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TRUMP TOPS THE AGENDA AT SAUDI CABINET MEETING: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud launched his cabinet session on Tuesday with a briefing on his conversations with President Trump on the crisis involving slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which could have severe economic and energy-related consequences for the world.

“At the outset of the session, the King briefed the cabinet on telephone contacts with President Donald Trump of the United States of America during which latest developments in the region were discussed,” the Saudi government’s state-run news wire reported.

The king and Trump discussed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa “during which bilateral historical, distinguished and close relationships were asserted with the keenness of all to strengthen and develop them,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Cooling tensions, or not? This could be seen as a cooling of tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the murder of the Saudi journalist and U.S. resident. Or, at least, that’s what its intent is.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, said on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning that he is “going to sanction the hell out Saudi Arabia.” He is one of 22 senators who prompted an investigation in Khashoggi’s murder.

Trump has vowed to take firm action if Khashoggi was murdered, while the Saudi government said Monday it would counter any action by the United States.

A worst-case scenario: Analysts believe the worst-case scenario would be that the Saudis use the oil weapon if economic sanctions are imposed by the U.S. But there are some caveats with that.

“The worst-case scenario would be, first of all the sanctions being imposed, and then secondly the Saudis’ response to it as increasing the oil prices,” said Saruhan Hatipoglu, CEO of Business Environment Risk Intelligence, on CNN Tuesday morning.

He thinks raising the oil price is under consideration, but he is “not so sure whether the kingdom will go that route.”

He noted that raising the oil price would hit Saudi Arabia's other customers, not only the U.S., and that would ultimately hurt the Saudi economy.

Instead, he thinks the Saudis will begin to scale-back investments in the United States, which could include the billions of dollars in arms sales that Trump wants protected.

Doesn’t look good for the Saudis: New developments on Tuesday could test U.S.-Saudi relations even further, as Turkish officials confirmed that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

At the same time that was being reported, the Saudi cabinet “welcomed the announcement by the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey” that it is ready to form a joint working team bringing together specialists from the two countries to reveal the circumstances of the Khashoggi disappearance.

Pompeo in the desert: The cabinet session occurred after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Riyadh with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“During the meeting, historical relationships between the two countries, latest developments in the region and joint efforts being exerted towards them were reviewed,” according to a government news dispatch.

At the same time, the oil-rich kingdom moved forward with an energy agreement to better establish ties with Iraq’s energy ministry. The Saudi Cabinet authorized that the Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources sign and submit the final version of a draft Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries soon.  

Welcome to Daily on Energy, compiled by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writers John Siciliano (@JohnDSiciliano) and Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe). Email for tips, suggestions, calendar items and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list.  

FRANCIS ROONEY BECOMES THE LATEST REPUBLICAN TO CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE: Rep. Francis Rooney, a 64 year-old congressman first elected in 2016 to a safe Republican district, initially followed the company line that climate change is real, but humans’ impact on it is uncertain. Then he read about the science.

“Life is a journey of continuous learning,” Rooney told Josh in an interview. “Sea level rise [is] existential for Southwest Florida.”

How he earned climate credentials: Last month, Rooney joined the growing bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and co-sponsored a carbon tax bill introduced this summer by Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, the co-chair of the climate caucus.

Later, he introduced a resolution “expressing the sense of the House that sea level rise and flooding are of urgent concern impacting Florida” and requires immediate action to adapt and plan for.

Sea level rise is an entree to do more: He says sea level rise is a “existential” threat for Southwest Florida, and he hopes the issue can be a “gateway” for Republicans in Congress to go further with combating climate change.

“The more we can publicize the reality of sea level rise and the risk to a lot of places that are low, maybe some of those people will realize that you can be a plenty good conservative Republican on border security, on foreign affairs, on taxes, on business, and still care about the environment and whether you are going to get flooded,” Rooney said.

Read more of Josh’s interview with Rooney in this week’s Washington Examiner magazine.

TRUMP PUTS MINE SAFETY CHAIRMAN BACK IN PLACE AS A COMMISSIONER: President Trump on Tuesday announced his intent to keep William Althen as a serving member of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Althen had been on the commission since 2013, and was serving as acting chairman from January 2017 to August 2018.

Althen will serve on the commission for a term of six years expiring August 30, 2024.

ZINKE SAYS HE’S CONSIDERING USING MILITARY SITES TO EXPORT FOSSIL FUELS: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday that the Trump administration is considering using West Coast military sites to export coal and natural gas.

Zinke, in an interview with the Associated Press, claimed the export proposal is a national security priority -- a common refrain as the Trump administration tries to boost fossil fuels.

He only named one potential military installation as a potential export site, a former Navy base in Alaska.

States have rejected coal export projects: He said opposition from Democratic-controlled coastal states, such as Washington, to export projects is preventing the U.S. from exporting affordable energy to allies in Asia.

Last year, Washington state environmental regulators killed the proposed Millennium Bulk coal terminal, which would have been the largest such facility in the country.

