TPM News

President Donald Trump’s EPA will unveil a plan in coming days that unravels an Obama-era regulation meant to wean the U.S. off of coal power plants in favor of cleaner forms of energy, according to a Tuesday Politico report.

The proposal would let states write their own lax regulations, or opt out of regulations altogether, for coal-burning power plants. The EPA has reportedly acknowledged that the new proposal would result in increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants, undermining  President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The plan essentially will disregard regulations to let the plants burn more coal at a cost-efficient pace, thus encouraging businesses to use them instead of sources that don’t harm the environment.

Per Politico, environmental activists and Democratic states plan to fight the proposal when it is finalized. The EPA reportedly plans to argue that the Obama-era regulation would illegally regulate the power sector, and that the costs of compliance would be insurmountable.

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ROME (AP) — Italy’s deputy premier, Luigi Di Maio, is blaming the collapse of a major highway bridge in Genoa on a lack of maintenance by the private company that operates many of the nation’s toll highways.

Speaking in Genoa, Di Maio said Wednesday that he was looking at revoking highway concessions.

He said of the holding company that controls Autostrade Per Italia: “instead of investing money for maintenance, they divide the profits and that is why the bridge falls.”

Di Maio, who leads the anti-business 5-Star Movement party that is part of Italy’s coalition government, took a swipe at the Benneton group, which controls Autostrade SRL through its Atlantia holding company. He blamed previous Italian governments of turning a blind eye to the health of the nation’s toll highways because of political contributions.

Autostrade controls 3,020 kilometers (1,876 miles) of Italian highways.

Genoa prosecutor Francesco Cozzi says the investigation into the fatal bridge collapse is focusing on maintenance and the design of the 51-year-old bridge.

Cozzi told reporters Wednesday that he didn’t know if anyone bore legal responsibility for the collapse that killed at least 39 people but he said “for sure it was not an accident.”

Cozzi said there were no pending complaints involving the bridge in recent years, and that they were also checking archives.

But he noted if there had been serious concerns about the safety of the bridge in the prosecutor’s office “none of us would have driven over that highway 20 times a month as we do.”

Still, the head of Italy’s transport department has said that a $22.7 million safety upgrade for the bridge had been planned.

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and first Muslim elected to Congress, won his party’s nomination Tuesday for Minnesota attorney general in a race clouded in the final days by an ex-girlfriend’s allegation of domestic abuse.

The allegation surfaced the weekend before Tuesday’s primary when the son of Ellison’s former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, posted on Facebook that he had seen angry text messages from Ellison to his mother and a video that showed him dragging Monahan off a bed.

Ellison easily emerged out of a crowded field that included state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, former Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley and attorney Matt Pelikan.

Monahan, a Minneapolis political organizer, said via Twitter that her son’s posting was “true” but did not respond to an Associated Press request to review the messages and video. She later told Minnesota Public Radio News that she would not release the video because it is “humiliating.”

While Ellison called for Sen. Al Franken to step down when sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him last November, Ellison said Tuesday night that there’s a crucial difference in their cases.

“In this case, it’s not true of me. It’s just not true. We’ll talk more about it in the coming days,” he said.

Ellison earlier denied any abuse or threatening messages and said the supposed video “does not exist because I have never behaved in this way.”

Ellison, 54 and divorced, is a six-term congressman and a leader within the Democratic Party. He became deputy chairman of the DNC last year after falling just short of the top job.

Ellison was among candidates rushing to file for Minnesota’s attorney general office after incumbent Lori Swanson made a late decision to run for governor.

He said he wanted to push back against President Donald Trump’s policies that he argued were hurting people, adding that he admired Democratic attorneys general in other states who had done so. He said his priorities included protecting former President Barack Obama’s health care law and restoring so-called “net neutrality” provisions scrapped by the Federal Communications Commission under Trump.

With a huge fundraising advantage and star power over his opponents — including a visit from 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders — Ellison was considered the heavy favorite before the Monahan allegation surfaced.

Many voters had cast ballots before Monahan’s allegation emerged. More than 117,000 early votes had been received statewide by Monday morning. By comparison, only about 234,000 votes were cast among all parties in the 2014 attorney general primary.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A onetime teen mother who became a celebrated teacher defeated a veteran politician Tuesday in the Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat currently held by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who didn’t seek re-election amid criticism of her mishandling of a sexual harassment case in her office.

Wolcott educator Jahana Hayes, who received a National Teacher of the Year award from President Barack Obama in 2016, will now face Republican Manny Santos, a former mayor of Meriden, in the November election. Despite being a political newcomer, Hayes is already on much better financial footing than Santos, who defeated two primary challengers to win the GOP nomination.

