Overnight Regulation

Overnight Regulation: Trump administration lifts Obama freeze on federal coal mining

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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, courts, Capitol Hill and beyond. It’s Tuesday evening here in Washington where it’s been an eventful day. Shots were fired near the Capitol earlier today after an erratic driver nearly hit police officers. In case you missed it, read the story here

Here’s the latest.



President Trump is doubling down on his promise to end the “war on coal.”

One day after Trump signed an executive order rolling back a handful of Obama-era climate regulations, the administration announced it is lifting coal-leasing restrictions.

The Hill’s Devin Henry has the story:

The Interior Department on Wednesday officially rolled back a major Obama administration coal initiative.

Secretary Ryan Zinke formally lifted the ban on new coal leasing on federal land, a policy shift that was one of the cornerstones of the climate and energy executive order that President Trump signed on Tuesday.

Interior also suspended a review of federal coal-leasing rates that the Obama administration and environmental activists had touted as a win-win for the climate and for taxpayers.

Throughout his campaign, Trump vowed to help coal miners by lifting Obama regulations on fossil fuel production.

For industry supporters, the coal moratorium was among the most egregious examples of Obama administration overreach.

The Interior Department, then led by Sally Jewell, paused the sale of new coal leases on federal land in 2016 and launched a review of the coal program.

Lifting the moratorium, industry supporters say, will help miners in Western states where there are large tracts of recoverable coal on public land. 

Opponents of Zinke’s action say lifting the moratorium undermines the goals of Obama’s review by allowing the payment of royalty rates that are decades out of date.

The order, while fulfilling a key campaign promise from Trump, generated swift opposition from environmentalists and public lands supporters, who immediately sued over the order lifting the coal-leasing moratorium. 

The groups say the in-depth study of the coal program was justified by science and by simple economic facts.  

“Those facts caused the Obama administration to believe that reforms to the federal coal leasing program were warranted, and in fact they should consider whether to continue federal coal leasing altogether,” said Jenny Harbine, a staff attorney at Earthjustice, representing the groups. The plaintiffs on the suit include national organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity and local groups like the Montana Environmental Information Center.

“Secretary Zinke has to confront those same facts. Rather than confront them with science and reason, the Trump administration is confronting those facts with politics.” 

Click here for the story.



The House Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a business meeting to vote on the nomination of Alexander Acosta to be Secretary of Labor. 

The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing to look at the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Development programs. 



Keeping an eye on these rules in Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register.

–The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will propose new licensing requirements for certain nuclear sites.

The license renewal procedures would apply to “non-power reactors, testing facilities, and other production or utilization facilities,” the agency says.

The public has 75 days to comment.

–The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will issue new safety standards for infant bath tubs.

The safety standards will “further reduce the risk of injury” resulting from the use of infant bath tubs, the agency says.

The rule goes into effect on Oct. 2.

–The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will correct a mistake in new guidelines it issued for evaluating chemical hazards.

The correction goes into effect immediately.

–The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board will propose new rules for death benefits.

The public has 30 days to comment.



Supreme Court orders closer look at credit card surcharge laws 

GOP Sen. Lee: Nuclear option justified after Dems used it in 2013 

GOP senator to Dems: ‘What’s all the whining about’ on Supreme Court?

House votes to restrict EPA’s use of science

House Dems launch pro-broadband privacy petition

Senate Dems call for investigation of acting SEC chairman

Senators offer bill aimed at helping IRS whistleblowers

FCC head delivers another blow to affordable internet program

Trump lawyers ask court to halt climate rule case

Key conservative rep on healthcare plan: ‘Let’s get out those regulations’

Trump climate move risks unraveling Paris commitments

State employee charged in FBI probe

Ivanka Trump will have official White House position

Trump promised to bring back coal. That promise ‘will not be kept,’ experts say – The Washington Post



8: Proposed rules

12: Final rules

(Source: Thursday’s Federal Register)



“It’s quite clear that if he isn’t qualified, then nobody is. If you’d be filibustering a judge like this, it’s obvious you’d filibuster anyone,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said about Democrats’ opposition to Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch. 

Click here for more from The Hill’s Jordain Carney on the looming Senate showdown. And click here for The Hill’s Whip List on where Democrats stand on the Gorsuch nomination.


We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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