“I respect the state of Washington and Oregon and California,” Zinke said. “But also, it’s in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities.”

Democrats pounce on the proposal: Democrats and environmentalists quickly denounced the proposal, saying it would circumvent the authority of West Coast state leaders who have rejected private sector efforts to build coal export facilities.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, called the proposal a “harebrained idea.”

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat of the Armed Services Committee, also criticized the proposal, saying climate change is the real national security facing the country, and military bases.

“This is a clear attempt to circumvent environmental oversight and protections,” Smith said. “The Trump Administration is once again using national security as an excuse to drive their short-sighted agenda. Turning our military bases into export terminals could be an encroachment risk and potentially harm military training, operations, and readiness.”

COURT BLOCKS TRUMP’S PUSH TO SHUT DOWN KIDS’ CLIMATE CHANGE LAWSUIT: An Oregon federal judge ruled Monday that a climate change lawsuit brought by children against the U.S. government can continue in court, dealing a blow to the Trump administration, which sought to shut the case down.

But U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken said Trump cannot be named a defendant in the case, only U.S. government agencies can.

The decision came days before the case is scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 29.

What the children are alleging: The case involves 21 children who allege that government policy has exacerbated global warming and climate change.

Our Children’s Trust, representing the group of kids, claims the government, by propping up fossil fuels, has failed to address climate change on behalf of future generations, endangering their health and prosperity. The group originally filed the lawsuit in 2015 in Oregon federal court during the Obama administration.

How the government is fighting the case: Both the Trump and Obama administration argued the case threatens the separation of powers, contending that courts cannot rule on broad and speculative issues such as the impact of government policy on climate change.

The federal judge, however, said the children have made a strong enough claim to have the case considered at trial.

CLEAN ENERGY GROUP RELEASES SCORECARD FOR GOVERNOR CANDIDATES: Advanced Energy Economy on Tuesday began rating candidates for governor in nine key states on clean energy with an online scorecard.

The group will advertise candidates’ records on issues such as modernizing the power grid, electrifying transportation, and setting clean energy targets.

The highlighted states are: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio.

AEE says 14 candidates in these nine states have included at least one of the group’s policy priorities in their clean energy platform.

Candidates are proposing ‘bolder’ visions: For example, the Democratic candidates for governor in Illinois, JB Pritzker, and Colorado, Jared Polis, have proposed requiring their states to obtain 100 percent of energy from renewable sources.

Both major party nominees have expressed support for at least one AEE policy priority in California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, and Ohio.

“Candidates recognize voters want someone with a vision,” J.R. Tolbert, vice president of  state policy at AEE told Josh. “They want something they can respond to. The bolder the vision the candidate campaigns on, the easier it is for me to hold them accountable once election day happens.”

MORE STORES PLAN TO OFFER E15 FUEL AFTER TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT: A growing number of gasoline and retail outlets have announced they will be selling 15-percent ethanol fuel blends in the wake of the president’s announcement a week ago that he would be working to open up a year-round market for the fuel.

The large convenience store chain Cumberland Farms is the latest company to add its name to the list of firms that will be selling E15, the ethanol trade group Growth Energy announced on Tuesday.

Over a dozen retail chains and counting: Cumberland Farms joins the ranks of Casey’s, Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Kum & Go, Minnoco, RaceTrac, Thorntons, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, Family Express, Holiday, Murphy USA, Rutter’s, and Cenex in selling E15.

The Massachusetts-based Cumberland Farms will begin offering E15 at more than 120 of its stores in the Northeast United States, according to Growth Energy, which supports the Prime the Pump program that works to help retailers sell E15.

Not everyone is enthusiastic: The National Marine Manufacturers Association on Tuesday released a digital essay on E15 labeling titled, “Protecting Boaters at the Gas Pump.”

The boat manufacturers have warned against making E15 available year round because of the damage the fuel causes to marine engines.

It wants Congress to mandate firm labeling regulations to ensure fuel retailers are protecting boaters and other users of small engines from the harm that E15 can cause.


Politico Rick Perry’s coal rescue runs aground at White House

Wall Street Journal Another victim of the trade spat: US oil to China

Bloomberg The Permian oil basin is showing signs of overheating

New York Times Heat and drought could threaten world beer supply

Utility Dive States reassert authority over power generation


TUESDAY | October 16

All day, New Delhi. One of largest energy conference in the U.S., CERAWeek, is holding its second annual energy forum in India, October 15-16. Featured speakers will include: Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih, OPEC ministers, and U.S. Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes.

6:30 p.m., K&L Gates LLP, 1601 K Street NW. The Women's Council on Energy and the Environment holds a discussion on "Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Exports: What Lies Beyond the Expected Near-Term Expansion?"

WEDNESDAY | October 17

11 a.m., Webinar. The National Academy of Sciences holds a webinar on "Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Seventh Biennial Review, 2018."