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Last Week

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election found no evidence that President Donald Trump or his campaign aides conspired with Moscow and drew no conclusions about whether Trump obstructed justice, according to a summary by Attorney General William Barr. Trump touted the news as "a complete and total exoneration," while Democrats in Congress are already pressing the Justice Department to hand over more information, including the special counsel's investigative files. (The New York Times)

Environment
  • The US EPA announced in the Federal Register a proposal to make regulatory changes to allow gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol to take advantage of the 1 psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months. Comments on proposed change must be received by April 29, 2019.
  • Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and three Democrats told Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a letter to withdraw the agency's proposed changes to regulations limiting emissions of mercury and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants. Collins voted against Wheeler's nomination to lead the agency, and both Collins and Tillis face difficult re-election fights in 2020.
  • Republican lawmakers made clear that many of the cuts to federal energy and environmental programs that the Trump administration has proposed will not be enacted in fiscal 2020, including the suggested $2 billion reduction in Environmental Protection Agency funding and the zeroing-out of the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program. Additionally, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said that following Democrats' assumption of the House majority, the legislation that appropriators produce is "going to be more in the Democratic mold." (Bloomberg BNA)
Tariffs
  • President Trump said the United States will keep tariffs on Chinese goods for a "substantial period of time," even after a trade deal. The two countries are preparing for a fresh round of face-to-face negotiations about the tariff rollback, as well as enforcement and technology issues. (The Wall Street Journal)
Labor
  • Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued its first three opinion letters of 2019 concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (National Law Review)
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