Week 5

The Headlines

Trump to roll back Obama’s climate, water rules through executive action

February 20, 2017 | The Washington Post

“While both directives will take time to implement, they will send an unmistakable signal that the new administration is determined to promote fossil-fuel production and economic activity even when those activities collide with some environmental safeguards.”

Pruitt questions agency’s authority to regulate carbon

February 20, 2017 | E&E News

“Those sentiments seem to contrast with Pruitt’s testimony at his confirmation hearing last month.

“I believe the EPA has a very important role at regulating the emissions of CO2,” Pruitt said during one exchange with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

Pruitt Enters EPA With Conciliatory Words, but Staff Braces for Steep Cuts

February 21, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Pruitt’s view echoes the complaints of industry lobbyists who have decried EPA’s settlement of a number of lawsuits brought by environmental groups during the Obama administration. Under these agreements, the EPA finalized regulations to control mercury from power plants, address air quality issues due to ozone, clean up the Chesapeake Bay and regulate greenhouse gases.”

Thousands of emails detail EPA head’s close ties to fossil fuel industry

February 22, 2017 | The Washington Post

“In one example, Pruitt was a speaker at an ALEC conference on May 3, 2013, in Oklahoma City. He was part of a panel called, “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines.” The event also featured a reception at the Petroleum Club and a luncheon sponsored by Koch Industries.”

February 23, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Noting that “there was no discussion between the transition team and CEQ” in the months between the November election and Trump’s inauguration, Goldfuss added, “There is little regard for environmental policy. And moving the staff that’s responsible for speaking to the public about environmental policy out of their home just highlights the agenda to disregard the environment and the public interest.””

State Response

Pueblo, Colorado and Moab, Utah commit to 100% renewable energy

February 14, 2017 | Sierra Club

“In Utah, Canyonlands National Park has been marred by haze pollution from two neighboring coal plants, which threatens the local Moab tourism industry – the economic lifeblood of the community. With this week’s announcements, both communities are poised to confront these threats by transitioning away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.”

New record: plain states exceed 50 percent wind power

February 15, 2017 | Into the Wind

“This latest achievement in SPP is only the most recent in a series of wind power setting records in various electricity markets. Just last December, four other grid operators saw wind set new output records.”

‘The wild west of wind’: Republicans push Texas as unlikely green energy leader

February 20, 2017 | The Guardian

“But while the president and many Republicans in Congress have been disdainful of renewable energy and dismissive of climate change, support for wind in conservative areas has been quietly noted. In 2015, Congress extended a tax credit for wind production until 2020. With many rural communities feeling the benefits of wind energy, it’s unlikely that Trump would find much backing if he attempted to pull away this support.”

Will Oregon regulate carbon emissions?

February 20, 2017 | Statesman Journal

“Previous attempts to put a price on carbon have been opposed by Associated Oregon Industries and some of its member businesses. They have argued that climate change is a global problem and Oregon’s emissions account for just a small fraction of those worldwide.”

California Bill Aims for 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2045

February 22, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The California Energy Commission says the state got about 27 percent of its electricity from renewables last year, slightly better than the 25 percent required by law. Capacity has more than doubled over the past decade. California’s largest utilities have also said they are ahead of schedule for meeting their 2020 goal.”

In Other Congressional News…

House Republicans demand climate documents from state attorneys general — again

February 17, 2017 | The Washington Post

“In a letter accompanying the reissued subpoena, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chair of the science committee, noted that the reissued subpoena was part of a continued “investigation of potential adverse effects of the actions of the ‘Green 20’ attorneys general on the national scientific enterprise.” The “Green 20” was a name applied to a group of state attorneys general who vowed last March to address the issue of climate change, in part by holding fossil-fuel companies accountable for any efforts to combat or suppress climate science.”

Citing tweet, Chaffetz asks whether Bryce Canyon officials had advance notice of Bears Ears designation

February 21, 2017 | The Washington Post

“In a Feb. 2 response, Fritzke wrote that a summer intern who had read media coverage of the prospect of Bears Ears becoming a national monument created the map slot in 2016. The intern’s supervisor approved the request, she wrote “knowing that if the Bears Ears National Monument was not created, the slot could be used by another regional recreation area.””

A Look Back

The EPA Has Started to Remove Obama-era Information

February 2, 2017 | Climate Central

“Federal climate plans created under former President Obama, tribal assistance programs, and references to international cooperation have been stricken from the site.”


