JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
U.S.: Environment & energy 2017
‘Evidence does not change when the administration changes’
Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House
(Vanity Fair) Donald Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, once campaigned to abolish the $30 billion agency that he now runs, which oversees everything from our nuclear arsenal to the electrical grid. The department’s budget is now on the chopping block. But does anyone in the White House really understand what the Department of Energy actually does? And what a horrible risk it would be to ignore its extraordinary, life-or-death responsibilities? (July 2017)
16 December 2016
Trump Rejects Climate Change, but Mar-a-Lago Could Be Lost to the Sea
Floridians in Palm Beach spend millions to deal with rising seas.
(Bloomberg) The bottom line: Trump has rejected the science of climate change, but a quarter of his Mar-a-Lago resort could be lost to the sea in coming decades.
U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report – This report is an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States. It represents the first of two volumes of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990
Major Report: Some Extreme Weather Can Only Be Blamed on Humans
A high-profile science panel finds several severe events in 2016 could not have naturally occurred
(Scientific American) This week the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published an assessment of the connection between climate change and extreme events in 2016, the society’s sixth annual report on the topic. The report selects a handful of extreme events from the previous year and disentangles anthropogenic climate change’s effects from natural variability (meaning what we would expect to happen without human influence). For the first time in the report’s history, scientists said that they have found that several of the events could not have occurred if the planet was not heating up.
Trump Should Fire the E.P.A.’s Scott Pruitt
(NYT) The current administrator of the E.P.A., Scott Pruitt, built his political career by attacking clean-air and clean-water rules. Now in charge of the agency, he is tearing down those protections, dismantling the E.P.A., appointing or nominating industry insiders to oversee their former businesses and blocking scientific input.
For the sake of our children’s health, it’s time for Scott Pruitt to go.
Mr. Pruitt is jeopardizing the health and well-being of Americans, and many suspect he is doing it to feed his own political ambition. “You must be running for the presidency,” a conservative radio host said while interviewing Mr. Pruitt in August as he visited Iowa, the state with the first presidential caucuses. The more popular theory inside Washington is that he is lining up deep-pocketed backers to run in 2020 for the Senate seat held by the Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, who is 83.
A year after Trump’s election, coal’s future remains bleak
A Reuters review of mining data shows an industry that has seen only modest gains in jobs and production this year – much of it from a temporary uptick in foreign demand for U.S. coal rather than presidential policy changes.
Robert Murray, the chief executive of privately-held Murray Energy Corp – one of America’s biggest underground miners – said Trump could do more for the industry. The administration, Murray said, should end tax breaks for wind and solar power and reverse an EPA finding that carbon emissions endanger human health.
But Trump’s tax bill last week preserved most solar incentives, which have bi-partisan backing. And the EPA has so far steered clear of the so-called “endangerment finding” on emissions that is the basis of many fossil-fuel regulations, given the breadth of scientific evidence that would be needed to reverse it.
(NYT) We are in the hottest period in the history of civilization, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes.
That’s according to an exhaustive scientific report unveiled by 13 federal agencies that says humans are the dominant cause of global warming. The White House approved its release even though the findings contradict much of the administration’s stance on the issue.The U.N. convenes its annual climate change conference next week in Germany, and the American delegation is expected to face harsh criticism over the decision to walk away from the Paris climate accord.
Trump administration report attributes climate change to ‘human activities’
(CNN) The Climate Science Special Report is required by federal law and includes contributions from multiple government agencies and non-government academic experts. The report is a component of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
Citing The Bible, The EPA Just Changed Its Rules For Science Advisers
Referencing the Book of Joshua, EPA head Scott Pruitt announced sweeping changes to the agency’s science advisory boards, opening the door to more input from the business world.
E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule
(NYT) The Trump administration announced Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming.
At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions.
“The war on coal is over,” Mr. Pruitt said. “Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.”
Trump administration working toward renewed drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
(WaPost) The Trump administration is quietly moving to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in more than 30 years, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, with a draft rule that would lay the groundwork for drilling.
Congress has sole authority to determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within the refuge’s 19.6 million acres. But seismic studies represent a necessary first step, and Interior Department officials are modifying a 1980s regulation to permit them.
The effort represents a twist in a political fight that has raged for decades. The remote and vast habitat, which serves as the main calving ground for one of North America’s last large caribou herds and a stop for migrating birds from six continents, has served as a rallying cry for environmentalists and some of Alaska’s native tribes. But state politicians and many Republicans in Washington have pressed to extract the billions of barrels of oil lying beneath the refuge’s coastal plain.
Trump stacks administration with climate change skeptics
(The Hill) Even as leading scientists, environmentalists and most Democrats accept research that shows climate change accelerating — and as some see it contributing to the two mammoth hurricanes that have threatened the United States this year — some in Trump’s administration have openly raised doubts.
The rise of climate change skeptics has been most pronounced in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Administrator Scott Pruitt has questioned carbon dioxide’s role as a “primary contributor” to a warming climate, something accepted by most researchers. He’s also called for a public debate over climate change science, a proposal that has caused scientists, environmentalists and former regulators to bristle.
“I think it’s going to have a chilling effect on science overall because it’s going to elevate those scientists who are in the vast minority and give them a stage that, frankly, they don’t deserve,” said Christine Whitman, President George W. Bush’s first EPA administrator, who called the proposal “shameful” in a Friday New York Times op-ed.
EPA now requires political aide’s sign-off for agency awards, grant applications
(WaPost) The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience.
