Updated May 18, 2018

Utilities, Tesla sue Trump over fuel standards rollback

President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images. Tesla car charger. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Companies looking to profit off electric cars are suing President Trump for proposing to roll back fuel-efficiency regulations.

Driving the news: A strange bedfellows group formed last year by utilities and Tesla filed suit in the D.C. Circuit earlier this month against the Environmental Protection Agency's move to roll back fuel-efficiency standards. The lawsuit adds to a separate suit filed by California with more than a dozen other states and another filed by several environmental groups.

The bottom line: Rising fuel-efficiency standards would increase demand for electric cars, which would spur electricity demand, a top priority for utilities that are facing largely stagnant electricity demand from buildings. Critics call this rent-seeking. Industry calls it smart business in Washington.

Gritty details: The coalition, called the National Coalition for Advanced Transportation, is made up of 16 entities, mostly utilities (seven of them either Exelon or Exelon subsidiaries) and other companies with a financial stake in growing demand for electric cars, including Tesla.

  • A spokesman for the group says they have reached out to more than two dozen other companies, including American Electric Power, Southern Company and Duke Energy, about joining.

What they're saying: Bob Wyman, a lawyer at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles who speaks on behalf of the group, said the companies support more flexible standards in response to automaker concerns.

  • Yes, but: A freeze in the current standards, as the administration is considering, would sap investments in new technologies and put the U.S. behind in leadership on this issue, Wyman said.

The big picture: The very existence of this coalition reflects the scrambled industry alliances forming in response to President Trump’s unconventional administration — and his unprecedented rollback of regulations. I covered this dynamic in my latest Harder Line column published earlier this week.

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Making sense of the UN's climate conference coronavirus delay

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scuttling of November's pivotal UN climate conference is the starkest sign yet of how coronavirus is throwing a wrench into efforts to combat global warming. But like the wider relationship between the coronavirus and climate initiatives, the ramifications are ... complicated.

Driving the news: UN officials announced Wednesday that the annual summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, is postponed until some unknown time next year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The weirdest NBA draft ever

Table: Axios Visuals

The 2020 NBA draft was already shaping up to be the weirdest draft in years, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the sports world, it could be the weirdest draft ever.

Why it matters: While most drafts have a clear hierarchy by the time April rolls around, this draft does not. There's no reliable No. 1 pick, almost every top-10 prospect has a glaring weakness and the global sports hiatus has shrouded the whole class in mystery.

Go deeperArrow43 mins ago - Sports