Analysis 2

It’s 4 weeks into the Trump presidency, and already we’ve seen a deliberate attack, via both congressional and executive actions, against the Obama-era environmental agenda — and perhaps an even greater threat to the “American green state” (more on that later).

The confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency Pruitt sued more than a dozen times defending oil and gas industry interests, ended the week on a sour note for environmentalists and a large number of Democrat representatives opposed to yet another controversial Trump nomination. But perhaps the most far-reaching, and shockingly swift, course of legislative action in recent environmental politics history was the termination of the Stream Protection Rule.

In just 4 weeks, both House and Senate lawmakers were able to pass a joint resolution — with President Trump’s signature approval last Thursday — nixing the Obama-era stream ruling under the little-used Congressional Review Act (CRA). According to the Congressional Research Service, the CRA has several key advantages for those of its supporters, one being:

“…that if a joint resolution of disapproval is enacted, it not only invalidates the rule in question, but in most cases also bars the agency from issuing another rule in ‘substantially the same form’ as the disapproved rule unless authorized to do so in a subsequent law.” [emphasis added]

This little-known fact about the CRA makes it nearly impossible, then, for another president after Trump to introduce a similar Stream Protection Rule without bipartisan congressional support. What’s gone is gone — no more adding-or-subtracting to this table, based on the political party of the president alone.

And what’s more, Congress has promised to exercise the CRA, particularly against late-introduced Obama-era environmental rulings unfavorable for fossil fuel industries, in the near future with a sympathetic President Trump. Just how near, exactly? Perhaps in as little as 4 weeks.

To make sense of all this unnerving and break-neck environmental politics in recent weeks, I’m reading up on my history.

“American Environmental Policy: Beyond Gridlock” by Christopher McGrory Klyza and David J. Sousa, updated and expanded in 2013, has proven to be a rather interesting text of reflection in this topsy-turvy time of political history (see ‘Literature’ for more book publishing details). Written in an era when the “American green state” seemed to be drifting (albeit gradually) to a place of progressive environmental legislation, the book I think could use a serious update after this first year in Trump’s presidency. In short, 2017 has not been kind to a progressive environmental agenda.

Nevertheless, the book offers several points of note intermixed among swaths of case studies in American environmental politics, circa 1970-2006. Right away, Klyza & Sousa declare that “these forces [of congressional gridlock] are unlikely to dissipate anytime soon, and that, given this situation, the president and the powers at his or her disposal will be of signal importance in animating environmental policy [emphasis added]” (2013, p. 16).

For years, bills and resolutions seemed to disappear amid all the politics of Congress (literal pun intended), including those aimed at environmental upkeep. I remember just last year, angered by gridlock and frustrated by inaction, wondering if Congress would get anything done in my lifetime! I have to wonder no more.

Klyza & Sousa certainly couldn’t have predicted just how far ‘beyond gridlock’ American environmental politics would be, 4 years after the book’s re-print. And yet, they’re absolutely right about the president’s power and importance, when it comes to shaping an agenda. President Trump came in staunchly opposed to Obama-era environmental rulings and actions, and set forth a very clear agenda to dismantle these attacks on business and energy industries. Like a faithful puppy at the heals of its owner, our Republican-controlled Congress set forth in January 2017 re-energized and motivated to get work done in all public policy facets, including the environment and its awash of grievances. Environmentalists are now turning to the courts system as a seemingly last-hour block against some of these highly politicized motives coming from Congress and the Oval Office.

This is all new, and not new.

I was surprised to read that “[w]hen George W. Bush entered the White House, his first rulemaking action was to put a 60-day hold on all Clinton rules, such as the roadless rule [a famously controversial forest-logging rule, discussed at length in Klyza & Sousa (2013)], that had not yet gone into effect” (p. 98). That’s something you don’t read about in environmental-group lamentations of Trump and the comeback of King Coal Congress. Although that’s not to say these concerns aren’t valid — I have many concerns as an avid environmentalist, myself — but it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t the only age of controversial environmental politics in American history. We live in a nation divided over many issues, and the environment continues to be a hotly debated one (global warming pun intended).

The authors go on to say that “[t]hese actions demonstrated just how tenuous it could be to make policy through rulemaking; a change in party control of the White House could unravel much of the policy work done through rulemaking, an unraveling that would be less likely if Congress had enacted the policies through the legislative process [emphasis added]” (p. 98).