John Konkus reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued. According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for “the double C-word” — climate change — and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations.
Konkus, who officially works in the EPA’s public affairs office, has canceled close to $2 million competitively awarded to universities and nonprofit organizations.
John Nichols: How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders
In mid-August, the administration moved to gut a necessary initiative to guarantee the flood resilience of infrastructure.
(Moyers & Co.) Chao was with Trump when he announced the gutting of Obama’s order to insure the “climate resilience” of infrastructure projects. As the Cabinet secretary who will be overseeing much of Trump’s $1 billion infrastructure initiative, she was at the ready on Aug. 15 with complaints about long environmental reviews and regulations and a promise that “This new executive order will slash the time it takes to get vital new infrastructure projects approved and delivered.”
Trump Rescinded Obama’s Flood-Risk Rule Weeks Before Hurricane Harvey Hit
(Newsweek) Donald Trump signed away Obama-era flood standards just weeks before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, in a bid to get infrastructure projects approved more quickly.
The rule, signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, had not yet come into effect but aimed to make infrastructure more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and flooding.
Those who backed Obama’s rule believed they would make people safer by putting roads, bridges and other infrastructure on safer ground, NPR reported. But Trump rescinded the rule several weeks ago in an attempt to speed up the time it takes for infrastructure projects to be approved.
Rafael Lemaitre, former director of public affairs at the FEMA, told the news service that Trump was undoing “the most significant action taken in a generation” to protect infrastructure from climate change.
“Eliminating this requirement is self-defeating. We can either build smarter now or put taxpayers on the hook to pay exponentially more when it floods. And it will,” he added.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. … “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean– neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
US federal department is censoring use of term ‘climate change’, emails reveal
Exclusive: series of emails show staff at Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service advised to reference ‘weather extremes’ instead
(The Guardian) A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.
The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the term “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”. Meanwhile, “sequester carbon” is ruled out and replaced by “build soil organic matter”.
In her email to staff, dated 16 February this year, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and suggests it be passed on. She writes that “we won’t change the modeling, just how we talk about it – there are a lot of benefits to putting carbon back in the sail [sic], climate mitigation is just one of them”, and that a colleague from USDA’s public affairs team gave advice to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now”.
House slashes funding for clean energy, restores funding for fossil fuel research
Republicans targeted a Massachusetts wind project and social cost of carbon.
(Think Progress) In a spending package known as the “minibus,” the House voted to set the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) budget at $1.1 billion, a 45 percent cut from the office’s fiscal 2017 budget of more than $2 billion. The Trump administration requested an even bigger cut for the Department of Energy office that would have lowered its budget to $636 million, or 70 percent, below the 2017 budget.
Trump may reverse decision on climate accord, France’s Macron says: JDD
(Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said he was hopeful that U.S. President Donald Trump would reverse his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, according to weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on Sunday.
“(Trump) told me that he would try to find a solution in the coming months,” Macron told the paper, referring to meetings the two leaders had this week in Paris.
“We spoke in detail about the things that could make him come back to the Paris accord,” he added.
Trump has said the Paris accord is soft on leading polluters like China and India, putting U.S. industry at risk.
Whatever this means
Trump: ‘Something could happen’ on Paris agreement
(Politico) “Yeah, I mean, something could happen with respect to the Paris accord. We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with Macron in Paris. “But we will talk about that over the coming period of time. And if it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn’t, that will be OK, too. But we’ll see what happens.”
EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television – challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said.
The move comes as the administration of President Donald Trump seeks to roll back a slew of Obama-era regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, and begins a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement – a global pact to stem planetary warming through emissions cuts.
“There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change),” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.
Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists
(NYT) Utilities argue that rules allowing private solar customers to sell excess power back to the grid at the retail price — a practice known as net metering — can be unfair to homeowners who do not want or cannot afford their own solar installations.
“We believe it is important to balance the needs of all customers,” Jeffrey Ostermayer of the Edison Electric Institute, the most prominent utility lobbying group, said in a statement.
The same group of investor-owned utilities is now poised to sway solar policy at the federal level. Brian McCormack, a former top executive at the Edison institute, is Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s chief of staff.
In April, Mr. Perry ordered an examination of how renewable energy may be hurting conventional sources like coal, oil and natural gas, a study that environmentalists worry could upend federal policies that have fostered the rapid spread of solar and wind power.
Charged with spearheading the study, due this summer, is Mr. McCormack.
A federal appeals court Monday blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from loosening controls on emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases, setting back Trump administration efforts to rapidly dismantle former President Barack Obama’s climate-change policies,
Joseph Stiglitz: Trump and the Truth About Climate Change
(Project Syndicate) Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the United States took another major step toward establishing itself as a rogue state on June 1, when it withdrew from the Paris climate agreement. …the agreement, he alleged, was bad for the US and implicitly unfair to it.
In fact, far more jobs are being created in solar panel installation than are being lost in coal. More generally, moving to a green economy would increase US income today and economic growth in the future. In this, as in so many things, Trump is hopelessly mired in the past.
Just a few weeks before Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, the global High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, which I co-chaired with Nicholas Stern, highlighted the potential of a green transition. The Commission’s report, released at the end of May, argues that reducing CO2 emissions could result in an even stronger economy. …
Fortunately, large parts of the US, including the most economically dynamic regions, have shown that Trump is, if not irrelevant, at least less relevant than he would like to believe. Large numbers of states and corporations have announced that they will proceed with their commitments – and perhaps go even further, offsetting the failures of other parts of the US.