Hayes topped Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, a two-time lieutenant governor candidate. If she wins the general election in November, Hayes, 45, will be the first black woman to win a Connecticut congressional seat.

“When we started this campaign a little more than 100 days ago, we had no organization and no network. People told us we had no chance and no business trying to upset the status quo,” Hayes told her cheering supporters, who gathered at a Waterbury hotel. “And tonight, we proved them wrong.”

A Democratic primary was unthinkable a year ago, when many observers believed Esty would likely win a fourth term. But the outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement abruptly announced in April she wouldn’t seek re-election after facing heavy criticism and calls for her resignation over how she handled the firing of a former chief of staff accused of harassment. Esty has said she regrets not moving along an internal investigation into the 2016 allegations, which ultimately revealed more widespread allegations of abuse.

Hayes, who grew up in public housing, has vowed to “fight for the soul of our nation” in Washington, D.C. During her acceptance speech, she called for Medicare for all, stronger gun laws, and an educational system that provides greater opportunities for all children.

In contrast, Santos has called Republican President Donald Trump’s economic policies “dead on” and has vowed to fight tax increases and unnecessary spending.

“A win for Republicans in this state is also a win for the people of this state. It is also a win for the taxpayers,” Santos said in a victory speech Tuesday night.

He comes into the general election at a significant financial disadvantage, with recent reports showing he has less than $500 in cash still on hand for the race after accounting for a campaign debt. In contrast, Hayes had about $360,000 as of July 25.
Santos urged his supporters to rally behind him this fall.

“It’s going to take every one of you, just like we did for the primary, to come out and support and spend your time,” he said. Former U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson was the last Republican to hold the seat. She lost it in 2006 to Democrat Chris Murphy, who is now a U.S. senator and who encouraged Hayes to consider running for his old seat.

In April, Esty abruptly announced she wouldn’t seek re-election. She made the announcement days after apologizing for not protecting her employees from the male ex-chief of staff.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Randy Bryce, a union ironworker known by the nickname “Iron Stache,” won Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the race to replace Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin for a seat he’s held 20 years.

Republicans, for their part, pinned their hopes on a former Ryan aide, picking Bryan Steil, an attorney who is from a prominent family in the same hometown of Ryan, in a five-way primary. Steil will face Bryce in the Nov. 6 general election.

Bryce called Steil a Ryan “clone” and branded him “Lyin’ Bryan” in a statement his campaign texted to The Associated Press on Tuesday evening.

“He has no idea what people in this district need,” said Bryce, who defeated Janesville teacher and school board member Cathy Myers in the Democratic primary.

Steil predicted voters will see stark contrasts in their policies. He said he wants to keep money in Wisconsin residents’ pockets. He said Bryce wants to pump more cash into Washington, D.C., and will work for a government takeover of health care.

“I don’t think people are going to be attracted to the failed economic policies of the past,” Steil, who since 2016 had served on the University of Wisconsin board of trustees, said in a telephone interview.

Bryce, who entered the race months before Ryan announced his retirement in April, fueled hopes among Democrats that they can take the southeastern Wisconsin seat that leans Republican. The thickly-mustachioed Bryce burst onto the national political scene with a slick campaign launch video a year ago, raising $6 million and snagging high-profile endorsements from the likes of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned for him, and labor activist Dolores Huerta.

But Republicans say the hype surrounding Bryce is just that. And personal baggage, including a history of legal and financial trouble, has plagued Bryce and fueled attacks from Myers. She argues that Bryce’s past, which includes failure to pay child support and a 20-year-old drunken-driving arrest, makes him unreliable and unelectable.

In other Wisconsin congressional races:

— 3rd District: In this Milwaukee district, seven-term Democratic incumbent Gwen Moore beat Gary George, a former state senator who was convicted of a felony in a kickback scheme in 2004 and ran unsuccessfully against Moore in 2014 and 2016. On the Republican side, deliveryman Tim Rogers beat Cindy Werner, a U.S. Army veteran who moved to Milwaukee 18 months ago from Texas.

— 5th District: In the suburban Milwaukee district, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the second-longest serving member of the House first elected in 1978, defeated pediatrician Jennifer Vipond in his first primary in a decade. Sensenbrenner will face Democrat Tom Palzewicz in the general election.

— 7th District: In this northern Wisconsin district, Democrat Margaret Engebretson, an attorney, beat Brian Ewert, a doctor, for a chance to take on Republican Rep. Sean Duffy.

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