Exhausted by political inaction in Congress, President Obama used his executive authority — just like every other president before him — to enact environmental policies he and his Administration felt were necessary. But unlike the executive rollbacks enacted by President George W. Bush in his first term, now we’re faced with a Congressional Review Act that’s a lot more silencing than rulemaking back-and-forth’s every 4 years.

More on the courts, the making of the “American green state” as described by Klyza & Sousa (2013), and the future security of National Monuments named under Obama … next time.

Week 4

The Headlines

5 possible futures for the EPA under Trump

February 13, 2017 | Vox

“Rewriting regulations isn’t the only way for the Trump administration to curtail the EPA. They’ll also submit budget requests to Republicans in Congress, many of whom want to shrink the agency considerably.”

Trump signs law rolling back disclosure rule for energy and mining companies

February 14, 2017 | The Washington Post

““It’s a big deal,” Trump said as he signed the measure in the Oval Office. “The energy jobs are coming back. Lots of people going back to work now.” The White House later issued a background paper saying the measure Trump signed “blocks a misguided regulation from burdening American extraction companies.””

Trump’s vow to scrap the Paris climate change accord faces skepticism from corporations, GOP moderates

February 15, 2017 | The Los Angeles Times

“Exxon Mobil is all in on Paris, which aims to contain global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial-age levels; so are DuPont, Unilever and Monsanto, the multinational genetically engineered food juggernaut that often tangles with the environmental movement. Half of the companies on the Fortune 500 already have greenhouse gas reduction plans in place.”

Trump’s likely science adviser calls climate scientists ‘glassy-eyed cult’

February 15, 2017 | The Guardian

““There’s a huge amount of money that we spend on saving the planet,” [Tapper] said. “If it turns out that the planet doesn’t need saving as much as we thought, well, there are other ways you could spend the money.”

Trump’s Repeal of Stream Rule Helps Coal at the Expense of Climate and Species

February 15, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Central Appalachia, where much of the mining that would have been affected by the rule takes place, hosts some of the richest biodiversity in North America. Many endemic species live only within particular river systems or valleys.”

EPA staff told to prepare for Trump executive orders: sources

February 16, 2017 | Reuters

“”It was just a heads-up to expect some executive orders, that’s it,” one of the sources said.

The second source said attendees at the meeting were told Trump would sign between two and five executive orders.”

E.P.A. Workers Try to Block Pruitt in Show of Defiance 

February 16, 2017 | The New York Times

“But because Civil Service rules make it difficult to fire federal workers, the show of defiance indicates that Mr. Pruitt will face strong internal opposition to many of his promised efforts to curtail E.P.A. activities and influence.”

February 17, 2017 | The Washington Post

“The vote came after Democrats held the Senate floor for hours overnight Thursday and then through the morning to criticize Pruitt and push for a last-minute delay of his confirmation. Part of their argument centered on an Oklahoma judge’s ruling late Thursday that Pruitt’s office must turn over thousands of emails related to his communication with oil, gas and coal companies. The judge set a Tuesday deadline for release of the emails, which a nonprofit group has been seeking for years.”

State Response

February 13, 2017 | The Boston Globe

“The plan was designed to comply with a landmark 2016 Supreme Judicial Court decision that requires specific limits on sources of greenhouse gases. But while the regulations might help the state curb emissions, they could cause electricity production to be diverted to less efficient power plants outside the state that might use more polluting energy sources, such as coal or oil, critics say.”

Environmentalists push for 100% renewable energy use in Massachusetts

February 13, 2017 | MassLive

“”We’re seeing in real ways the public’s desire in Western Massachusetts to forge ahead with a new generation renewable energy economy that provides more higher paying jobs, cleans our air, and protects our earth for future generations,” Linsky said.”

In Other Congressional News…

Republicans want EPA to investigate use of encrypted texts

February 14, 2017 | CNN

“”It is clear the new administration has created an environment where government scientists are feeling intimidated and fearful for their ability to continue to do their work without political interference,” said spokeswoman Kristin Kopshever. “That said, attempts to evade federal records requirements are unacceptable whether they take place at a federal agency or in the White House.””

Collins says she’ll vote against confirming Scott Pruitt to head EPA

February 15, 2017 | Portland Press Herald [Maine]

“Collins called Pruitt an accomplished attorney, but said his record raises several concerns. She pointed out that he has opposed and sued the EPA on “numerous issues that are of great importance to the state of Maine, including mercury controls for coal-fired power plants and efforts to reduce cross-state air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”

“His actions leave me with considerable doubts about whether his vision for the EPA is consistent with the agency’s critical mission to protect human health and the environment,” Collins said.”