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Met With Dow CEO Just Before Killing Effort to Ban Toxic Pesticide
New reporting by Associated Press begs further questions about administration’s denial of science, coziness with industry
(Common Dreams) Scott Pruitt, sparked outrage in March when he rejected his agency’s proposed ban on a pesticide shown to harm children’s brains.
New reporting by the Associated Press Wednesday prompts further question about his decisions to ignore the EPA’s own science and then greenlight the Dow Chemical-manufactured pesticide, chlorpyrifos, as the company had requested.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a frequent Trump critic, weighed in on the new reporting, tweeting: “I heard this pesticide helps growth in the swamp.”
Records obtained by AP show that Pruitt had a 30-minute meeting with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9. That’s just three weeks before he denied a petition from two environmental groups, initiated a decade ago, calling for a total ban on the harmful pesticide—a decision, wrote Kristin Schafer, program and policy director at Pesticide Action Network, that “clearly and publicly puts the interests of a chemical corporation above both scientific evidence and children’s health.”
Trump, EPA Move to Rescind Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule
New rule would reverse Obama administration’s Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule
(WSJ) Coming almost a month after Mr. Trump announced plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, Tuesday’s move is another sign the new administration and the EPA under administrator Scott Pruitt intend to prioritize the economic concerns of industry and agricultural interests over environmental concerns and, more broadly, to erase significant pieces of former President Barack Obama’s legacy.
“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” Mr. Pruitt said in a statement.
Aimed at clearing up decades of jurisdictional and legal uncertainty and protecting more American’s drinking water from contamination, the rule, which was tied to a provision of the Clean Water Act of 1972, greatly expanded the federal government’s authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water like Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River, as well as in small streams and wetlands.
Au Revoir: Trump Exits the Paris Climate Agreement
It’s possible that President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, while evidently wrongheaded, won’t make all that much difference.
(The New Yorker) To reach this decision, the President had to dismiss decades’ worth of research by the country’s most prestigious scientific organizations. He needed to resist pleas from the U.S.’s staunchest allies; ignore appeals from many of its largest corporations, including ExxonMobil; and disregard the counsel of his Secretary of State. All this for, well, what? To shore up his base on the coal-hugging right?
“ANALYSIS: TELLING LITERALLY EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD TO FUCK OFF WILL PROBABLY CREATE PROBLEMS DOWN THE ROAD,” David Roberts, who blogs about climate policy for Vox, tweeted, as the news of the move began to leak out. But, if Trump’s decision is evidently wrongheaded, it’s also possible that it won’t make all that much difference. This is in part because the U.S. had already effectively exited the agreement. In part it’s because just about everybody outside the Trump Administration seems to understand that the U.S. is making a world-historical mistake.
“If Trump Dumps the Climate Accord, the U.S. Is the Loser” runs the headline of the cover story of next week’s Bloomberg Businessweek. Among the many reasons that Trump’s move makes no sense is that the Paris accord is a fundamentally weak agreement.
The U.S.’s withdrawal could prompt other countries to reconsider their contributions. Or it could have the opposite effect. The Trump Administration is leaving the energy technologies of the future to other countries to develop, and many nations see an economic opportunity. As the headline of a recent post on Foreign Policy’s Web site put it,“If Trump Dumps the Paris Accord, China Will Rule the Energy Future.” It is telling that several of the U.S.’s largest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Intel, signed an open letter to Trump, urging him to “keep the United States in the Paris Agreement.” The letter states, “By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth.” On Tuesday, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, reportedly put in a call to the President, urging him to remain in the agreement.
In another open letter to the President, which ran as a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, the heads of thirty other mammoth companies, including 3M, Cargill, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley, wrote to express their “strong support for the United States remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement.” The C.E.O.s said that they were concerned about the “strong potential for negative trade implications if the United States exits from the Paris Agreement.”
Elon Musk Quits Trump Advisory Council over Paris Withdrawal
(Daily Beast) Elon Musk on Thursday announced he is leaving President Trump’s business advisory council in response to withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted.
Trump Advisers Wage Tug of War Before Decision on Climate Deal
(NYT) A divided White House staff, anxious corporate executives, lawmakers and foreign leaders are fiercely competing for President Trump’s ear this week as he nears a decision on whether to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, the landmark agreement that commits nearly every country to combat global warming.
For a president not steeped in policy intricacies, the decision is vexing. On both sides are voices he profoundly respects: chief executives of some of the world’s largest companies urging him to remain part of the accord and ardent conservatives like Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, tugging him toward a withdrawal from the 195-country agreement.
Exxon Mobil’s chief executive, Darren W. Woods, wrote recently that remaining in the agreement would be prudent, part of a nearly united corporate front. Within the administration, Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council; the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump; and his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, say the United States can remain a party to the accord even as the administration moves to eviscerate the Obama-era climate policies that would have allowed the United States to meet its pollution-reduction targets under the agreement. … the corporate voices for remaining in the agreement may be the most influential. “By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth. U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets,” a host of corporate giants wrote in full-page advertisements that ran recently in The New York Times, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Trump aides postpone meeting as clashes over Paris climate deal continue
President promises decision on US involvement before this month’s G7 summit, but the debate reveals deep divisions within his core team
The unusually public internal debate over the future of the deal has shown deep divisions within Trump’s administration as to whether to ditch the pact, which was struck in 2015 when nearly 200 countries agreed to curb their greenhouse gas emissions to avoid dangerous climate change.
