Week 13

The Headlines

Ozone Review Could Be Part of Larger Energy Policy Overhaul

April 12, 2017 | Bloomberg BNA

The EPA in its court filing seeking the delay had indicated that it is taking a look at the ozone standards to determine whether the regulation is subject to a March 28 executive order that instructed the agency to review any existing rules that could “potentially burden” domestic energy production ( Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 15-1385, 4/11/17 ).

EPA emerges as major target after Trump solicits policy advice from industry

April 16, 2017 | The Washington Post

The NFIB has suggested a raft of changes, including one that would designate the Commerce Department — instead of the State Department — as the agency in charge of approving pipelines and other projects that cross borders. The federation says the lead agency should have “commercial expertise and an interest in encouraging business.”

White House cancels meeting to decide stance on climate pact

April 18, 2017 | ABC News

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed the postponement of the meeting on scheduling conflicts among advisers who were expected to attend. Some of them, she said, wanted to accompany the president on his trip to Wisconsin on Tuesday, and the White House decided to reschedule its internal climate talks.

EPA seeks delay over rule curbing coal plants’ toxic pollution

April 18, 2017 | The Washington Post

The rule on mercury and other air toxins, known as the MATS rule, has been the subject of litigation for years. While the Supreme Court initially required EPA to do a more thorough cost-benefit analysis of the measure, it allowed the new standards to take effect in 2012. Under the rule, coal and oil-fired utilities had to install pollution controls that put them on par with the 12 percent cleanest facilities in their sector.

EPA plans to offer buyouts as part of Trump push to shrink workforce

April 19, 2017 | The Washington Post

O’Grady said for the Trump administration to try to get rid of thousands of employees using the same approach would prove “exorbitantly expensive.” In addition, he said it would amount to “the utter destruction of the U.S. EPA.”

Trump wants to make it easier to drill in national parks. We mapped the 42 parks at risk.

April 20, 2017 | Vox

But now, under the Trump administration, those safeguards are at risk of being watered down or repealed, shifting the burden to protect national parks to environmental watchdogs. And 30 additional national parks with split estate situations could be opened for drilling in the future.

Changes to Energy Dept. websites downplay renewables as a replacement for fossil fuels

April 21, 2017 | The Washington Post

Together, the changes collectively downplay the climate benefits of each form of technology and distance the agency from the idea that they might be used to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, instead emphasizing their economic advantages. It’s a move that’s well in line with the Trump administration’s generally dismissive attitude toward the issue of climate change.


In Other Congressional News…

This Time Congress Is Not Helping Trump Destroy the Planet

April 10, 2017 | Mother Jones

The bill to overturn a methane regulation for public lands that has been long disliked by the oil and gas industry has stalled in the Senate. A number of moderate and Western state Republican senators have worried about the implications of permanently restricting the Interior Department’s ability to regulate methane emissions.


State Response 

Northwest EPA worker blasts new boss in resignation

April 10, 2017 | Seattle Pi

“You will continue to undermine your credibility and integrity with EPA staff, and the majority of the public, if you continue to question this basic science on climate change.”


A Look Back

What Trump’s Surprise Victory Could Mean for Science

November 9, 2016 | Scientific American

The biggest issue is that scientists simply don’t know what Trump is going to do. Trump has changed his mind on plenty of matters; he’s maintained few constants besides wanting to cut spending, keep out immigrants and burn fossil fuels. We don’t know if he’ll cut science spending, and we know he’s interested in a stronger private company presence in some fields, like space exploration.  Scientists have already begun tweeting about their worry that these budget cuts will hit their fields of research via the NIH or NSF.

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