Trump Greenlights Keystone Xl Pipeline
President Donald Trump issued a new permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which he had previously approved two years ago, after the Obama administration had delayed it. The pipeline would carry crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Trump’s previous approval had been blocked by a federal judge in Montana in November, who had said the government had not done enough to complete environmental reviews of the controversial project.
In response to the new order, a White House spokesperson told the Associated Press, Specifically, this permit reinforces, as should have been clear all along, that the presidential permit is indeed an exercise of presidential authority that is not subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Stephan Volker, a lawyer representing environmentalists opposed to the pipeline, told the AP he would be suing to block construction. President Trump has launched a direct assault on our system of governance, Volker said.
Opening The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge And North Slope To Drilling
The Trump administration tax bill passed in December 2017 includes a provision introduced by Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski that requires Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to approve at least two lease sales for drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge . Scientists, environmentalists and former Interior Department officials have warned that fossil fuel extraction in the ANWR could harm the landscape and the species that live there.
On August 17, 2020, the Trump Administration finalized and announced its decision to open the ANWR to drilling. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, formerly an oil industry lobbyist, said that the administration’s oil and gas leasing program could “create thousands of jobs” and “mark a new chapter in American energy independence.” Due to the fact that world markets are currently flooded bringing crude oil to historically low prices, that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the market for oil has collapsed, and since Trump took office in 2017 there has been an increased awareness of the need to combat global warming, it is unlikely that any drilling would soon begin. However, Trump’s decision has been seen as a way to make the opening of the region to drilling harder to undo should a new administration be voted in during the November 2020 presidential election.
In June 2021,`the Biden Administration suspended all drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the North Slope.
Days: 4 Worst And 1 Good Thing Trump Has Done For The Environment
Editors note: This was first published on Time.com
President Trump said recently that the tradition of rating a new presidents first 100 days is ridiculous. The White House then created a web page devoted to rating his first 100 days.
Its further proof, if anyone needed it, that the defining feature of this presidents first 100 days is noise. Every day brings some piercing new alarm, making it hard to separate the momentarily disturbing from the truly damaging. But this is essential especially for the environment.
While the president has flip-flopped on some signature issues, hes been totally consistent about dismantling protections for public health, clean air and clean water. So lets take a closer look at what hes done so far, and what it will mean for our health and our world.
Here are the four worst actions Trump took his first 100 days and one thats very good.
1. Hired Scott Pruitt
Trumps choice of leader for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency built his career by attacking the agency and its clean air and water rules.
Pruitt is beginning to staff the EPA with Beltway insiders who have made their living lobbying for weaker pollution rules on behalf of industry.
That will leave a toxic legacy of more disease and premature death.
2. Undermined chemical safety
3. Asked to slash the federal budget
4. Moved to roll back protections from dirty energy
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Communities Of Color Bear The Brunt Of Trumps Anti
- Amy Patronella
- Saharra Griffin
President Donald Trump has claimed that from his first day in office, his administration has made it a top priority to ensure that America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet. In reality, it has done the exact oppositedeliberately dismantling the United States existing framework of environmental protections that safeguard the countrys water, air, and public health.
Due to a history of systemic racism and segregation, low-income communities and people of color have been burdened with higher levels of pollution in their backyards. These groups are also disproportionately vulnerable to the increasingly devastating weather events occurring as a result of unchecked climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Historic exclusion from political decision-making has only exacerbated this reality, further impeding these communities ability to prepare for and respond to burgeoning climate risks.
Trump Budget Proposes Steep Cuts For The Environment
President Trumps 2018 budget, sent to Congress Tuesday, calls for massive cuts in scientific research and in a slew of environmental programs that protect air and water. The proposed budget, titled A New Foundation for American Greatness, slashes the Environmental Protection Agencys budget by 31 percent a steeper cut than any other agency. Those cuts could translate into a $2.7 billion spending reduction and the loss of 3,200 jobs, according to an analysis by the World Resources Institute. The proposed budget eliminates major programs to restore the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Puget Sound. It ends the EPAs lead-risk reduction and radon detection programs and cuts funding for the Superfund cleanup program.
The budget proposal does, however, retain funding for grants and financing to states and cities for drinking water and wastewater programs. S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, told the Washington Post that he was amazed that the final EPA budget is nearly identical to the preliminary budget released in March, despite strong opposition at the time from many members of Congress. In addition, the Interior Department would undergo a 12 percent funding cut, and the Energy Department a six percent cut.
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Trump Signs Pipeline Orders
President Trump signed two executive orders that will smooth the path for companies to build oil and gas pipelines and limit the tools states have to block them.The Trump administration, as part of their “Energy Dominance” initiative, has consistently sought to streamline the domestic energy production process. These two executive orders follow in that pattern.
The first order directs the EPA to reconsider a part of the Clean Water Act. “Section 401” of the Act requires any oil or gas project that could potentially contaminate waters regulated under the act to receive state-level certifications and approvals. In the past, states have occasionally denied those certifications, preventing pipelines and other infrastructure from being built. If the EPA re-evaluates this section of the act, companies would be able to sidestep the state certification process, streamlining the pathway to construction.The second order asserts that the president has the authority to issue, deny, or amend any permits for pipelines or other infrastructure projects that cross international borders. Previously, that authority lay with the secretary of state. Most notably, this decision would apply to permitting decisions concerning TransCanada Corporation’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a project that, if completed, could carry some 800,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast each day.
