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.”

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