Different factions in Trump’s orbit have clashed over whether the US should pull out. Steve Bannon, Trump’s top strategist, favors withdrawal, as does Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, who has called it a “bad business deal for this country”. Rick Perry, the energy secretary, said last month “we probably need to renegotiate” the agreement.
Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and Trump’s family members and advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, are understood to favor remaining in the deal.
E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board
(NYT) The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.
A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.
The dismissals on Friday came about six weeks after the House passed a bill aimed at changing the composition of another E.P.A. scientific review board to include more representation from the corporate world.
Koch Industries spent part of $3.1 million to help confirm Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, filings show
Corporate lobbyists continue to flood Washington
(Salon) During the contentious confirmation process, Pruitt, a global warming denier and avowed critic of rules governing industrial polluters, largely dodged questions about his relationship with Koch Industries. Previous reporting revealed that as Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt joined several Koch-backed lawsuits against EPA rules and remained in close contact with groups financed by Koch’s owners, Charles and David Koch.
Koch Industries has a long history of lobbying to the oil and gas industry, and they spent $3.1 million in just the first three months of the year “on a variety of issues affecting its bottom line, including the EPA’s Clean Power Rule on carbon emissions, carbon pricing, the Clean Air Act and “nominations for various positions at the Department of Energy, according to disclosure forms looked at by The Intercept. The forms also show that Koch Industries directly spent money so that Scott Pruitt would be confirmed as EPA Administrator.
EPA website removes climate science site from public view after two decades
(WaPost) The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday evening its website would be “undergoing changes” to better represent the new direction the agency is taking, triggering the removal of several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information.
One of the websites that appeared to be gone had been cited to challenge statements made by the EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt. Another provided detailed information on the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan, including fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions.
The changes came less than 24 hours before thousands of protesters were set to march in Washington and around the country in support of political action to push back against the Trump administration’s rollbacks of former president Barack Obama’s climate policies.
“As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land, and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” J.P. Freire, the agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, said in a statement. “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
What’s Changed Since The First Earth Day In 1970?
(International Business Times) The first Earth Day was in 1970. What’s changed since? Our population has doubled. We’re emitting 2.4 times more CO2. Sea levels have risen 4 inches. But the world has also changed for the better. See how our actions since 1970 have added up.
Happy Earth Day! Here Are All The Terrible Things Donald Trump Has Done So Far.
Here are some of the major ways President Trump has changed climate and environmental policy in his first 100 days.
(HuffPost) Before he’d even been sworn in, Trump nominated several climate deniers chummy with the fossil fuel industry to his cabinet, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the head of the Department of Energy and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency ― a man who had sued the agency 14 times over industry regulations. Pruitt recently claimed, in contradiction to overwhelming scientific consensus, that human activity ― i.e. the burning of fossil fuels ― is not definitively the primary contributor to climate change.
On the day Trump took office, a page devoted to climate change action on the White House website disappeared. Four days later, Trump signed executive orders reviving the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a move that set the tone for a series of swift and sweeping changes to the nation’s climate and environmental policies that were soon to follow
Dismantling environmental protections is one area where Trump has made quick work. “Donald Trump’s foreign policy and legislative agenda may be a confused mess,” wrote the Los Angeles Times’ David Horsey earlier this month. “But his administration’s attack on the environment is operating with the focus and zeal of the Spanish Inquisition.”
Trump May Not Like The Wind Industry, But It Now Employs More Than 102,000 Americans
(International Business Times) [T]he U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the fastest-growing occupation in America are wind turbine service technician jobs.
U.S. wind power added jobs over nine times faster than the overall economy, the 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) shows. Last year, there were more than 102,000 wind power-related jobs — a record.
The U.S. industry invested more than $14 billion in new operations in 2016, installing more than 8,000 megawatts of new wind power for a second consecutive year, the AWEA reported. At the start of the year, the U.S. had a wind capacity of more than 82,000 megawatts, enough to power up 24 million homes. Meanwhile, major companies like General Motors, 3M and Target are buying large amounts of wind power through long-term contracts.
“Bigger, better technology enables new wind turbines to generate 50 percent more electricity than those built in 2009, and at 66 percent lower cost,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said in a statement. “With stable policy in place, we’re on the path to reliably supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020.”
Expanding wind energy will do well for the U.S. economy, the report added. In the next few years, the wind industry will account for 248,000 jobs, and between now and 2020, wind power will create $85 billion in economic activity.
Trump wants to make it easier to drill in national parks. We mapped the 42 parks at risk.
Weaker regulations could mean oil and gas pollution and spills in pristine national parks.
(Vox) It’s no secret that oil and gas companies are on the hunt for new places to drill. But the quest for more fossil fuels could heat up in places you might not expect: our national parks.
With President Donald Trump’s executive order on energy, federal agencies are now reviewing all rules that inhibit domestic energy production. And that includes regulations around drilling in national parks that, if overturned, could give oil and gas companies easier access to leases on federal lands they’ve long coveted.
“This opportunity is unique, maybe once in a lifetime,” Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute lobby group, told Reuters. It could also put some of America’s most pristine and ecologically sensitive areas at risk of oil spills, ground contamination, and explosions.
How the Koch Machine Quietly Pushed for the Dakota Access Pipeline and Stands to Profit
(Desmog) Quietly and behind the scenes, a front group funded by the Koch family fortune has lobbied and advocated for the soon-to-be-operating Dakota Access pipeline, a project in which a Koch subsidiary stands to profit.
