Week 9

The Headlines

Interior Department to withdraw Obama-era fracking rule, filings reveal

March 15, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Under the proposal, companies that drill on federal and tribal lands would be subject to stricter design standards for wells and for holding tanks and ponds where liquid wastes are stored. They also would be forced to report which chemicals they were pumping into the ground.”

Trump Budget Blueprint Eviscerates Energy Programs

March 16, 2017 | Climate Central

“The proposal fully embraces fossil fuels development while deeply cutting popular environmental cleanup programs such as EPA’s Superfund program, which helps to clean up hazardous waste leftover from abandoned industrial and energy facilities.”

Trump Repeal of Climate Rules Means U.S. Paris Target Now Out of Reach

March 20, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“There were people at the [EPA] hard at work on 2.0 [of climate policy], and they were going to ratchet it up, and it was going to be justified by Paris. It all would have worked, except for that whole election thing,” Bookbinder said. “Now, it’s all over…We’re at square zero.”

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

March 21, 2017 | The New York Times

“The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.”

The White House calls climate change research a ‘waste.’ Actually, it’s required by law

March 21, 2017 | The Washington Post

“For each of these programs, real people live on the other side of the budget line item,” said Ali Zaidi, a Stanford energy researcher who previously served in a key role in Obama’s Office of Management and Budget overseeing funding for climate and environmental programs. “Students, small business, and sources of economic growth for communities count on this data. Now you’ve got folks waiting by the phone to learn whether they’ll be going to work tomorrow or whether the data that informs their livelihoods will still be available.”

The Hidden Risks of Trump’s EPA Cuts: Birth Defects, Bad Air

March 23, 2017 | Bloomberg

“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.””

Trump administration grants approval for Keystone XL pipeline

March 24, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Five years ago, the Keystone XL project faced stiff opposition from Nebraska landowners and environmentalists, many of them worried about potential damage to the state’s massive Ogallala water aquifer and fragile Sand Hills region. In response, the company moved the pipeline’s path farther east. But even that route is sure to face resistance.”

In Other Congressional News…

Republican green groups seek to temper Trump on climate change

March 20, 2017 | Reuters

“Conservative green groups such as ConservAmerica and republicEn, along with politically neutral religious groups such as Catholic Climate Covenant and bipartisan groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, have ramped up efforts to recruit more congressional Republicans to work on addressing climate change since Trump’s election.”

Congress grumbles as White House limits spending details

March 22, 2017 | E&E News

“Cantwell was also unaware of the administration’s hesitation to send witnesses up to testify before the full budget is submitted in May but noted that fiscal 2017 appropriations will have to be wrapped up by the end of April, when the current funding resolution expires.”

State Response

Ohio environmentalists alarmed by US budget proposal’s big cuts to EPA

March 12, 2017 | The Columbus Dispatch

“Among the proposals by the Trump administration is one to slash Great Lakes restoration funding by 97 percent — from $300 million to $10 million.”

Green energy in a coal state: the struggle to bring solar jobs to West Virginia

March 19, 2017 | The Guardian

“I really feel like we’re in a race against time, that it’s important we diversify quickly so young folks don’t have to move away,” says Conant. “It’s been really frustrating over the years to see all of my friends leave – pretty much everyone I went to high school with. The state is experiencing a serious brain drain.”

California adopts strictest methane rule in the nation

March 23, 2017 | The San Diego Union-Tribune

“The Trump administration has backed away from efforts to develop a federal rule to curb methane leaks from existing facilities — the nation’s largest source of methane pollution,” Mary Nichols, CARB chair, said in a statement immediately after the vote. “California’s regulations continue our leadership in fighting air pollutants and help meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”

Colorado appeals court says state must protect health and environment before allowing oil and gas drilling

March 23, 2017 | The Denver Post

“The ruling does not mean the COGCC [Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission] now must adopt the teenagers’ proposal to restrict new drilling. It means the COGCC illegally rejected it and sends the case back to district court.”

Vulnerable to climate change, New Mexicans understand its risks

March 23, 2017 | The NM Political Report

“Most New Mexicans know climate change is happening and understand it is human-caused. According to recently-released data, New Mexicans are also more likely than people in about half the country to talk not just about the weather, but climate.”

