Overnight Regulation: EPA chief commits to replacing Obama climate rule | Deputy consumer bureau chief seeks injunction to replace Mulvaney | Trump meets senators on ethanol mandate

Overnight Regulation: EPA chief commits to replacing Obama climate rule | Deputy consumer bureau chief seeks injunction to replace Mulvaney | Trump meets senators on ethanol mandate
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Welcome to Overnight Regulations, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and the courts. It's Thursday evening here in Washington where Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP Barbs start to fly ahead of first Democratic debate MORE (D-Minn.) announced he is resigning over sexual harassment allegations. 

Read about that here

 

THE BIG STORIES 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions MORE told House lawmakers Thursday the agency will replace former President Obama's climate change rule for power plants. 

As Timothy Cama reports, Pruitt said at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that EPA will be introducing a replacement rule for the Clean Power Plan. 

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Pruitt had previously only committed to considering a replacement for the rule, which called for a 32 percent reduction in the power sector's carbon emissions.

Business groups opposed to the Obama rule have been pushing Pruitt to write a replacement to shield companies and the federal government from future litigation on climate and fulfill the EPA's obligation to regulate power plants' carbon dioxide.

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's deputy director isn't giving up her fight for control of the watchdog agency. 

As Sylvan Lane reports, Leandra English asked the District Court for the District of Columbia Wednesday night to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE from naming Office of Budget and Management Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Top Democrat accuses White House of obstructing review related to Trump-Putin communications MORE to the interim role. 

The request is English's latest maneuver in the fight for control of the agency. 

English originally sued Mulvaney and the president, claiming the Dodd-Frank Act made her the rightful acting director, but her lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. 

Read the story here

 

REG ROUNDUP 

Environment: The Senate on Thursday confirmed two of President Trump's environmental nominees.

Joe BalashJoseph (Joe) BalashOvernight Energy: Trump plan could open Alaska's Arctic region to drilling by next summer | States sue over offshore drilling tests | Lawmakers fail to pass lands bill this year Latest Trump plans would open Alaskan Arctic to drilling by next summer Trump officials attended conference where speaker said carbon dioxide makes planet 'greener' MORE was confirmed as assistant secretary for land and minerals management at the Interior Department, and Susan Bodine was confirmed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, which oversees enforcement of pollution laws.

Devin Henry has the story here

 

Justice: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' Time magazine: Trump threatened reporter with prison time MORE got into a heated exchange with Justice Department interns this summer over marijuana and police brutality, according to new video of the private event.

During a video of the "Summer Intern Lecture Series" obtained by ABC News and published on Thursday, an unnamed college intern asked Sessions why the Justice Department has harsher policies for marijuana and "pretty lax" policies for gun control when guns kill more people than marijuana.

Sessions contested claims that marijuana is harmless.  

"Marijuana is not a healthy substance in my opinion," he said. "The American Medical Association is crystal clear on that. Do you believe that?"

"I don't," the intern said.

"OK Dr. whatever your name is," Sessions replied. "So you can write to AMA and see why they think otherwise."

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Technology: A federal judge set March 19 as the trial date for the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

AT&T had asked that the trial begin in February, while prosecutors with the Justice Department's antitrust division requested May.

"This is not a normal case -- from many perspectives," Judge Richard Leon told the two legal teams Thursday.

Harper Neidig has the story here

 

Courts: Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee chastised their Republican colleagues on Thursday, accusing them of rushing President Trump's judicial nominees through the confirmation process.

Ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Negotiators face major obstacles to meeting July border deadline Young activists press for change in 2020 election MORE (D-Calif.) said it was the fastest confirmation pace for circuit court nominees she could remember in her 25 years on the committee.

"For example, last week marked the fourth hearing since May when two circuit court nominees were on the agenda the same day," she said. "That's four times in six months, yet this committee only held three hearings with two circuit court nominees in all eight years of the Obama administration." 

The committee voted 11-9 long party lines to advance 10 judicial nominees to the floor for a vote on Thursday, including three circuit court judges: Steven Grasz to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and James Ho and Don Willett to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Grasz, an Omaha lawyer, was given one of the rare "not qualified" ratings from the American Bar Association. 

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Health: Six senators, including three Republicans, are asking GOP leadership to block a Trump administration rule that slashes funding for a federal drug discount program.

The program, called 340B, requires drug companies give discounts to health-care organizations that serve high volumes of low-income patients.

But a new rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which takes effect Jan. 1, cuts Medicare payments to hospitals enrolled in the program by $1.6 billion.

Jessie Hellman has the story here

 

Energy: Kevin McIntyreKevin J. McIntyreGOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies Senate should reject Trump’s radical nominee to key energy panel Overnight Energy: Chief energy regulator vows to steer clear of political fights | Zinke was referred to DOJ shortly before watchdog controversy | Groups threaten to sue EPA over paint stripper MORE was sworn in Thursday as the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency said.

McIntyre's swearing-in as both a new commissioner and the chairman restores the agency to five commissioners for the first time since 2015.

He was previously an attorney at Jones Day, heading its energy practice and often representing industry clients before FERC.

McIntyre, a Republican, replaces Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeOvernight Energy: Natural gas export project gets green light | Ocasio-Cortez says climate fight needs to address farming | Top EPA enforcement official to testify Regulators approve Louisiana natural gas export terminal GOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies MORE, who had served as chairman on an interim basis since August while McIntyre went through the Senate confirmation process. Chatterjee, also a Republican, will stay on at FERC as a commissioner.

McIntyre's chairmanship comes at an important time for the often obscure agency that oversees wholesale electricity markets, interstate pipelines and similar matters.

Read more here.

 

Energy: President Trump met Thursday with Republican senators from oil- and refinery-heavy states to hear their complaints about the federal mandate to mix ethanol into the gasoline supply.

Senators said there were no major outcomes from the meeting at the White House, but Trump asked the lawmakers to take the lead themselves on proposals to change the renewable fuel standard in a way that benefits both refineries and corn farmers.

The senators came into the meeting concerned that the Trump administration's policies too heavily favored the ethanol industry, which pushes to require more ethanol in gasoline, increasing costs for refiners who have to either buy the ethanol or buy renewable identification number credits to comply.

Read more here.

 

In other news 

Trump asks for emergency stay on accepting transgender military recruits by Jan.1 

Rep. Speier calls for victim-centric sexual harassment complaint process – The Washington Post 

Bump stocks get first hearing in Senate, dealt another blow in House – Roll Call 

Federal report: violent crime rose in 2016. Other federal report: eh, maybe not. – Vox