A DeSmog investigation reveals that the group, the 60 Plus Association, pushed in recent months for Dakota Access both on the state and federal level. In Iowa, which the pipeline bisects, 60 Plus advocated on the project’s behalf in front of the Iowa Utilities Board, which ultimately gave pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners the permit it needed. And 60 Plus has lobbied for the pipeline nationally as well.
Ultimately, the profits from Dakota Access will be seen by Koch subsidiary Flint Hills Resources. The finding by DeSmog comes just days before Dakota Access will officially open for business.
Democrats Demand Answers to Alarming Questions About Trump and the Dakota Access Pipeline
(Fusion.net) The Dakota Access oil pipeline may be nearly operational, but some Democrats are raising concerns about what they say is the alarming lack of oversight surrounding the controversial project.This week, Senators Tom Carper (DE) and Maria Cantwell (WA)—the ranking members of the senate’s Environment & Public Works and Energy & Natural Resources committee, respectively—sent a series of questions to Lt. General Todd Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, demanding answers about the recently restarted construction which was greenlit by President Donald Trump.
While the senators’ letter does not have the weight of a congressional subpoena, it does suggest that there are lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are willing to dig into the murky issues surrounding of the pipeline’s construction—and into the haste with which Trump gave the go-ahead to the project once he took office.
Donald Trump’s War on Science Has Left the White House Dangerously Unprepared
The administration is “flying blind” when it comes to technological threats.
(Vanity Fair) Trump’s war on science goes well beyond his apparent disinterest in hiring S.T.E.M. advisers. In his first two months in office, the president has proposed cutting $5.8 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health, and $900 million from the Energy Department’s Office of Science. He wants to reduce funding for NASA, would reduce research funded by the National Science Foundation by $350 million, and slash the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy program by more than 50 percent. The White House budget plan calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to be cut by 31 percent, which one senior E.P.A. official warned could cause the department’s research office to “implode.”
Trump, who rarely uses a computer and has struggled to articulate his words when talking about cyber issues, often seems to revel in this atavistic worldview, promoting disappearing industries like steelmaking and coal mining and loosening regulations designed to encourage more advanced energy technologies. This week, Trump signed an executive order unraveling the Obama-era Climate Action Plan, which helped limit carbon emissions at coal-fired power plants. His orders also ease restrictions on hydraulic fracking and eliminate the National Environmental Policy Act. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal—going to have clean coal, really clean coal,” he said. Even talk of climate change has been discouraged since Trump moved into the White House. Politico reports that the Department of Energy’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy has been told to avoid using any mention of “emissions reduction,” “climate change,” and “Paris Agreement” in written communications.
Power Plans: President Trump signed a highly anticipated executive order on climate today. The two biggest effects: The EPA will rewrite (and roll back) Obama-era regulations like the Clean Power Plan, and government agencies will no longer need to account for climate change while reporting on a project’s environmental impact. Here’s a guide to the details.
Gwynne Dyer: Trump all talk when it comes to return of coal
You don’t need good intentions to do the right thing for climate safety anymore, just common sense. From fuel efficiency in automobiles to replacing coal-fired plants with natural gas or solar arrays, saving money goes hand in hand with cutting emissions.
“My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” said Donald Trump, surrounded by the usual gaggle of officials and (in this case) coal miners, as he put his supersized signature on the “energy independence” executive order.
But coal is dying as a major energy source in the United States for reasons far beyond the reach of executive orders.
“The miners are coming back,” Trump boasted at a rally in Kentucky last week, but no less an authority than Robert Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy, the biggest U.S. coal company, promptly rained on his parade.
“I suggested that (Trump) temper his expectations,” he said. “He can’t bring them back.”
Policy Shift Helps Coal, but Other Forces May Limit Effect
(NYT) Many fossil fuel executives are celebrating President Trump’s move to dismantle the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. But their cheers are muted, because market forces and state initiatives continue to elevate coal’s rivals, especially natural gas and renewable energy.
For coal executives, however, optimism and expansion plans remain guarded. Regulatory relief could restore 10 percent of their companies’ lost market share at most, they say — nowhere near enough to return coal to its dominant position in power markets and put tens of thousands of coal miners to work.
Whatever the federal policy, the outlook for renewable energy looks particularly bright. By the end of last year, 29 states had adopted rules to replace a substantial share of fossil fuel electricity production with cleaner power. California is far ahead of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in environmental stewardship, and promises to resist the federal government’s new agenda.
In addition, federal tax credits for wind and solar enacted during the Obama administration will continue for at least several more years, and they have the support of Republican members of Congress from states producing wind power, like Texas and Iowa.
EU leads attacks on Trump’s rollback of Obama climate policy
(The Guardian) Europe poised to take baton from US as leader in global efforts to fight climate change, with America’s commitment to Paris accords at risk
Miguel Árias Cañete, the EU’s climate action commissioner, said: “We regret the US is rolling back the main pillar of its climate policy, the clean power plan. Now, it remains to be seen by which other means the United States intends to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement.”
He added: “The continued leadership of the EU, China and many other major economies is now more important than ever. When it comes to climate and the global clean energy transition, there cannot be vacuums, there can only be drivers, and we are committed to driving this agenda forward.”