A Look Back

In race to curb climate change, cities outpace governments

March 13, 2017 | Thomas Reuters Foundation News

“If Trump relaxes standards for clean air, power plants or vehicles “there would be a greater burden on cities to implement programs to fill the gaps,” said Amy Petri of the office of sustainability in the Texas city of Austin.”


Analysis 4

A big budget leads to big spending, and a big government’s to blame.

That’s essentially what President Trump has decreed with this week’s unveiling of the 2018 budget blueprint.

What’s that got to do with climate policy under Trump? Unfortunately, there’s a whole host of programs slated for the shredder, including an astonishing (at least to me) number of environmentally oriented services — services I didn’t even know were up for grabs until I saw the writing on the (Internet) wall.

  • Thinking about cleaning up wastewater in your community? Better luck via the private sector. [Water and Wastewater loan and grant program ($498 million)]
  • Interested in researching ‘alternative’ energy options? Again, look to the private sector. [Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy ($382 million)]
  • What about abandoned mine land grants for clean-up purposes? Look to the so-called ‘permanent fund’ instead. [Abandoned Mine Land grants ($160 million)]
  • Don’t care for state-federal partnerships to “preserve natural, historic, scenic, and cultural resources”? Again, don’t worry anymore about those. [National Heritage Areas ($20 million)]
  • How do you feel about global climate change and the United States’ responsibility? Forget about it! [Global Climate Change Initiative ($1.3 billion)]
  • Would you like to keep the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay clean? Harken back to the States with your concerns, instead. [Geographic watershed programs ($427 million) including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ($40 million) and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Initiative ($14 million)]
  • Those Appalachian voters swearing by Trump’s promises of economic prosperity? Swear no more. [Appalachian Regional Commission ($119 million)]
  • Chemical accidents? What chemical accidents? [Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board ($11 million)]

I’m writing all this in tongue-and-cheek, but there’s a real (potentially irreversible) environmental protection crisis on our hands with all the million-dollar slashings riddled in this ‘stream-lined’ (but not stream-protecting) budget.

So, Trump: You’re telling me that acid mine drainage, global climate change, and pursuing alternative (ahem, not fossil fuel) energies is a waste of my time, and the country’s economic resources? What about the (real!) notion economic prosperity and curbing climate change? Didn’t you know it’s risky business to bet on a future without mitigation or adaptation to impending climate changes?

Perhaps I’m just a naive undergraduate college student, worried about all those eroding sands and coastal seashores while you and your cabinet crew’s got your heads stuck under the sand. How I wish, sometimes, I could solve my crunched class-time woes as easily as you’re starting to ignore the call to curb global warming!

But I digress.

This week, I’m going to make a case for big government — actually, I’m going to read Jeff Madrick’s ‘The Case for Big Government’ instead.

Because what you’re telling me, Trump, is that a smaller government, a downsized (read bare-bones) budget, and less bureaucrats on the federal dime are going to keep my waters clean, new renewable technologies booming, and our natural resources respected. Forgive me if I’m skeptical, I’m still new to all of this ‘making it all great’ and everything for everybody. (What about Flint, MI and environmental justice?)

So like I said: I’m going to read Madrick(a “noted economist”) to see his point of view, now that I clearly know yours. Published in 2009, Madrick’s book argues that a big government of “high taxes and wise regulations” is not recommended but actually necessary “for the social and economic answers that Americans desperately need” today.

Big government’s been avoided like the plague on both popular party accounts. It’s become “a matter of belief” (p. 2) to minimize taxes and increased government spending, partly to earn electorals but also because it’s been the norm since President Reagan in the 1980s.

But Madrick’s quick to forgo sweeping statements.

“I am not arguing here that there is evidence that big government and high taxes are always and everywhere good. If government is managed poorly, it can have damaging effects. … What I am arguing is that judging by the careful assessment of economic achievements by nations with high taxes and large governments, and judging by American history itself, active and sizable government has been essential to growth and prosperity among the world’s rich nations, including America [emphasis added]” (p. 7).

For the remainder of the 100 days (we’re currently on Day 59, over halfway!!), I’ll be following Madrick’s arguments for big government, since the issue of small government for Trump is affecting his climate policy initiatives big time.

