Happy Friday! Welcome back to Generate, where today's topics include: oil sands, weed and money. I wish Warren Zevon was alive to write that song. Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree. And confidential tips and feedback are always welcome. Let's dive in . . .
From my Axios colleague Amy Harder....
Some global oil-and-gas companies are splitting from smaller, more domestic players over whether EPA should alter or simply jettison methane emissions standards for new wells.
Why it matters: The side that prevails could signal which industry faction wields the most influence as the White House upends Obama-era policies. Oh, and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.
What's happening: This week EPA chief Scott Pruitt said companies can forgo compliance with Obama's 2016 methane rule for at least three months. The move sets up a debate over whether to make Obama's mandate more industry-friendly, or scrap it outright.
Battle lines: Big international companies like Royal Dutch Shell want a less restrictive methane rule on the books, industry sources say. One reason is because the massive companies can comply easily. Another: being "for" the (albeit altered) rule enables the industry to tout natural gas as a solution to climate change. Burning natural gas spews way less carbon dioxide than coal, but methane leaks can erode much of that climate advantage.
However, independent producers like Devon Energy want the rule simply killed with no replacement. Why?
Pruitt may be more inclined to side with the independent players. They're the top producers in Oklahoma, where he served as attorney general and had close ties to those companies.
Here's two updates on how the Trump administration is putting new restrictions on funding decisions at energy and resource agencies.
Interior Department: Axios obtained an internal memo showing that high-level Trump officials at the Interior are requiring a new review of fiscal year 2017 grants and cooperative agreements of $100,000 or more before they can move forward.
Energy Department: Politico Pro reported yesterday that the department has begun withholding funding on Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grants that have already been approved under the Obama administration. Projects that received initial backing are expected to have money withheld under the "procurement hold," according to the report.
ARPA-E funds research and development in a wide range of "breakthrough" energy technologies. The agency has bipartisan support in Congress, but Trump's proposed fiscal year 2018 budget seeks to end all funding.
Quick take: The apparent restrictions at ARPA-E could set up an early clash between Congress and the Trump administration over support for green energy R&D ahead of wider spending battles over fiscal year 2018 appropriations.
New look: The Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars, a lobbying and advocacy group of several auto industry suppliers, is about to relaunch with a broader focus as the Alliance for Vehicle Efficiency. The group's members are: Bosch, BorgWarner, Honeywell, Johnson Matthey, and Umicore.
Driving the change: The market has shifted, and the development of other technologies warrants advocacy beyond diesel, executive director Jeffrey Breneman tells Axios in an email.
The goal: The group believes that widespread market adoption of "innovative" internal combustion engine improvements and other advanced efficiency tech has "positive impacts for the U.S. economy, jobs, consumers and environment."
The Wall Street Journal is out with an update to its scoop on Exxon's quiet bid for a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Russia in order to proceed with a key drilling project there. (We explored the topic in yesterday's Generate.)
Lining up against it: Prominent Capitol Hill players including GOP Sen. Marco Rubio have joined the ranks of lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to oppose the request.
Here's a few newly surfaced lobbying disclosure filings....
Solar: Tesla has brought on Rubin and Rudman LLP to lobby on "Solar energy and storage related issues."
Oil-and-gas: Marathon Oil has hired Four Rivers Consulting to lobby on "all issues" related to domestic oil-and-gas production. PDC Energy has brought on the Coffee Group to work on "air regulation and emissions matters."
Power: Dominion Resources Services has tapped D Squared Tax Strategies, LLC to lobby on "overall electricity legislation."
Coal: Clean Coal Technologies Inc. is now represented by Squire Patton Boggs, which is lobbying on federal funding for low-emissions tech.The Lignite Energy Council has hired Hollier & Associates to lobby on Energy Department appropriations.
Weed: The California Public Utilities Commission is out with a new summary of its exploration of how to ensure power demand associated with newly legal recreational weed doesn't collide with the state's clean energy goals. Growing pot is energy intensive.
Tesla: The electric automaker is voluntarily recalling 53,000 Model S and Model X vehicles built between February and October 2016 because a faulty electric parking brake could remain engaged. No accidents or injuries have been reported, Tesla said.
Finance: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says the White House uncertainty about the Paris accord won't change the group's approach to financing alternative energy projects, according to MarketWatch.
People: Former Energy secretary Ernest Moniz is the first "distinguished fellow" with the Emerson Collective, a nonprofit "social impact" group. One major focus will be aiding areas where the shift to low-carbon energy is affecting jobs and "communities where infrastructure designed for heavy industry and manufacturing has weakened economic equality," the group said.
The World Meteorological Organization noted this on Twitter this morning.
That's it for today! Thanks for reading, and Generate will be back Monday. Until then, you can find more coverage in the Axios stream. Have a great weekend.