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My latest Harder Line column is a dispatch from Port Saint Lucie, Florida, where I talked with swing voters about the environment and climate change. I'll share a glimpse, and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on other news.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Swing voters in four battleground states decisively oppose President Trump’s sweeping rollbacks of environmental regulations — but it’s unlikely to sway their votes.
Why it matters: Voters living in these states — Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan — fill pivotal roles in electing America’s presidents.
What they’re saying: Kathy, a 62-year-old Floridian, lamented the toxic algae blooms afflicting waterways in the area, including the nearby town of Stuart.
How it works: The focus groups in each of the four states were asked to rate, 0-10, to what degree they support Trump’s rollbacks of environmental regulations. This was asked twice: first without showing a list of 17 specific rollbacks, and then after.
“Before seeing that list of rollbacks, my hand would have been up 100% for Trump. After seeing it, my hand was not up. I’m not 100% sold on him. I would say I’m 80% sold on Trump just because of a lot of the other things he stands for.”— Matthew B., a 34-year-old Florida resident
What’s next: Matthew says he’s not sure who he’s going to vote for. Kathy and four of the other Florida voters said they plan to vote for Trump again, despite opposing his environmental record.
Click here to read the full column.
Capitol Hill: Cabinet-level officials will face grillings from lawmakers this week as they testify on the White House's budget request.
More Capitol Hill: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairwoman Lisa Murkowski could unveil bipartisan energy legislation this week. She told Alaska state lawmakers last week that the upcoming plan would "advance a range of clean energy technologies."
White House: President Trump is in India early this week and boosting U.S. energy exports — notably gas — is on the agenda. Brouillette is on the trip, and so is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Supreme Court: Via AP, the high court will hear arguments today over the fate of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a controversial natural gas project.
2020 election: Democratic 2020 hopefuls will debate in South Carolina Tuesday night ahead of the primary there on Saturday. It's also the last debate before Super Tuesday on March 3.
Trump administration officials face headwinds as they seek agreements to export more U.S. liquefied natural gas to India, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Where it stands: Buyers are wary of long-term deals and instead are increasingly turning to the more flexible spot markets to find cheaper supplies, their piece notes.
Why it matters: That's a problem for companies planning to build new U.S. export facilities but "need sizable advance commitments from buyers to secure the billions needed for the projects."
Two new corporate decisions highlight the increasing tension between developing carbon-intensive fuels and the push for sustainable energy.
Driving the news, part 1: London-based Anglo Pacific Group, which provides financing to mining companies, said Monday that it will no longer invest in thermal coal (which is used in power).
Why it matters: "The shift in Anglo Pacific’s strategy comes as fund managers from BlackRock to Norges become increasingly reluctant to have any association with thermal coal, a mineral that releases more carbon dioxide than any other energy source," per FT.
Driving the news, part 2: Last night, Teck Resources dropped plans to build a major new oil sands mine in Alberta, just ahead an anticipated decision by Canada's federal government on the controversial project.
The big picture: Bloomberg notes that the decision to abandon the decade-old plan frees Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from a difficult decision on balancing resource development and climate goals.
The closing memo from the G20 finance ministers' weekend meeting points out that the multilateral Financial Stability Board is "examining the financial stability implications of climate change."
Why it matters: The brief shout-out is the first time that G20 finance officials have referenced climate in a joint communique during the Trump administration, Reuters reports.
But, but, but: Their piece and the New York Times' write-up both report that administration officials resisted stronger language about the topic.
The big picture: The White House has de-emphasized climate-related risks in addition to weakening regulations and abandoning the Paris climate deal.
The chart above shows how the share of federal spending on energy research and development has largely declined over decades.
Driving the news: It's one of the data points in a report last week urging Congress to greatly expand the federal programs that help develop and commercialize climate-friendly tech.
What they're saying: Via Axios' Orion Rummler, recommendations from the American Energy Innovation Council — a group of private-sector heavyweights including Bill Gates and Royal Dutch Shell chairman Chad Holliday — include...
A big climate story that broke during our hiatus last week was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announcing plans to spend $10 billion of his personal fortune to fight climate change.
The intrigue: That's a lot of money in the world of climate philanthropy.