Until then, enjoy your National Parks and public lands now. Who knows how long they’re going to last around here.

Week 8

The Headlines

Scott Pruitt’s office deluged with angry callers after he questions the science of global warming

March 11, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Pruitt’s comments put him at odds with the overwhelming majority of scientists, most world leaders and even his predecessors at the agency.”

Trump is poised to issue a sweeping order dismantling Obama’s climate plan this week

March 14, 2017 | The Washington Post

“It will also reverse an executive order former president Obama issued that instructs agencies to incorporate climate change into the National Environmental Policy Act reviews it applies to federal actions, according to individuals briefed on the order.”

Exxon Concealed Tillerson’s ‘Alias’ Emails From NY Climate Fraud Probe, AG Claims

March 14, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Tillerson, whose middle name is Wayne, used an email address on the Exxon system under the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” from at least 2008 through 2015, investigators say. The company has turned over a handful of the emails, but New York authorities believe a much larger trove exists.”

Trump and Automakers Target EPA Mileage Rules

March 15, 2017 | Climate Central

“Trump announced in Michigan on Wednesday that the EPA would review federal mileage standards for 2022 to 2025. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed a lawsuit this week challenging the same standards, several weeks after it asked EPA to conduct the review.”

Trump seeks input from U.S. energy companies on Paris climate pact

March 15, 2017 | Reuters

“One of the sources said the companies were “publicly traded fossil fuel companies,” and added the White House would consider their input in making a decision on the Paris accord shortly. The source said the White House has been leading the discussions with the fossil fuel companies and the State Department, which represents the United States in climate negotiations, had not taken part.”

Interior Department to withdraw Obama-era fracking rule, filings reveal

March 15, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Under the proposal, companies that drill on federal and tribal lands would be subject to stricter design standards for wells and for holding tanks and ponds where liquid wastes are stored. They also would be forced to report which chemicals they were pumping into the ground.”

Trump’s Defense Secretary Cites Climate Change as National Security Challenge

March 16, 2017 | ProPublica

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asserted that climate change is real, and a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere, a position that appears at odds with the views of the president who appointed him and many in the administration in which he serves.”

White House calls climate change funding ‘a waste of your money’ – video

March 16, 2017 | The Guardian

“White House budget director Mick Mulvaney confirmed on Thursday that the new administration had no interest in funding to combat climate change, saying: ‘We’re not spending money on that any more. We consider that to be a waste of your money’”

These Climate Programs Would Be Axed Under Trump’s Budget

March 16, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The agency would see the largest cuts in its history: $2.6 billion, or 31.4 percent of its budget. The planned cut of 3,200 positions would put staffing at its lowest level since 1978. About $100 million would be saved by discontinuing funding for the Clean Power Plan and any international climate change, climate change research and partnership programs.”

Trump Budget Would Cripple U.S. International Climate Change Work

March 17, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The White House in its 2018 budget proposal released Thursday called for combined cuts of $10.1 billion, or 28 percent, to the two leading agencies on international climate work—the State Department and U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). This is on top of even deeper cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and other departments with domestic climate programs.”

State Response

Can the Golden State go 100% green?

March 13, 2017 | E&E News

“The nation’s most populous state switching to fully renewable electricity sounds idealistic. But several experts said it can be done — with a lot depending on definitions, technological advancements and acceptable price tags.”

INTERVIEW-Despite city’s newest resident, Washington D.C. pushes climate action

March 14, 2017 | Thomson Reuters Foundation

“”We know in cities we can use our procurement power, our power in building codes and our bully pulpit to say we must fight climate change. And there are some very real effects on our bottom line,” she said in a telephone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”

In Other Congressional News…

House Republicans’ Group Launches Effort to Tackle Climate Change

March 15, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“The resolution makes the argument that it is a conservative principle to “protect, conserve and be good stewards of the environment, responsibility plan for all market factors, and base our policy decisions in science and quantifiable fact.””