Meanwhile, on behalf of the enlightened U.S. congressional leadership:
The House speaker, Paul Ryan, said: “Today’s executive order is based on a fundamental truth: energy drives our economy. President Obama disregarded this, and the result was a barrage of regulations that crippled America’s energy industry. That is all in the past now. President Trump’s executive order will help America’s energy workers and reverse much of the damage done.”
‘Difficult slog’ ahead to undo Obama climate legacy, says former EPA chief
(PBS Newshour) Gina McCarthy: There’s a huge amount of work between what we did to build our clean energy future and what it’s going to take to actually meet the promises of this executive order. It’s lots of hard work, many years. It’s denying the science. It’s developing facts that don’t exist.And so I’m pretty confident that, despite this signature, the Obama legacy on clean energy will be strong at the end this and any administration, because that’s where the world is going.
The Giant Trump Climate Order Is Here
What it does, what comes next
(The Atlantic) Months of rumored environmental action have been distilled into this document. Its policy goals can be separated into two categories. First, some policies require rule-making processes that Trump can only set in motion and point toward certain goals. The second group of policies are just executive directives reserved to the president. Trump can issue them by himself, just as Obama did, and they will enter force immediately.
The largest shift in U.S. climate policy contained in the order falls into the first category. President Trump will command the EPA to review and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, the signature climate policy of the Obama administration.
The Clean Power Plan sought to replace coal-fired power plants with natural-gas, solar, wind, and hydroelectric plants; the EPA and outside studies estimated that it would save more than 1 billion tons of carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030. The EPA also predicted that the plan would reap more than $55 billion in public-health benefits per year by 2030. The electricity sector is responsible for about 30 percent of U.S. carbon emissions.
To the Trump administration and its allies, the Clean Power Plan constituted the the advance front of Obama’s “war on coal.” (Most energy economists say that the coal business is collapsing not because of recent regulations, but because domestic fracking has made natural gas cheap and plentiful.) Some Constitutional law scholars, including Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, argued that aspects of Obama’s rule amounted to executive overreach.
Trump cannot reverse the Clean Power Plan immediately, but he can tell the EPA what goals to pursue. The EPA must then revisit the science and policy justifying that rule and go through the arduous process of drafting a new one. (It took the Obama administration more than six years to issue the first version of the rule.) And throughout all that time, the Clean Power Plan will likely stay out of effect: It has been on pause since the Supreme Court stayed it in February 2016.
Other, smaller changes fall under this same category. Most of them apply to how the federal government manages the huge expanses of land that it owns west of the Mississippi River. Trump will order the Department of the Interior to reconsider rules restricting methane emissions from oil and gas sites. The Bureau of Land Management will also rewrite its rule regulating the use of fracking.
The Hidden Risks of Trump’s EPA Cuts: Birth Defects, Bad Air
Fifty former federal and state environmental officials detail what the president’s budget could do to the agency and to human health.
(Bloomberg) President Donald Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign that he would only “leave a little bit” of federal rules that protect human health and the environment. Now about 50 former officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are firing back in a lengthy analysis that details, program by program, what amounts to a starvation diet for the EPA.
Calling themselves the Environmental Protection Network, they worked through both Republican and Democratic administrations. The group’s members are putting aside their differences over policies and programs to stop what they say “appears to be nothing less than a full-throttle attack on the principle underlying all U.S. environmental laws—that protecting the health and environment of all Americans is a national priority.”
Even before formally registering as a nonprofit organization, the network has put together a 50-page analysis of the president’s proposed EPA budget, based partly on the White House’s fiscal 2018 budget blueprint. The blueprint, released on March 16, sketched out top-line cuts of 31 percent of the agency’s budget and 21 percent of its staff. The new administration’s targeting of the agency requires an independent, expert assessment of what’s happening there, the group says.
Its analysis, single-spaced with wide margins and small type, can be downloaded here.
Great Lakes politicians rallying to fight White House plan
Fears U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to gut the $300-million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative turned out to be more than justified.
A budget plan the White House released Thursday would eliminate the initiative launched by former President Barack Obama, instead of just reducing it to $10 million, as initially proposed.
The initiative has funded nearly 3,000 projects across eight U.S. states. Among them: efforts to prevent Asian carp from invading the lakes, prevent nutrient runoff that feeds harmful algal blooms, rebuilding wetlands where fish spawn and remove sediments laced with PCBs and other toxins.
Why It’s Called Lake Superior
In challenge to Trump, 17 Republicans in Congress join fight against global warming
(Reuters) Seventeen congressional Republicans signed a resolution on Wednesday vowing to seek “economically viable” ways to stave off global warming, challenging the stated views of President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax.
Republicans Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to “study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates” and seek ways to “balance human activities” that contribute.
Several Republicans who signed the resolution, which is non-binding, represent parts of the country most affected. Curbelo hails from Miami, where streets regularly flood at high tide due to rising sea levels.
“This issue was regrettably politicized some 20 or so years ago and we are in the process of taking some of the politics out, reducing the noise and focusing on the challenge and on the potential solutions,” Curbelo said in a call with journalists on Tuesday.
Trump to Drop Climate Change From Environmental Reviews, Source Says
(Bloomberg) President Donald Trump is set to sign a sweeping directive to dramatically shrink the role climate change plays in decisions across the government, ranging from appliance standards to pipeline approvals, according to a person familiar with the administration’s plan.
The order, which could be signed this week, goes far beyond a targeted assault on Obama-era measures blocking coal leasing and throttling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that has been discussed for weeks. Some of the changes could happen immediately; others could take years to implement.
