foreign minister when he served as then-President Obama’s secretary of State.

Republican blowback is running the gamut from calling for Kerry to leave his position as the top official addressing climate change to calling for an investigation and his prosecution. Biden administration officials are dismissing the allegations, saying the information Kerry allegedly shared was widely known at the time. 

Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanConcerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit US, Taiwan to discuss trade, investments, Blinken says MORE (R-Alaska) called for Kerry’s resignation in a floor speech, one of several senators to do so Monday.

The New York Times and other outlets reported on Monday that leaked audio recorded in March captured Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saying that Kerry told him Israel had attacked Iran’s interests in Syria at least 200 times. 

Zarif reportedly expressed astonishment at the revelation. Zarif did not say when Kerry, who served as secretary of State between 2013 and 2017, made the admission. 

State Department spokesperson Ned Price would not comment on the contents of the reportedly leaked audio, but appeared to dismiss that the Iranian’s foreign minister’s astonishment was genuine. 

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“I would just make the broad point that if you go back, and look at press reporting from the time, this certainly was not secret, and governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly, on the record,” Price said in response to a reporter's question at a briefing on Monday. 

Read more about the calls here.

Granholm demurs on whether White House will oppose Minnesota pipeline extension

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Friday that while the Line 3 pipeline is not within her purview, the White House feels a “moral obligation to partner with” indigenous communities that oppose the project.

Asked about the pipeline at a CNN-hosted climate town hall, Granholm said the Biden administration is "really sensitive to indigenous peoples and their homelands and making sure that we are not uprooting communities that we have a moral obligation to partner with." However, she did not say whether the project, which is currently under review, would be stopped altogether, and noted her department is not responsible for the decision.

The Interior Department is responsible for pipeline approval.

Granholm added that despite her lack of jurisdiction she would prefer that pipeline construction focus on renewable energy.

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"If we're going to do pipes, let's do pipes that build the infrastructure of America in a way that is future looking and not rely upon fuels or transport fuels, even though our neighbors to the North want it, that are not going to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas pollution," she said.

A rerouted segment of the Minnesota pipeline  has been the subject of protests and legal challenges, particularly from indigenous groups. It would carry tar sands oil from Canada through predominantly Minnesota, which an administrative law judge ruled could add the equivalent of 193 million more tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The White Earth Band of Ojibwe has also said the rerouting would violate tribal sovereignty and treaties signed with the federal government.

“We reserved the rights to wild rice, we made sure in our treaty negotiations that we still can have access to the lakes and the rivers,” Frank Bibeau, a lawyer for White Earth Ojibwe, told The Hill in March. “We have a commercial right over the territory to earn a modest living.”

 

ON TAP TOMORROW: 

  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Interior Department’s onshore oil and gas leasing program. Bureau of Land Management official Nada Culver is slated to appear.
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled “Wildlife Trafficking and theGrowing Online Marketplace”
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on a proposal to establish a national climate bank. 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

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How US chemical industry lobbying and cash defeated regulation in Trump era, The Guardian reports

State-Supported “Clean Energy” Loans Are Putting Borrowers At Risk of Losing Their Homes, according to ProPublica, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Kansas City Star

Exxon Accused by Activist Firm of ‘Distorting’ Emissions Targets, Bloomberg reports

ICYMI: Stories from Monday and the weekend...

Supreme Court considers whether US should pay for Guam hazardous waste cleanup

EPA eyes reversal of Trump revocation of California vehicle emissions waiver

Granholm: White House prefers legislation for energy infrastructure

UN to declare slashing methane emissions more important than previously thought

Saudi Arabia to join international forum on climate change: report

Kerry: China is 'not doing enough' on climate

Ocasio-Cortez: Activists 'have deeply influenced' Democratic positions on climate

California to stop issuing fracking permits by 2024

OFF-BEAT AND OFFBEAT: Home bun