A Look Back

The 6 most important parts of Donald Trump’s energy policy

May 26, 2016 | Vox

“The United States is currently the largest producer of petroleum and natural gas in the world, thanks in part to the massive fracking boom that’s been taking place around the country since the 2000s:

But to hear Trump tell it, we’re barely producing anything at all. He wants more — much more. On his first day in office, “American energy dominance will be declared a strategic, economic, and foreign policy goal of the United States,” he said. “It’s about time!””

Week 7

The Headlines

March 3, 2017 | The Guardian

“Donald Trump’s administration is proposing a 25% reduction in the EPA’s $8.1bn budget, eliminating nearly 3,000 jobs and several programs including the agency’s environmental justice office. Funding for the cleanup of lead, marine pollution, tribal lands and the Great Lakes region faces severe cuts, while climate initiatives are earmarked for a 70% budget reduction.”

EPA expected to reopen vehicle emissions decision: source

March 3, 2017 | Reuters

“The auto group requests follow a separate letter to President Donald Trump earlier this month from the chief executives of GM, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU.N) (FCHA.MI), along with the top North American executives at Toyota, VW, Honda, Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) and others urging Trump to revisit the decision.”

E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics

March 7, 2017 | The New York Times

“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. A former Inhofe chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, will be Mr. Pruitt’s chief of staff. Another former Inhofe staff member, Byron Brown, will serve as Mr. Jackson’s deputy. Andrew Wheeler, a fossil fuel lobbyist and a former Inhofe chief of staff, is a finalist to be Mr. Pruitt’s deputy, although he requires confirmation to the position by the Senate.”

Chief Environmental Justice Official at EPA Resigns, With Plea to Pruitt to Protect Vulnerable Communities

March 9, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“”When I hear we are considering making cuts to grant programs like the EJ small grants or Collaborative Problem Solving programs, which have assisted over 1,400 communities, I wonder if our new leadership has had the opportunity to converse with those who need our help the most,” Ali wrote. “I strongly encourage you and your team to continue promoting agency efforts to validate these communities’ concerns, and value their lives.””

EPA head Scott Pruitt denies that carbon dioxide causes global warming

March 9, 2017 | The Guardian

“This stance puts Pruitt at odds with his own agency, which states on its website that carbon dioxide is the “primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change”. This finding is backed by Nasa, which calls CO2 “the most important long-lived ‘forcing’ of climate change”.”

The Clean Power Plan is gone — and there’s no ‘replace’

March 9, 2017 | E&E News

“It was unclear until now if the Trump administration would “repeal and replace” the Clean Power Plan, or just set upon a path to undo it. Some had anticipated that the Trump administration might pursue an alternative and much less stringent rule, but the executive order will only call for the withdrawal of the regulation.”

What You Need to Know About Trump’s Proposed Climate Cuts

March 10, 2017 | National Geographic News

“At 2016 levels, that 17-percent reduction [of NOAA} would run the U.S. Department of Defense for just under 15 hours—and could hamper U.S. weather forecasting and monitoring of natural disasters, not to mention studies of climate change, say weather and climate experts.”

State Response

Will SF Bay wetlands restoration be a casualty of EPA cuts?

March 3, 2017 | SF Gate

“Air pollution grants to big cities, programs to clean trash and pollutants from waters at the Mexican border and efforts to cut diesel emissions would all be discontinued. In addition, climate protection programs would be cut by 70 percent, while dozens of programs to reduce lead in drinking water, clean up marine pollution, and fix leaking underground storage tanks, would be slashed.”

Trump budget virtually kills Great Lakes initiative

March 4, 2017 | The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

“To the dismay of many Toledo-area officials and environmental groups, the Trump Administration is trying to kill all but 3 percent of funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

In Other Congressional News…

March 8, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Planning 2.0, which was finalized late last year by the Bureau of Land Management, was intended to shorten and streamline the process associated with federal land use planning, while making it more transparent and accessible by allowing for earlier and greater public input on proposed management plans. It was touted by BLM officials as a way to make faster decisions that best reflect the concerns and priorities of the communities they affect.”

A Look Back

How to fight climate change without Washington

February 21, 2017 | The Boston Globe

“The ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency probably spells an end to all federal leadership on climate change for the next four years. States have to pick up the slack, and reviving the program — known by the jargony term “low-carbon fuel standard” — would be a good way to start.”

Analysis 3

The States are at it again.