It aims to reverse President Barack Obama’s broad approach for addressing climate change. One Obama-era policy instructed government agencies to factor climate change into formal environmental reviews, such as that for the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump’s order also will compel a reconsideration of the government’s use of a metric known as the “social cost of carbon” that reflects the potential economic damage from climate change. It was used by the Obama administration to justify a suite of regulations.
Trump’s EPA Chief Denies the Basic Science of Climate Change
He has no evidence. He’ll successfully mislead people anyway.
(The Atlantic) … said Pruitt. “I believe that measuring, with precision, human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. We need to continue the review and analysis.”
This is wrong. There is not “tremendous disagreement” about Kernen’s question. Pruitt’s claim runs so counter to the findings of the international scientific community, to the conclusions of the U.S. government, and even to the marketing materials of the oil-and-gas industry that it is difficult to label it anything but a falsehood. …
Many Americans will hear Pruitt’s comments at the same time they hear the scientific community’s response. They will assume that both groups mean well—that their new public servant isn’t lying to them—and they will grasp for a false truth somewhere between the two statements. These Americans will come to assume that there is some debate about climate change, some moderate position between those who say the world is warming and those who say otherwise.
These Americans will be intelligent, good-faith, savvy consumers of media—yet they will have been successfully misled. The moderate position between the truth and a falsehood is still a falsehood. It’s still incorrect to believe, as Pruitt does, that there is “tremendous disagreement” about these issues. The long, grinding fight to convince the public of the reality of global warming will be set back once again.
E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics
(NYT) Days after the Senate confirmed him as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference and was asked about addressing a group that probably wanted to eliminate his agency.
“I think it’s justified,” he responded, to cheers. “I think people across the country look at the E.P.A. the way they look at the I.R.S.”
In the days since, Mr. Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business. Mr. Pruitt has drawn heavily from the staff of his friend and fellow Oklahoma Republican, Senator James Inhofe, long known as Congress’s most prominent skeptic of climate science.
Trump ferme le robinet, l’eau des Montréalais menacée
(La Presse) Les compressions imposées par le président Donald Trump à l’Agence américaine de protection de l’environnement (EPA) pourraient avoir des répercussions jusque dans l’eau que boivent les Montréalais. Le scénario d’une amputation de 97% du budget pour la dépollution des Grands Lacs soulève des inquiétudes des deux côtés de la frontière.
Former EPA scientists to Trump: ‘Evidence does not change when the administration changes’
(WaPost) The Trump administration’s proposal to cut the Environmental Protection Agency is looking dramatic indeed. The plans call for laying off thousands of staff, eliminating entire programs and making deep cuts to the agency’s research office, the Office of Research and Development (ORD), according to recent reporting by The Washington Post.
That’s not to say all of this will happen — or that any of it will. Congress makes the final decisions on funding the government. But it’s a stunning proposal to researchers familiar with the workings of the EPA.
“I think a deep cut would be devastating to the nation’s capacity to do environmental health and ecosystem research,” said Jonathan Samet, a former chair of the agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee who is now a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California.
Samet and two other former EPA science officials — Thomas A. Burke, who served as the agency’s science adviser and headed up ORD under President Barack Obama, and Bernard Goldstein, who was EPA’s assistant administrator for research and development under President Ronald Reagan — went even further in a commentary published Wednesday, calling on President Trump to change course and stand up for the agency and science.“Evidence-based decision making on the environment should not be abandoned,” the two scientists write in a timely essay in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Trump Administration and the Environment — Heed the Science
Clean water: it’s complicated, too
How can there be hope for Chesapeake Bay if the EPA can’t enforce Clean Water standards?
(Baltimore Sun) On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider the Waters of the United States rule. It was one of the signature environmental achievements of President Barack Obama’s time in office — regulations clarifying the Clean Water Act’s authority to protect headwaters, streams and wetlands — but the rules have been held up by legal challenges.
Here in Maryland, we know a thing or two about clean water and the complexities of how best to protect it. It’s one of the advantages of having the nation’s largest estuary in our backyard — and sharing that resource with a handful of other states. … Water doesn’t respect state boundaries, and it doesn’t magically show up at the mouth of the Susquehanna River; protecting this vital resource begins on the land, perhaps in New York or Pennsylvania, that drains into a ditch that feeds a brook that branches into a stream and on and on.
How is this complicated? It means that if we want to protect our drinking water supply, for example, we can’t just regulate Maryland polluters, we have to rely on states and local governments upstream to take steps like making sure developers aren’t creating excess storm-water runoff that turns streams brown with sediments or that farmers are not spreading so much manure on their land that nearby rivers are choked with algae.
President Trump Takes Aim at the Environment
(NYT Editorial Board) President Trump brandished executive pen and fresh hyperbole last week in blessing the coal industry’s decades-old practice of freely dumping tons of debris into the streams and mountain hollows of America’s mining communities.
“Another terrible job-killing rule,” Mr. Trump declared at a signing ceremony that struck down the Obama administration’s attempt to regulate surface mining wastes. He insisted he was saving “many thousands of American jobs” in sparing coal companies the expense of cleaning up their environmental messes.
The signing ceremony was not just an insult to the benighted coal hamlets of Appalachia, where the industry’s dumping of debris down the mountainsides has created a wasteland. It also ignored two truths. One is that by official estimates the rules, while helping the environment, would in fact cost very few jobs — 260 on average a year offset by almost the same number of jobs for people hired to comply with the rules. What’s been costing jobs in the industry for years — and this is the second and larger truth — is a shifting global market in which power plants have turned to cleaner natural gas. In cynically promising the resurgence of King Coal, Mr. Trump might as well have been signing a decree that the whaling industry was being restored to Nantucket.
