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PRUITT CALLS OUT MERKEL: ‘SO HYPOCRITICAL.’ As Trump officials plan to hold climate talks on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, in an interview with the Washington Examiner, relayed what could be the tone of those meetings.
“You know, our [carbon dioxide] footprint dropped by over 18 percent from 2000 to 2014. How? Because of government mandate? No, because of innovation called hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling,” Pruitt said.
He then poked at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suggesting she is a hypocrite for turning her back on emissions-free nuclear power while prodding the U.S. to do more. Merkel has been a leading critic of the Trump administration for deciding to exit the Paris climate change agreement, which seeks to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
“If Chancellor Merkel ... really cares about reducing CO2 in this world, why is she going away from nuclear?” Pruitt asked. “It’s so hypocritical for countries to look at the United States and say you need to do more. Really? So, we’ve reduced our pollutants under the Clean Air Act [criteria pollutants and CO2].”
MERKEL’S FINAL STRETCH: The criticism of Merkel comes as she is in the final stretch of the German election where critics have been trying hard to displace her, to little avail.
The White House would not answer questions Wednesday about any of next week’s talks. But there is little doubt that Germany will be there.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEF: Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the U.N., is expected to brief reporters Friday on the General Assembly agenda for the president and his advisers. General H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, also will be at the briefing. Gary Cohn, Trump’s National Economic Council chief, is slated to hold a breakfast meeting Monday with ministers to discuss climate and energy.
CLIMATE WEEK KICKOFF: Democrats led by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts will announce legislation on Thursday ahead of next week’s Climate Week rallies to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly.
Markey will hold a press conference with environmentalists and public health experts to roll out a climate bill that looks specifically at addressing the public health impacts of global warming in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
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DEMS WARN PRUITT TO BACK OFF: A group of Democrats wants to crash EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s party, warning him that the personnel reductions he is pursuing at the agency would make it impossible for the agency to do its job.
Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has direct oversight of the EPA, led a group of committee Democrats in a letter sent to Pruitt Thursday.
ETHANOL TO THE RESCUE: The ethanol industry is claiming a win for the corn-based fuel and the nation in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The Renewable Fuels Association released an update Thursday showing that Pruitt’s 38-state fuel waiver helped avoid fuel shortages by allowing fuel retailers to sell more 15-percent ethanol fuel blends.
HURRICANE FUEL FALLOUT: Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to try to relieve fuel shortages in states affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
In its latest move, the Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act, a nearly century-old shipping law that requires all ships transporting goods between U.S. ports be owned and manned by U.S. citizens, and be built within U.S. shores.
HOUSE VOTES TO KILL OBAMA METHANE RULE: Republicans pushed through an amendment to a fiscal 2018 spending bill on Wednesday that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing an Obama administration rule to limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., passed 218-195.
VOTE-A-RAMA: In other environmental-related votes, the House approved an amendment Wednesday blocking the social cost of carbon, a metric created by the Obama administration, from being used in future government rule making. The metric weighs the cost savings to society from eliminating carbon emissions.
The House also voted down an amendment that would have cut the EPA's funding by $1.87 billion.
EPA’S COAL RULE RESET: The Environmental Protection Agency imposed a two-year delay on Obama-era rules governing wastewater from coal-fired power plants.
"Today's final rule resets the clock for certain portions of the agency's effluent guidelines for power plants, providing relief from the existing regulatory deadlines while the agency revisits some of the rule's requirements," Pruitt said.
FERC NOMINEES POSTPONED: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee postponed a vote scheduled for Thursday on whether to confirm President Trump's nominees to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The vote is now scheduled for Tuesday.
GRID HEARING: FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee is on Capitol Hill testifying after becoming chairman of the commission about one month ago. He is discussing the commission’s agenda with the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Washington Post New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will propose a plan to force existing buildings to become more energy efficient
Politico Exposure to carbon dioxide could be affecting the health of the plants we eat
Wall Street Journal Saudi Arabia aims to curtail oil exports from OPEC countries
Reuters China takes step to dominate the market for high-performance solar power
Forbes Britain may exit European Union’s carbon trading program
McClatchy White House tables idea of imposing oil sanctions on Venezuela due to supply concerns from recent hurricanes
Los Angeles Times Renewable energy bills stall in California legislature
Baltimore Sun New campaign seeks to require half of Maryland’s energy to be from renewable sources
THURSDAY, SEPT. 14
6 p.m., Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW. The Alliance to Save Energy holds its 25th annual Evening With the Stars of Energy Efficiency Awards Dinner, with nearly 400 leaders from industry, government and the non-profit sectors will convene what has become known as "energy prom." ase.org/events/2017-evening-stars-energy-efficiency-awards-dinner
Sept. 14, Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave. NW. The ethanol group Growth Energy wraps up its 2017 Biofuels Summit. growthenergy.org/news-media/events-calendar/2017-advocacy-conference/
Sept. 14-18, Massachusetts Water Week shines a spotlight on water-innovation and highlights the work of the region's water innovators and companies in Boston. masscec.com/events/massachusetts-water-week-2017
SUNDAY, SEPT. 17
Sept. 17-20, New Orleans. The National Association of State Energy Officials, representing state-appointed energy officials, holds its annual 2017 meeting. naseo.org/event?EventID=1421
TUESDAY, SEPT. 19
7 a.m., New York. The Energy Marketing Conference for Retailers holds its Eighth Semi-Annual Energy Marketing Conference. energymarketingconferences.com/september-2017/
10 a.m., 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, to discuss the IEA's World Energy Investment 2017 report. csis.org/events/ieas-world-energy-investment-2017
10 a.m., 366 Dirksen. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing to examine the vegetation management requirements for electricity assets located on federal lands and to receive testimony on Section 2310 of the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 and the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act.