The Trump effect on US-Mexico water talks – Politico
With help from Eric Wolff
CRUNCH TIME FOR U.S.-MEXICO WATER TALKS: Negotiators who’ve worked for years are pressing to finish a new water-sharing deal over the dwindling supplies from the Colorado River before president-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20 — or put at risk years of fruitful collaboration on the sharing of cross-border water supplies that are vital to both countries, Pro’s Annie Snider reports. The current agreement expires at the end of 2017, and the pressure is rising ahead of potential supply cuts that could kick in in 2018 along the river that provides the lifeblood of much of the American southwest, feeding desert metropolises including Phoenix, San Diego and Las Vegas, and supplying farmers who grow 15 percent of the nation’s food.
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The Trump wild card: The fears are not only that Trump — who has called Mexicans rapists and criminals and vowed to erect a massive border wall — could tear up any potential deal, but that even turning the talks over to new negotiators would stall the process, since it would take them months to get up to speed. “There’s pressure to finish off any type of arrangement that you start with one administration,” said Carlos de la Parra, a Mexican water analyst who advised his country’s lead negotiator on the previous water sharing deal. “Now there’s this surprise, and there’s a president-elect Trump, and obviously that becomes a little more acute given his discourse.”
Trump hasn’t spoken about the Colorado River’s issues and his transition team did not respond to a request for comment. U.S. negotiators right now are focusing on the technical matters of a crafting a water-sharing deal and hoping to keep politics out of the talks. But keeping calm heads is only getting harder as flows on the river continue to dwindle and getting a deal done before his inauguration will be a heavy lift.
WELCOME TO MONDAY! I’m your host Anthony Adragna, and congratulations to Chris Swanson for correctly identifying Andrew Johnson as the only president to return to the Senate after his presidency. An easy one to ease into the week: Walt Whitman’s legendary “O Captain! My Captain!” was written about which president? Send your tips, energy gossip and comments to [email protected], or follow us on Twitter @AnthonyAdragna, @Morning_Energy, and @POLITICOPro.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Morning Energy will not publish on Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25. Our next Morning Energy will publish on Nov. 28.
TIME TO GET REAL: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy makes what is expected to be one of her final major speeches today at the National Press Club. She plans to speak about the Obama administration’s legacy on climate change, but will also take questions for the first time since Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the presidential contest. If you go: Remarks begin at 1 p.m. at the National Press Club or watch them here.
GRABBING THE REINS (ACT) AGAIN: Congress appears ready once again move on legislation requiring that any new regulation with annual costs of $100 million or more would need to receive formal congressional authorization. That bill, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, has been repeatedly stymied by Obama administration opposition. “Restoring legislative responsibility to the people’s representatives, and away from the executive, through regulatory reforms like the REINS Act will help grow our economy and restore trust in responsive government,” Sen.-elect Todd Young said Saturday in the weekly Republican address.
FIRST IN THE FIRING LINE: While it’s clear much of the Obama administration’s environmental work will be at risk beginning in January, Pro’s Alex Guillén looks at which regulations are most vulnerable in Energy Regulation Watch. Sitting on the chopping block are guidance documents, like the social cost of carbon and the Council on Environmental Quality’s NEPA guidance directing federal agencies to more fully consider climate change when approving projects, as well as Interior’s stream protection rule (if it’s finalized) and Interior’s methane and flaring rule. Formal regulations are at risk of being overturned through the Congressional Review Act, while those guidance documents could be even more quickly rescinded.
Next up are regulatory actions that have been in place too long to be killed through the CRA, but that the GOP-led Congress and Trump have expressed an interest in blocking. They include EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the agency’s carbon emissions limits for new coal plants, the waters of the U.S., EPA’s tightened ozone standards and BLM’s fracking rule.
RYAN VOWS BATTLE OVER ARCTIC DRILLING: Republicans already have a lengthy list of regulations they’d like to undo, and Speaker Paul Ryan plans to add President Barack Obama’s five-year offshore drilling plan to it. “His plan to exclude the resource-rich Arctic from exploration possibilities squanders our ability to harness the abundant, affordable energy sources that power our economy,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement. “That’s why we will work to overturn this plan, and to open up the Arctic and other offshore areas for development.”
CRUSHING THE ‘REGULATORY STATE’: Sen. Ted Cruz vowed Friday in remarks before the Federalist Society to rescind Obama-era regulations and “fire regulators who are abusing their power” during the Trump administration. “The one silver lining of Obama’s abuse of executive power is everything he did can be undone through executive power,” Cruz said, adding he had already asked his staff to look at creative solutions.
TRUMP QUESTIONS MUDDLE MARRAKECH TALKS: Two weeks of climate negotiations wrapped up this weekend in Morocco, but the concern over the future of the Paris Climate Agreement is focused on whether Donald Trump acts on his promise to pull the U.S. in the deal when he takes office. Rumor out of the Trump camp has been that he is considering how to fastest get out of the agreement, but negotiators and world leaders spent their time making speeches to try to persuade him that the cost of leaving the agreement would be high.
Nations set a 2018 deadline to agree on a set of rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. Those rules will lay out how the deal should be governed going forward. Negotiators also dug into the details of putting together a $100 billion annual fund for helping developing countries deal with climate change, and there was some tension over how much money should be dedicated to reducing emissions versus adapting to the consequences of climate change. “The central accomplishment of this meeting was keeping every nation committed to the Paris Agreement despite Trump’s threats to withdraw the US,” said Paul Bledsoe, former Clinton White House official who attended the Marrakech meetings.
LONDON MAYOR TO VW: PAY UP: Mayor Sadiq Kahn asked Volkswagen in a letter to “fully compensate” London’s residents for lost revenue stemming from the car maker’s emissions cheating scandal, according to multiple local reports. “I want to see a proper commitment from them to fully compensate the thousands of Londoners who bought VW cars in good faith, but whose diesel engines are now contributing to London’s killer air,” Kahn wrote. The letter requests £2.5 million, which Kahn said would fund an air quality program in schools.