Your daily briefing for all the top news in Energy, Technology, Finance, and Politics.


Double Trouble Carbon Regulation
The D.C. Circuit already tossed one EPA rule in 2008 for ignoring the distinction between Clean Air Act sections 111 and 112, and the Supreme Court distinguished national and state-by-state standards in the 2011 American Electric Power v. Connecticut decision. The courts seem increasingly alarmed by abuses of executive power, especially in environmental law, so Murray Energy v. EPA is a good opportunity for the D.C. Circuit to define the contours of Mr. Obama’s Presidency.


Google’s Climate Name-Calling
Holman W. Jenkins Jr.
Google’s chairman confessed his company had joined the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that promotes business-friendly policies at the state level, for “something unrelated” but had recently quit. Ranted Mr. Schmidt: “Everyone understands climate change is occurring. And the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying.” ALEC doesn’t take a position on climate change. The worst that anyone can find on its website is a claim that climate change would be a mixed bag for the U.S.—which is certainly true.


Oil, rail industries want 7 years to fix tank cars
The oil and railroad industries are urging federal regulators to allow them as long as seven years to upgrade existing tank cars that transport highly volatile crude oil, a top oil industry official said Tuesday.


Senate Dems call for ‘strongest possible’ fracking regs
Laura Barron-Lopez
A group of Senate Democrats called for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Friday to issue the “strongest possible” safety standards for fracking operations on public lands. The Interior Department recently sent its rule on fracking, a horizontal drilling method for oil and gas that pumps chemicals and water into the ground to break up deposits, to the OMB for final review.


Cove Point ruling bodes ill for greens’ LNG fight
Elana Schor
Late Monday, FERC approved Cove Point, a $3.8 billion plan by energy titan Dominion to ship liquefied natural gas to Asia and other foreign buyers. FERC’s fourth approval of an LNG export facility — this one backed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, in whose district Cove Point sits — highlights the far longer odds greens face in applying a Keystone template to fight other fossil fuel infrastructure projects.


Obama and Modi announce agreement on U.S.-India efforts to fight global warming
Joby Warrick
The Obama administration reached an agreement with India on Tuesday on measures intended to accelerate that country’s shift to renewable fuels, steps that officials say will reduce carbon emissions while helping India’s new government extend electricity to all of its 1.2 billion citizens. The package, announced after talks between President Obama and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also contained a modest step toward reducing global emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, industrial chemicals that act as a powerful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Indian officials formally agreed to engage in international discussions that the White House hopes will lead to a phaseout of the chemicals, known as HFCs.




Now entering political arena: Women in tech
Anna Palmer
Women in tech are taking on high-profile roles in both the Washington and California political arenas, cutting big political checks and taking their case to Capitol Hill, even lobbying in person with lawmakers and staff.


FCC Makes Pitch for TV Stations’ Spectrum
Gautham Nagesh
The broadcasters have thrown up roadblocks throughout the process and are currently challenging aspects of the FCC’s order in court, though they say they are fine with the auction as long as it remains voluntary. To win them over, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is making the case that the auction is a unique opportunity for TV broadcasters and has hired an investment bank, Greenhill & Co., to prepare a pitch document that it will send to every eligible TV station in the country. The document attempts to spell out how broadcasters stand to benefit from participating in the auction—including dollar estimates in every market.


More Cable Companies Take TV Off Menu
Shalini Ramachandran
Of the 100 million homes in the U.S. that subscribe to pay TV, about 14% are served by smaller companies that have a million or fewer customers. In some cases, they serve fewer than 100. Faced with rising programming costs, some of those companies—such as Ringgold Telephone Co. in Georgia and BTC Broadband in Bixby, Okla.—have pulled the plug on TV service altogether, preferring to simply focus on Internet and phone service.


In Latest Blow to NFL, FCC Repeals TV Blackout Rules
Brendan Sasso
The league argued that the rules were necessary to keep games on local broadcast TV stations. The regulations also helped keep stadiums full, boosting local economies, the league asserted. But the Federal Communications Commission didn’t buy it. The five commissioners voted unanimously to repeal the regulations.


Uber Improves Life, Economists Agree
Justin Wolfers
When asked whether “letting car services such as Uber or Lyft compete with taxi firms on equal footing regarding genuine safety and insurance requirements, but without restrictions on prices or routes, raises consumer welfare,” the responses varied only in the intensity with which they agreed. Of the 40 economists who responded, 60 percent “strongly agree,” 40 percent “agree,” and none chose “uncertain,” “disagree” and “strongly disagree.”


Apple’s Special Irish Tax Breaks
Lawmakers around the world must agree not to compete by offering relative tax advantages that hurt everyone. And they must tighten rules that let multinational companies avoid paying the taxes they owe.




Argentina’s Contempt
Argentines now live with an inflation rate estimated at 40%, frequent power outages, plummeting asset values and a toxic reputation in global financial markets. Blaming foreigners for their economic plight is traditional sport for Buenos Aires politicians. But the people of Argentina may eventually figure out that the contempt Mrs. Kirchner and her populist ministers are showering on “the vultures” is ultimately directed at them.