Senate Dems plan all-night protest over Trump’s EPA pick

February 16, 2017 | The Hill

“Democrats blasted McConnell on Thursday for refusing to delay a vote on Pruitt. They wanted more time to wait for records from his time as Oklahoma attorney general requested more than two years ago.”

A Look Back

On his first day in office, Trump broke 34 promises

January 21, 2017 | ThinkProgress

“Trump promised to begin canceling billions in climate change spending for the United Nations on day one.

Therefore, on the first day of my term of office… We’re going to cancel billions in payments to the United Nations climate change programs, and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure. [Gettysburg, PA, 10/22/16]

Trump’s new administration had not announced any such cancellation on the first day. In the last days of the Obama administration, the State Department transferred $500 million in commitments to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund.”

Week 3

The Headlines

In Age of Trump, Scientists Show Signs of a Political Pulse

February 6, 2017 | The New York Times

“The president has yet to appoint a science adviser and has not responded to open letters calling on him to do so from science policy groups including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (whose president, Rush D. Holt, is a physicist and former congressman).

Few scientists have gone as far as Dr. Eisen, but other researchers are now undergoing a political awakening, contemplating what their role should be for at least the next few years.”

EPA Alumni Call for Senate to Reject Pruitt: ‘We Don’t Think He’s Qualified’

February 7, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The letter echoes concerns raised in similar efforts by environmentalists, academics and environmental lawyers from Oklahoma about Pruitt’s close ties to the fossil fuel and agriculture industries, as well as his record of fighting EPA regulation.”

Groups sue to block Trump’s order on government regulations

February 8, 2017 | The Southern Illinoisan

“”This order imposes a false choice between clean air, clean water, safe food and other environmental safeguards,” Suh said.”

EPA Transition Leader, Longtime Foe of Regulation, to Stay on at Agency

February 8, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Benton took the helm of the EPA transition last month, along with Washington State Sen. Doug Ericksen. Ericksen has been serving as the acting communications director for the agency transition. Meanwhile, Benton has been advising the EPA staff on the new administration’s policies and executive orders. That includes the Jan. 24 executive order directing federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews for certain infrastructure projects and a Jan. 30 executive order on reducing regulations.”

Trump’s energy inner circle takes shape

February 8, 2017 | E&E News

“President Trump is expected to soon fill key White House energy jobs — relying on Washington energy insiders and former staffers to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to help shape his administration’s environmental agenda.”

Trump Administration Considering Shutting EPA’s Enforcement Office: Report

February 8, 2017 | The Huffington Post

“Cynthia Giles, who served as the EPA’s assistant administrator for the OECA under Obama, said the office includes staff with technical, engineering and litigation expertise, and that separating the work among various offices would “just make it much harder to do their jobs.”

“Moving enforcement to separate programs would really just be to weaken it and make it more subject to political pressure,” Giles told HuffPost Thursday.”

Good Luck Killing the EPA

February 8, 2017 | Bloomberg

“Americans still need environmental protection, Whitman warned. In 2013, the most recent year with complete data, 91,000 people died of causes related to bad air, almost three times the total deaths from car accidents. “This is real, people,” the former EPA administrator said in a Feb. 3 interview.”

EPA Staff Yanked From Alaska Summit as Trump Team Weighs In

February 9, 2017 | Bloomberg

“Staff from other federal agencies weren’t subject to any corresponding orders from Washington to pull back, according to Eilo. Employees from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, State Department, Department of the Interior, Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Navy stayed on the agenda.”

Trump order will be hard to overturn — legal experts

February 9, 2017 | E&E News

“Beyond requiring agencies to scrap two rules for every new one, the January order established a regulatory budget by which the president determines how much agencies can spend on new rules each year. The budget for 2017 is zero dollars, meaning agencies must offset any new standards by repealing old ones.”

State Response

How will California battle climate change? A new proposal revs up debate over cap-and-trade program

February 9, 2017 | The Los Angeles Times

““With dark winds blowing westerly from D.C., the moment for California’s leadership has never been more urgent,” said Alex Jackson, a San Francisco-based lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With the stakes as high as they are, and with the target already in statute, we hope and expect there to be broad support for continuing one of our most effective tools for reaching that milestone.””

In Other Congressional News

Republican Carbon Tax Proposal: Novel Climate Solution or Regulatory Giveaway?