… A case in point is a rule that seeks to reduce wasteful emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, at thousands of oil and gas wells across the West. Though the industry cries bankruptcy, the Interior Department calculates the cost of the rule at less than 1 percent of revenues. Another target is an Interior Department rule that would invite greater public input in designing resource management plans across the West to achieve a fair balance between conservation and commercial development.
EPA Staff Pulled From Alaska Summit After Trump Team Orders
(NPR) The White House transition team told about half of the Environmental Protection Agency officials scheduled to attend an Alaska climate and environment conference to stay home. The EPA cites travel costs, but some of those kept away live right in Anchorage.
Trump Administration Considering Eradication of EPA’s Enforcement Arm: Report
(Common Dreams) “Closing the office would almost certainly mean less enforcement work happens at the agency,” explained the Huffington Post:
OECA handles both civil and criminal enforcement of the country’s core environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The office is an independent body with about 3,000 employees who “work to advance environmental justice by protecting communities most vulnerable to pollution.”
Meanwhile, groups are fighting back against the assault on regulations with a lawsuit filed Wednesday to combat Trump’s “one in, two out” executive order gutting regulations nationwide. “When presidents overreach, it is up to the courts to remind them no one is above the law and hold them to the U.S. Constitution,” an attorney for Earthjustice said, as Common Dreams reported. “This is one of those times.”
How Much Damage Could Scott Pruitt Really Do at EPA?
(MIT Technology Review) Donald Trump’s choice for EPA director would put at risk the nation’s ability to meet its Paris climate commitments.
The Senate is expected to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency as early as this week, placing him in charge of a government body that he sued more than a dozen times and that his new boss, President Donald Trump, pledged to scrap.
Public statements and leaked documents indicate that Pruitt and the administration will move to narrow the agency’s authority, slash staff, and stall efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. “We don’t know exactly what Mr. Pruitt will do,” says Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “But certainly his history is one of doubting climate science and pushing the short-term interests of fossil-fuel development.”
But Pruitt won’t be able to force through these changes without a fight. Scaling back most of these rules, which are grounded in hard-won legal battles and well-established climate science, would require protracted public review and almost certain challenges in court.
Scott Pruitt Is Seen Cutting the E.P.A. With a Scalpel, Not a Cleaver
(NYT) Mr. Trump is expected to sign an executive action announcing the repeal of Mr. Obama’s ambitious but contentious regulations on planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution soon after Mr. Pruitt is confirmed. But legally, it will be impossible for Mr. Trump, or Mr. Pruitt, to do that with the stroke of a pen. A completed regulation must go through the same arduous process to be reversed.
… For example, Mr. Trump wants to repeal the Obama water regulation, known as the Waters of the United States rule, which would make it a federal crime to pollute in most rivers, streams and wetlands across the country. Simply repealing that rule would create a thicket of new legal challenges, but Mr. Pruitt could replace it with water regulations that were more limited in scope.
Mr. Trump’s campaign calls to “get rid of” the E.P.A. in almost every form will probably run up against its own legal challenges, as will Mr. Ebell’s call to slash the E.P.A.’s staff. Experts say Mr. Pruitt is unlikely to follow through with such draconian cuts, since the E.P.A. is required to execute and enforce many laws, rules and programs, which requires staff members.
“You have to have enough people there to carry out the obligations that are required by law,” Mr. Holmstead said. “If you get an order from a judge and you violate it, then someone’s going to jail.”
Scott Pruitt Will Make America Great Again — For Polluters
President Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency might put it on the endangered species list.
Bill Moyers takes on President Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has a track record of putting the business interests of the energy sector before the environmental and health interests of the public. He has spent his career fighting the rules and regulations of the agency he is now being nominated to lead. His expected confirmation threatens to make America great for polluters again.
Trump Targets Clean Water And Clean Air Regulations At Environmental Protection Agency
If Trump has his way, American cities will once again be choked by smog and our air quality with significantly decrease. One wonders if Trump has investments in gas mask companies.
Fresh water has also been a worry among millions of Americans over the years as Republicans continue to make decisions that allow companies like Koch Industries to pollute our waterways. Trump’s executive order to let the Keystone XL pipeline move forward is a direct threat to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to millions of Americans in the Midwest and is responsible for creating what is now called “America’s Breadbasket.
Trump Gags EPA, Kills Clean Water Rule: 1 in 3 Americans Affected
The Trump administration today killed the Clean Water Rule, an EPA/Army measure that protected the drinking water supplies of one in three American people. It also issued the agency a gag order prohibiting it from any public disclosures. … in a move it ordered the EPA to keep confidential, it killed the Clean Water Rule. After a leak, Pres. Donald Trump’s press secretary confirmed the move.
A measure intended to protect the drinking water supply of about 117 million Americans — it protects the upstream tributaries that flow into their water sources — the Clean Water Rule was finalized in 2015 by the EPA and U.S. Army’s Core of Engineers.
Specifically, it protects the streams and wetlands that feed into protected lakes, rivers, bays and coastal waters, according to an EPA’s site.
Just minutes after being sworn in as the 45th president, Donald Trump is renewing his pledges to kill key EPA water and climate measures. A page just posted on the White House website reiterates the president’s promises to eliminate “harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years,” the site says.