Epa Issues Controversial Rule On Science ‘transparency’
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a rule Tuesday that would only allow the agency to consider in its rule making scientific studies for which the underlying data are made available publicly. The science that we use is going to be transparent. Its going to be reproducible, Pruitt told reporters.
Industry and conservative groups have called for this change for some time, while some environmental groups warn that it could reduce the EPA’s ability to consider all the evidence available when making rules on tough questions like power plant emissions and the safety of everything from pesticides to consumer products.
In a letter, nearly 1,000 scientists asked Pruitt to abandon the proposal, which they said would greatly weaken EPA’s ability to comprehensively consider the scientific evidence. Much of the data that would be excluded is based on reviews of personal health information, which is often not publicly available because of privacy laws or practical challenges.
This proposal would mean throwing out the studies we rely on to protect the public, for no good reason, said Betsy Southerland, a longtime EPA scientist, in a press release from the Union of Concerned Scientists. This would have an enormous and negative impact on the EPAs ability to enforce the law and protect peoples health. Administrator Pruitt cant carry out the basic responsibilities of his job if he insists that his agency ignore the evidence.
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Executive Order Calls For Sharp Logging Increase On Public Lands
Just a day before the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, President Trump issued an executive order that called for a 30 percent increase in logging on public lands. The decision was billed as wildfire prevention, though environmental groups say it ignores the role climate change plays in starting wildfires.
Waters Of The Us Rule Revocation
What are the waters of the U.S.? President Trump issued an executive order in 2017 ordering the EPA to formally review what waters fell under the jurisdiction of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers according to the 1972 Clean Water Act. The proposed change narrowed the definition of what’s considered a federally protected river or wetland.
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Trump Donates To National Parks
The White House announces that President Trump has donated the first quarter of his salary to the National Park Service. The gift will reportedly chip away at the $100 to $230 million in deferred maintenance backlogs that the nations battlefields currently bear. Trumps 2018 budget blueprint calls for a $1.5-billion cut to the U.S. Department of the Interior, to which the National Park Service and its $3.4-billion budget belong. Among other things, the 12-percent cut would eliminate funding for unspecified National Heritage Areaslived-in, cohesive landscapes deemed by Congress to be nationally important. Several National Heritage Areas containpreservedbattlefields.
Trump Epa Poised To Scrap Clean Power Plan
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is poised to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the lynchpin of the Obama Administration’s effort to combat climate change, the New York Times reported Monday.
In a speech delivered in Hazard, Kentucky, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that he will sign a proposal on Tuesday that would eliminate the Clean Power Plan , claiming that the war on coal is over.Unveiled in 2015, the Clean Power Plan mandated that the U.S. power sector’s carbon emissions be cut by 32 percent from 2005 by 2030 , slashing the single biggest contributor to the country’s overall carbon footprint.
Utility companies and 27 states sued the EPA over the rule, arguing that because the CPP encouraged a broader shift away from coal-fired power plants, the EPA had overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act. The rule remained in legal limbo as a result.
The EPA under Trump has taken a different tack. In a leaked draft obtained by POLITICO, the cost-benefit analysis for repealing the CPP at times assumes that fine particulate matter levels below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards pose no health hazard. There is little scientific evidence to support this claim, says George Thurston, an expert on air pollutants’ health risks at the New York University School of Medicine.
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What Policies Mattered Most
During his campaign in 2016, Trump had already announced his skepticism of climate change. After he took office in 2017, his administration made . It rolled back policies that helped mitigate warming, relaxed regulations for climate polluters, approved the Keystone XL pipeline, left the Paris Agreement, and more.
In early 2017, for example, Trump told the EPA to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era policy that aimed to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. That plan would have avoided about 70 million tons of emissions by this year and over 400 million tons by 2030.
Instead, the EPA replaced the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which set no national emissions goals, allowing states to decide how to regulate emissions from power plants. The agency estimated that its rule would have resulted in only 11 million tons less CO2 in the atmosphere by 2030about a years worth of Rhode Islands emissions, based on 2017 numbers.
Similarly, the administration weakened vehicle fuel efficiency standards, finalizing rules with new, less ambitious goals in March 2020. The changes wouldnt have large impacts in the immediate future but would slow down the transition to more efficient cars and trucks. So would the administrations withdrawal of a waiver allowing California to set stricter vehicle emission standardsan action that is still being challenged in court.
Pruitt Calls For Exiting Paris Agreement
In an interview on Fox & Friends, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says that hes personally opposed to the Paris Agreement, the international pact to fight climate change negotiated in 2015. While Pruitt calls the pact a bad deal for America, the Trump administration has remained noncommittal on withdrawing from the agreement, reports the Washington Post.
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Interior To Review Greater Sage Grouse Protection
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Wednesday ordered a review of an Obama administration conservation plan to protect the greater sage grouse to determine if that plan interferes with Trump administration efforts to increase energy production on federal lands. The Obama plan was drawn up as an alternative to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to list the sage grouse for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The approach, which involved a five-year negotiation between 1,100 ranchers, environmental groups, and state and federal agencies, was hailed as an unprecedented collaboration that had reduced the threat to sage grouse habitat while avoiding a more stringent regulatory intervention that might hinder economic development. Fish and Wildlife to list the sage grouse after the collaborative conservation plan was unveiled in 2015.