February 9, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The tax, collecting $40 for every ton of carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels, and escalating over time, would include a charge on imports and would generate enough revenue to pay substantial, regular dividend checks to individuals and households. In exchange, Congress would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of most powers to issue new regulations to control emissions, including a full repeal of the Clean Power Plan that the Obama administration wrote to govern power plants.”

Good To Know

Swedish climate minister appears to mock Trump administration with all-women photo

February 3, 2017 | The Hill

““It’s more that Sweden is a feminist government and this is a very important law that we just decided on. We need climate leadership in the world today. And to make the Paris agreement happen we need climate leadership. I would ask everyone to make their own interpretation.””

A Look Back

Trump Aides Prepare List of Early Energy Changes, Sources Say

January 20, 2017 | Bloomberg

“In the document, Trump highlights a commitment to clean-coal technology, which promises to cut pollution tied to burning the fossil fuel, and “to reviving America;’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.” That reprises Trump’s campaign promise to bring back coal mining jobs, in decline as environmental policies and competition from cheaper, cleaner natural gas have lessened electric utilities’ demand for the fossil fuel.”

Analysis 1

The first two weeks of President Trump’s term in office has left me feeling absolutely uneasy about the future of American climate and environmental policy over the next 4 years.

And we’ve only just begun.

Glancing through the first two weekly round of headlines (here and here) shows a nearly unprecedented attack on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A funding scare for all EPA projects, notably those impacting state universities and Native American tribes that benefit from said grants; a federal hiring freeze that affected nearly all executive agencies, including the EPA; threats to abolish the EPA stemming from Myron Ebell, head of EPA transition team; a gag order on all EPA and USDA officials from speaking to the press on all science or publications; an executive order impacting federal agency regulatory rule processes, notably the EPA and its controversial regulations on clean water and point-source pollution, air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions allowances, and toxic waste disposal for businesses and corporations (all deemed too strict for business expansion); not to mention the words ‘climate change’ being completely erased from the White House’s official policy pages and replaced by a robust oil and gas ‘America First’ energy policy.

Congress has had its ax to grind with the EPA and climate-related policy in the last two weeks, as well.

Highlights include: An Obama-era coal-clean-up rule rescinded by Congress; legislation introduced into the House of Representatives to ‘terminate’ the EPA entirely; legislation introduced to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands, deemed of ‘no purpose’ to taxpayers — but later retracted due to public outrage (notably from the backcountry community); and Secretary of State Trump nominee Rex Tillerson (with long-standing ExxonMobil employment and connections, and little-to-none government experience) confirmed by Congress to head American climate policies overseas.

I had my concerns coming into this presidency that Trump, his cabinet, and his crew would not be kind to American environmental protection standards, as an infamous and world-renowned businessman.

Business and climate regulations/policy have been historically at odds with one another, although the economics of climate change are as important as ever (see Risky Business for further analysis on this topic).

However, I did not anticipate such desecration and widespread fear for climate science and climate policy in a matter of 14 days.

I think this presidency is a real wake-up call for climate scientists all around the world, and for those of us who call ourselves environmentalists. Already alarmed, scientists across the country are mobilizing to march on Washington, to advocate for science-based policy, including in regards to the protection of our shared environment.

We, as citizens of this United States democracy, who care about environmental protection and science-based fact sharing, must remain vigilant and active participants in this era of heightened concern for the climate. Now is not the time to become complicit and accept Congressional word as the only option for law.

If it means something to you, write about it. Study it. Follow through. I’m now signed up for Congress alerts on legislation, rule-changes, and committee hearings on environmental issues I care about. Information is out there — both deceptive and legitimate. I’m advocating for education and awareness, and a strong commitment to safeguard our planet for future generations.

See you in two weeks,


Week 2

The Headlines

Allaying concerns, EPA lifts temporary freeze on grants to states

January 26, 2017 | USA Today

““We finished our review process,” said Ericksen, a GOP State Sen. from Washington who is temporarily acting as the agency’s spokesman. “As of now, nothing has been delayed. Nothing has been cut. There was simply a pause and everything’s up and running.””

EPA-Funded Scientists Share Their Concerns About the Trump Era

January 28, 2017 | Pacific Standard

““We already know that race is a major factor in predicting environmental quality,” Purifoy says, but understanding the detailed interactions between race and the environment “ultimately matters for the kinds of policies we pursue, such as reforms in county government to require more stringent land use planning and/or eliminating local government policies that create racial barriers to environmental justice.””