California (per usual) announced its intentions to aim for 100% renewable energy by 2045 — 5 years before the long-proclaimed, supposed climate-terror year of 2050.

Oregon, too, made headlines for pursuing a price on carbon. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects the so-called greenhouse effect, which in turn helps regulate Earth surface temperatures and blocks harmful UV radiation from the sun. We’re now experiencing what scientists say (now) is a rapid climate change — ‘global warming’ — due to an increase in the feedback-looped greenhouse effect and a subsequent rise in greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions, namely carbon dioxide and methane, have been largely linked to increased industrial human activity since the 1800s. (Although now some notable person ‘doesn’t believe’ that carbon is a climate-affecter, see upcoming Week 7 headlines for that reveal).

Texas also made renewable news — yeah, Texas: that oil-glutton state on the southern border infamous for its untapped oil deposits. They’re starting to realize that wind investments just make sense, and are tapping into a (relatively) clean energy source despite the federal push for more pipelines.

But States alone can’t save U.S. climate policy.

We have entered an unprecedented era in modern American environmental politics with the turn of Trump’s presidency and a Cabinet-Congress staffed with an anti-regulatory, roll-back-any-Obama-designations crowd.

In the last 2 weeks, we’ve seen: Trump calling on EPA Pruitt to nix the Clean Water Rule; significant budget cut rumors and greenhouse gas emissions data ‘canceled’ at the EPA; and congressmen STILL debating the existence of current climate change.

Last time I introduced Klyza & Sousa’s “American Environmental Policy: Beyond Gridlock”, a text updated in 2013, to try and gain some sense of historical environmental politics and to put into context this current reality.

Although referencing George W. Bush’s rulemaking abilities in altering the New Source Review provisions of the Clear Air Act and Bill Clinton’s extensive use of the Antiquities Act, the authors contend that:

“Typically, though, executive orders have not been used to mark out specific new directions for environmental policy” (p. 93).

Clearly, this book was written before Trump took a seat at the White House.

Executive orders directing environmental policy (i.e. reducing regulations, expediting environmental assessments) been a repeated theme over the last 6 weeks, not to mention other executive actions — rolling back clean water rules, Keystone XL pipeline approval — with the threat of several more rollbacks on environmental regulation and ‘progressive’ policy appearing over the next few weeks.

We’re all waiting in anticipation: What in our environmental policy playbook could be under threat next?

I’ve got an idea: National Monuments.

Bears Ears National Monument is up to par, politically. Obama designated the site — “1.35 million acres featuring tens of thousands of cultural and archaeological sites including Ice Age hunting camps, cliff dwellings, prehistoric villages, petroglyphs and pictographs that help to tell the story of 12,000 years of human history in that region” (The Hill) — late in the game, in December 2016. The official journey for Bears Ears protection status started officially in 2010, although the Utah-located lands have been considered sacred to indigenous populations for centuries

President Obama used the Antiquities Act of 1906 — a longstanding power granted by Congress to give executive authority — to establish the monument, just like nearly every single one of his predecessors (excluding Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush) have done since the early 1900s when the Act was passed.

Quoted in Klyza & Sousa, Joe Lockhart, President Clinton’s press secretary, said in 2001 about National Monument un-designation:

“To get something enacted, to get something changed, is very difficult because the forces of the status quo are enormous, but to undo something is just as difficult or more difficult. And for a new president, Republican or Democrat, to stand up and say, ‘I believe that we should let these big companies go in and take this land back from the American public,’ is almost impossible politically. It’s never been done [emphasis added]” (p. 111).

Impossible, or just not possible yet?

Right now, where we stand, some members of Congress are finding a sympathetic Trump to push their take-back Bears Ears agenda.

Outrage in the environmental community has ensued, with Bears Ears representing yet another indigenous-wilderness cause activists are fighting for (does Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline ring a bell?).

I’m concerned in reading Klyza & Sousa that the authors were a tad too optimistic about the generally stable state of ‘gridlock’ in American environmental politics to maintain the gradual drift we saw toward increased environmental protections.

We don’t have much ‘gridlock’ stopping Congress and the Commander-in-Chief from rolling back and ramping up oil-and-gas oligarchs anymore.

