Overnight Energy: White House delays climate order's release

Overnight Energy: White House delays climate order's release
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ANOTHER DELAY: The White House has delayed the release of an executive order on climate change, two sources told The Hill on Monday.

President Trump was expected to sign his long-awaited order on Monday, beginning the process of rolling back major Obama-era climate change policies and fulfilling key campaign promises.

But that order could now come next week instead, the sources said.

The timing of the executive order has been up in the air for weeks as the White House mulls what exactly to include in the plan.

Trump is expected to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin the process of ending the Clean Power Plan, Obama's signature climate measure. The order is likely to lift a moratorium on new leasing of coal mining on public land, and could take aim at other climate measures crafted by the Obama administration.

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When the order comes out it will kick up significant opposition from Democrats and environmentalists, who have promised to fight for the preservation of Obama's climate work.

Read more about the delay, here, and what we expect the order will cover, here.

TWO COAL PLANTS TO CLOSE: Electric utility Dayton Power & Light announced Monday that it would close two coal-fired power plants by next year, citing economic conditions.

The J.M. Stuart and Killen generating stations are closing following a months-long review of the plants, becoming the latest in a string of hundreds of coal-fired power plants announcing closure in recent years.

"Along with our co-owners of the plants, we have completed a thorough review of our options and it has become clear that, without significant changes in market conditions, the plants will not be economically viable beyond mid-2018," Dayton Power said in a statement about the plants, which sit along the Ohio River in the southern part of the state.

As coal tries to stay viable, it is competing against cheap and abundant natural gas, new environmental regulations and environmental activists.

Despite that, President Trump has promised numerous times to lift the fortunes of coal mining and the power generating companies that use the fuel.

The Sierra Club, which works through its Beyond Coal project to shut down power plants, celebrated Monday's announcement.

"These coal plants are unable to compete against the cleaner, cheaper options demanded by customers to meet their energy needs," Dan Sawmiller, the Ohio representative for the Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement.

Read more here.

REPUBLICAN WARNS EPA CHIEF ON CLIMATE SCIENCE: A Florida Republican is "concerned" about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's position on carbon dioxide and climate change.

In a letter to Pruitt released on Monday, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said Pruitt's comments earlier this month "contradict the conclusions not only of our best scientists but of your own agency."

Curbelo said Pruitt should reconsider them, and he invited Pruitt to visit his south Florida district, which he says has already been affected by climate change.

"Reasonable people can disagree about how to respond to the risks of climate change. But there should be little disagreement that it is something that must be done," Curbelo wrote in his letter, sent Friday.

Curbelo is one of a group of Republicans to introduce a resolution last week acknowledging climate change and calling for more action on it.

He's one of only a few Republicans to criticize Pruitt's climate comments, though fellow Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen put out a similar statement earlier this month.

Read more here.   

DEMS PROBE TRUMP'S REGULATORY ACTIONS: Democratic leaders in the House Energy and Commerce Committee say some of Trump's recent regulatory actions do not follow procedures set out in law.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and is colleagues sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Monday outlining a handful of regulatory actions from the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) that they say need to be withdrawn immediately.

They include the EPA's decision to suspend a safety rule for chemical plants, administrative stays on five EPA rules from the Obama administration and stays on five DOE rules, including some efficiency standards.

"We request that you withdraw these regulations immediately," they wrote. "These 'final rules' are not valid and stand to create dangerous confusion among regulated entities if they are not withdrawn. Even more importantly, failure to withdraw these new 'final rules' will put workers and communities nationwide in danger be delaying needed safeguards."

TOMORROW IN THE HILL: After sending Trump a handful of resolutions undoing key federal environmental rules, Senate action on another such measure has seemingly stalled.

A lobbying fight over the future of the Interior Department's methane rule has been fierce, and it's convinced at least two key Republicans to lean toward opposing a resolution undoing the regulation.

More on the battle over the methane measure, tomorrow in The Hill.   

ON TAP TUESDAY I: A House Natural Resources Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on an imminent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on shortcomings at the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. GAO's energy director Frank Rusco will testify, as will Richard Cardinale, Interior's acting secretary for lands and minerals.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on infrastructure related to federal lands, recreation, water and resources. Various stakeholder representatives will testify.

Rest of Tuesday's agenda ...

A House Natural Resources Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on using domestically sourced materials for infrastructure projects.

AROUND THE WEB:

Frigid temperatures last week in the South mean fewer blueberries and peaches will be produced this year, the Associated Press reports.

Beijing's air quality will get worse as climate change progresses, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Renewable-energy company Clean Line Energy is working to secure regulatory approval for a transmission line from Missouri regulators, the Associated Press reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Monday's stories ...

-White House delays release of climate executive action
-Two Ohio coal plants to close
-GOP rep 'concerned' about EPA chief's climate comments
-Trump freezes Obama-era energy rules
-Week ahead: Anticipation builds for Trump climate order

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill