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.”

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