Momentum for the Trans-Pacific Partnership needs to be revived
THE TRANS-PACIFIC Partnership is a proposed free-trade agreement that will knit the United States and 11 nations of South America, North America and Asia more closely together, while providing a geopolitical counterweight to a rising China. The pact would be especially valuable because Japan is willing to join, which would require a long-overdue opening and restructuring of its protected but lackluster economy. Indeed, without Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, the TPP loses much of its strategic significance.


SEC Grants Citigroup Waivers, Easing Hedge-Fund Curbs
Citigroup Inc. is no longer a “bad actor” in the eyes of U.S. securities regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission quietly granted the bank waivers on restrictions that crimped a range of its activities, including selling investments in hedge funds to individuals, following a recent securities-fraud settlement.


Now as Provocateur, Summers Says Treasury Undermined Fed
Binyamin Appelbaum
Lawrence Summers, the former chief economic adviser to President Obama, said on Tuesday that the Treasury Department had undermined the Federal Reserve’s stimulus campaign and that doing so was a large and expensive mistake.


Court Throws Out Lawsuits Related to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Profits
Joe Light
“It is understandable [for the profit sweep] to raise eyebrows, or even engender a feeling of discomfort,” wrote Judge Lamberth, who added that the act and the language of the companies’ stock certificates compel “the dismissal of all of the plaintiffs’ claims.” It is unclear whether the plaintiffs will appeal Judge Lamberth’s decision, and other similar cases are ongoing before different judges.




Independent review of Secret Service needed after White House security breach
SECRET SERVICE Director Julia Pierson promised a congressional committee that her agency would conduct a vigorous and comprehensive review of security lapses at the White House. “It will never happen again,” she pledged. But her halting performance at Tuesday’s special hearing was far from reassuring given recent revelations of embarrassing, and potentially disastrous, incidents involving this critical agency.


The Collapse of the Secret Service
Mr. Obama will now have to decide whether Ms. Pierson is up to the job of protecting him and his family, as well as the nation’s reputation. But, at a minimum, he has to insist on an independent, top-to-bottom review of the Secret Service, not one conducted by officials trying to protect themselves or their agency.


White House Down
The latest episode marks a new nadir in the decline of government, and the start of rebuilding professionalism is accountability. That should include firing Ms. Pierson and anyone else who lies to the public. The Secret Service also ought to respond to White House invaders with lethal force. The next Omar Gonzales or Chester Plummer may be a terrorist strapped to a bomb.


Secret Service chief fails to reassure
If Pierson’s performance Tuesday is any guide, she’s not up to the job. The Secret Service needs an overhaul, best led by someone from the outside, before it becomes a national punchline.


Showing Concern for the President, Even While Criticizing Him
Peter Baker
Although the target of the legislative scrutiny is the Secret Service, not the president, the furor over security has left the White House on the defensive. At Tuesday’s Capitol Hill hearing and at the daily White House news briefing, the questions fueled an air of scandal: Who knew what when, and was there a cover-up?


The silly, selective ‘war on women’
Kathleen Parker
A more recent example of a war-on-women event occurred in Virginia’s closely watched congressional race between Democrat John Foust and Republican Barbara Comstock. This time it was a Democratic male attacking a Republican female in, shall we say, the most clueless of terms. Lacking facts or finesse, Foust mused to an audience that Comstock hadn’t ever held a “real job.” Meaning, what, that she’s just a mom ? Even if this were so, and it is not, why should Foust get a pass for such an ignorant, sexist remark? Is any Democratic male — even one who manages to insult while pandering — better than any Republican female? In my experience, a woman who can manage a household and juggle the needs of three children while obtaining a law degree from Georgetown University, as Comstock did, can run a corporation or a nation.


Democrats make risky bet against GOP Leader Mitch McConnell
Alexander Bolton
Democrats in Washington are taking a risky bet by quadrupling their investment in Alison Lundergan Grimes, a young and largely unproven challenger, who is running against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Spending a fresh $1.4 million on a statewide TV ad bashing McConnell is a gamble for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which has six vulnerable incumbents and a long-held Democratic seat in Iowa to defend.


From shaming to semi-stalking, Democrats flood inboxes for last-minute campaign cash
Ed O’Keefe
“Absolute meltdown.” “Kiss any hope goodbye. “We’re done. Go home. Give up.” The lyrics to a moody ballad? A depressing Facebook page? No, these are subject lines from a series of frantic e-mail messages sent to Democratic donors in recent days.


Coming Soon to the House GOP: More Moderates?
Billy House
A number of Republicans this year are running competitively in blue- or purple-state seats now held by Democrats. So while recent election cycles have swept a host of conservative and tea-party-backed GOP candidates into Congress, the next freshman class could well include more moderates and lawmakers who owe their allegiance to current party leadership.