Trump’s Promise to Pay for Infrastructure With Fossil Fuel Revenue Rings Hollow

January 30, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Among the fuzzy pledges President Trump has made in his energy plans, his idea to pay for a $1 trillion public infrastructure program with a bonanza of fossil fuel mining and drilling revenue stands out as particularly far-fetched.”

Trump wants to scrap two regulations for each new one adopted

January 30, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the executive order “absurd, imposing a Sophie’s Choice on federal agencies. If, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to issue a new rule to protect kids from mercury exposure, will it need to get rid of  two other science-based rules, such as limiting lead in drinking water and cutting pollution from school buses?””

Green movement ‘greatest threat to freedom’, says Trump adviser

January 30, 2017 | The Guardian

“Myron Ebell, who has denied the dangers of climate change for many years and led Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) until the president’s recent inauguration, also said he fully expected Trump to keep his promise to withdraw the US from the global agreement to fight global warming.”

In a dark climate comedy, Exxon’s former CEO is now secretary of state

February 1, 2017 | Mashable

“The final Senate vote was 56 to 43 in favor, with three Democrats and one independent joining Republicans in voting for him. No Republicans opposed Tillerson’s nomination.”

Donald Trump ‘taking steps to abolish Environmental Protection Agency’

February 1, 2017 | The Guardian

“Doing so would mean “we will be ceding global leadership of climate policy to China,” Ebell said after the meeting. “[But] I want to get rid of global climate policy, so why do I care who is in charge of it? I don’t care. They can take it as far as I’m concerned, and good luck to them.””

State Response

How States Can Step Up for Science

January 27, 2017 | Science Friday

“California Governor Jerry Brown talks about how states can take the lead on issues like climate change and clean energy. And a strategy for building an immunity to fake news.”

In Other Congressional News…

Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land, sparking rallies

January 31, 2017 | The Guardian

“The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.”

Florida Congressman Drafts Bill To ‘Completely Abolish’ The EPA

January 31, 2017 | The Huffington Post

““Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans,” Gaetz wrote. “It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.””

House to repeal Obama coal rule Wednesday

January 31, 2017 | The Hill

“The Interior Department’s stream protection rule could become just the second regulation in history — and the first in 16 years — to be repealed under the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to overturn regulations they disapprove of with a simple majority.”

Despite Hedging on Climate Change, Perry, Zinke Nominations Head for Senate Vote

January 31, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Joining all committee Republicans to approve both nominees were Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Angus King, (I-Maine), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.) abstained on Zinke, saying he wanted more clarification from him on reports that he wants to move the management of national forests to the Department of Interior. Also breaking ranks with the Democrats were Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who voted against Zinke, but for Perry. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted for Zinke, but against Perry.”

Republicans will try a little-used tactic to kill five Obama regulations this week

February 1, 2017 | Vox

The methane waste rule. This Department of Interior regulation, finalized in November 2016, would require oil and gas companies to reduce methane leaks from operations on federal and tribal lands. Instead of just flaring it or letting it waft into the air, companies would have to capture the methane and sell it off. This rule was a component of Obama’s climate plan, which aimed to reduce emissions of methane — a powerful greenhouse-gas — from oil and gas drilling 40 percent by 2025. But the oil industry preferred this be regulated at the state level (which is typically looser).”

This lawmaker wants to ease rules on drilling in national parks, and conservationists aren’t happy.

February 1, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Gosar submitted a resolution Monday that threatens to repeal the National Park Service’s authority to manage private drilling for oil, gas and minerals at 40 national parks, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. Under what are known as the 9B rules, the Park Service, which controls the surface of natural parks, can decline drilling rights to parties that own resources beneath the surface if it determines that the operation would be an environmental threat.”

Republicans back off bill to sell 3.3m acres of public land after outcry

February 2, 2017 | The Guardian

““Once that bill was introduced, the hornet’s nest was kicked,” said Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a group that supported public land rallies in opposition. “What happened last week was just a small fraction of the ire the sportsman community has been feeling.””

Coal rule killed by U.S. Congress, others near chopping block

February 2, 2017 | Reuters

“By a vote of 54-45, the Senate approved a resolution already passed in the House of Representatives to kill the rule aimed at keeping pollutants out of streams in areas near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites.”

Rep. Lamar Smith Launches New Assault on EPA’s ‘Secret Science’

February 2, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The title of the hearing has a familiar ring: “Making the EPA Great Again.” But to scientific and environmental organizations, its echoes sound like an attack on public health and safety.”