P.S. — Here’s what the United States looked like before the EPA. We might not have one soon.

Week 6

The Headlines

Trump establishes task forces to eliminate ‘job killing regulations’

February 24, 2017 | The Washington Post

“A coalition of public watchdog and environmental groups is already challenging a Feb. 8 executive order Trump signed that calls for the elimination of two regulations for every new one that is issued. Scott Slesinger, who serves as legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement that the latest directive also poses a threat to the public.”

Aggressive cuts to Obama-era green rules to start soon: EPA head

February 25, 2017 | Reuters

“”I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Conservative Political Action summit in Washington DC.”

Trump to Propose 10% Defense Increase in Budget Plan, Aides Say

February 26, 2017 | Bloomberg

““Its clogged the bloodstream of our country,” Trump said of [EPA] earlier this month. “People can’t do anything, people are looking to get approvals for factories for 15 years.””

Trump has begun dismantling Obama’s EPA rules. First up: the Clean Water Rule.

March 1, 2017 | Vox

“Rolling back this rule won’t be easy to do. By law, Pruitt has to go through the formal federal rulemaking process and replace Obama’s regulation with his own version — and then defend it in court as legally superior. And, as Pruitt’s about to find out, figuring out which bodies of water deserve protection is a maddeningly complex task that could take years.”

March 1, 2017 | The Washington Post

“In addition, 38 separate programs would be eliminated entirely. Grants to clean up brownfields, or abandoned industrial sites, would be gone. Also zeroed out: the radon program, climate change initiatives and funding for Alaskan native villages.”

Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change

March 2, 2017 | The New York Times

“While the president cannot, as Mr. Trump suggested, unilaterally undo a 194-nation accord that has already been legally ratified, he could initiate the four-year process to withdraw the world’s largest economy and second-largest climate polluter from the first worldwide deal to tackle global warming. Such a move would rend a global deal that has been hailed as historic, throwing into question the fate of global climate policy and, diplomats say, the credibility of the United States.”

EPA withdraws Obama-era request for data on oil, natural gas

March 2, 2017 | Associated Press

“Methane, the key component of natural gas, has a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The oil and gas industry is the largest industrial methane source in the United States.”

State Response

How will Alaskans talk climate change with the Trump administration?

February 28, 2017 | adn.com

“Climate change is an important enough priority for the state of Alaska to have been invoked by Gov. Bill Walker in his state of the state address: “Alaska is the only Arctic state in the nation — and we are ground zero for climate impacts,” he said in his address, delivered a month ago.”

In Other Congressional News…

Partisan Divide in Congress Wider Than Ever on Environmental Issues, Group Says

February 23, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“House Republicans cast pro-environmental votes just 5 percent of the time in 2016, while their Democratic colleagues tallied a 94 percent voting record, according to the League of Conservation Voters. That makes the 114th Congress the most politically polarized in the 46-year history of LCV’s Scorecard, the new numbers released Thursday show.”

Members of Congress met to discuss the costs of climate change. They ended up debating its existence.

February 28, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Can anyone on the panel give me a date certain, even a year certain, that there was absolutely no climate change on this planet since the forming of it?” Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) asked the witnesses at one point.

March 2, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Perry’s foes criticized his tepid acknowledgment of climate change, his strong ties to his state’s oil and gas industry, and his lack of experience with the department’s main budgetary area, the maintenance of the nation’s nuclear stockpile. And they wondered whether he will be able to protect the department’s national laboratories and other scientific research against those who would slash the budget.”

A Look Back

January 27, 2017 | The Washington Post

“Davis Filfred, a Navajo Nation Council delegate and official representative to Utah, said in an interview that while the tribes were prepared to go to court over the issue, the back-and-forth felt like “a tug of war” they would rather avoid.”

What Cities Looked Like Before the EPA

March 2, 2017 | CityLab

“While you can see (and breathe) the difference today, the EPA has facts to back it up. Since 1970, the agency has reduced the six most common air pollutants by more than 50 percent, reduced air toxins from large industrial sources by almost 70 percent, and eliminated the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. And this progress was accomplished even as the country’s GDP tripled, energy consumption increased by 50 percent, and vehicle use nearly doubled.”