The environment could be the next victim of President Donald Trump’s executive orders. The Washington Post reported that according to individuals briefed on the measure, Trump is seeking to curtail some of President Barack Obama’s policies on water pollution , coal and the environment through upcoming executive orders . Signing such orders would signal the Trump administration will work to champion the fossil fuel industry , regardless of the economic growth the country could see through renewable energy . According to The Washington Post, people familiar with the proposals who asked to remain anonymous said Trump is currently preparing executive orders and could announce them later this week. The orders largely target rules put in place under Obama to protect the environment. It could take a while to actually implement the orders, but they would serve as a reminder the Trump administration is dead set on promoting fossil fuels. Related: Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days One order could direct the Environmental Protection Agency to start rewriting a 2015 regulation limiting greenhouse gas emissions of electric utilities. Under the same order the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management could rescind a freeze on federal coal leasing. Another order could change the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which provides authority for the federal government over rivers, wetlands, and streams that feed into large water bodies. The rule impacts some development that could pollute the smaller waterways. Trump has said such regulations aiming to safeguard the environment hurt economic growth. He’s condemned rules put in place to reduce the use of fossil fuels as an attack on the coal industry. While the president’s moves could face legal battles, the lifting of the coal leasing freeze could take effect immediately. Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and U.S. Department of the Interior on Flickr
In a major loss for the planet, the US Senate confirmed climate denier Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency that Pruitt has sued numerous times and has promised to render toothless . With no irony at all, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated about Pruitt: “He’s exceptionally qualified. He’s dedicated to environmental protection.” Unfortunately, that’s anything but true. Pruitt calls himself “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and true to his word, he has worked hard to allow mercury pollution into the environment and coal plants to poison the planet, and has attempted to stop the efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay. He recently called climate change ” a religious belief ” and has worked to undermine efforts to stop climate change. “Scott Pruitt is the most unqualified and dangerous nominee in the history of the EPA, and the Senators who voted to confirm him have betrayed the American people,” said Tom Seyer of NextGen Climate . According to the Sierra Club , “Pruitt has a long record of ignoring science, assaulting public health safeguards, and holding the agency he now leads in contempt. His confirmation is an environmental and public health disaster.” Related: EPA workers openly fight against potential Pruitt confirmation Thousands of activists have fought to delay Pruitt’s confirmation after a judge ruled that the Oklahoma attorney general office must turn over thousands of emails linking Pruitt to oil and gas companies. Despite their efforts, Pruitt was confirmed along a party-line vote. “Scott Pruitt is a dangerous and cynical choice to head the EPA. He’s a wholly-owned representative of polluters and Audubon will be vigilant as Pruitt sets out to dismantle the agency he heads,” said David Yarnold, Audubon’?s president and CEO. Via CNN images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )
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Scott Pruitt confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency
Given the ringing success of the SDGs and Paris Agreement, don’t be surprised that the nationalist right is rising up now.
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Why progressive sustainability ultimately will win
Agriculture contributes to a quarter of the climate crisis. Here is how to replenish the soil, nature’s regenerative capital.
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More banks are increasingly seeing climate change as a financial risk, but, according to a recent report, few are disclosing these risks.
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A new Carbon Tracker Initiative study finds that renewable energy is more cost-effective than fossil fuels. Why isn’t the public catching on?
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Comments Off on Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days
For months President Donald Trump has blustered about yanking the United States out of the Paris climate agreement ; now Myron Ebell , who led the Environmental Protection Agency transition team, said the new president could pull America out of the historic, hard-fought deal within days. Ebell, a climate change denier, said he expects Trump will be “very assiduous in keeping his promises, despite all of the flack he is going to get from his opponents.” Speaking at a London briefing, Ebell said Trump could pull out of the Paris agreement “by executive order tomorrow, or he could wait and do it as part of a larger package. There are multiple ways and I have no idea of the timing.” He also claimed the United States will “clearly change its course on climate policy ” and that Trump is “pretty clear that the problem or the crisis has been overblown and overstated.” Related: Majority of Americans support Paris climate deal as Trump reconsiders pulling out Two weeks after his election, Trump indicated he had an “open mind” about the Paris agreement. He also said there was “some connectivity” when asked about the relationship between climate change and humans. But he hasn’t yet come out in support of the Paris agreement, or taken a stronger stance on climate change. The president’s Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson said America might be better off staying in the agreement at his confirmation hearing: “I think it’s 190 countries have signed on. We’re better served by being at that table than by leaving that table.” Will Trump listen to his cabinet pick? Ebell doesn’t seem to think so. He said of Trump, “His mandate is pretty clear, and he knows who he got it from. If Rex Tillerson disagrees with the President, who is going to win that debate? Well I don’t know but the President was elected and Rex Tillerson was appointed by the President, so I would guess that the President would be the odds-on favorite to win any disagreement over climate policy.” Via The Independent Images via Jim Mattis on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )
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Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days
Comments Off on Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of
Scott Pruitt should send a shiver down your spine, even if your idea of environmentalism is reusing the same cup for your soda refill. At his confirmation hearing for head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a week and a half ago, Pruitt was unable to name even a single EPA regulation he supported. It showed a breathtaking, if perhaps unsurprising, amount of contempt for not only one of the nation’s most vital offices but also the very post he aspires to hold. During his tenure attorney general of oil- and gas-fueled Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the agency 14 times for anti-pollution regulations that he said were “inconsistent with its constitutional and statutory authority.” Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group , said that Pruitt could be the “most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.” When Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee asked Pruitt to name “one Clean Air Act regulation—not a voluntary or grant program—on the books today” that he approved of, Pruitt hedged. “I firmly believe that the EPA plays an important role, especially as it relates to cross-state air and water pollution, but EPA must do so within the bounds of its legal authority as provided by Congress,” he said. “Regulations that are not on solid legal foundation and that cannot survive judicial review will not result in environmental protections.” While Pruitt disagreed with President Donald Trump’s assertion that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government, he stopped short of declaring that human activity was to blame. “I do not believe that climate change is a hoax,” Pruitt told Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) at the hearing. Later, when pressed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to explain his position, Pruitt demurred by calling the issue “subject to continuing debate and dialogue.” In response to a query about whether “removing lead from gasoline was an important and successful EPA rulemaking,” Pruitt tersely said that he had “not evaluated this issue.” Lead cast a particularly large shadow at the hearing. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) asked Pruitt if he believed there was any safe level of lead in the human body, particularly for children and adolescents. “That’s something I have not reviewed nor know about,” Pruitt replied. “I would be very concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or obviously human consumption, but I’ve not looked at the scientific research on that.” Related: Trump’s EPA pick put industries before federal environmental policies According to EPA there is “no safe level of exposure to lead,” although an extremely small amount is allowed in pipes and plumbing fixtures. Equally alarming, Pruitt dodged senators’ questions about his ties with energy companies and other potential conflicts of interest by directing them to file open-records requests not once but 18 times. “Pruitt’s directive to senators to file Oklahoma open records requests is the political equivalent of saying ‘go pound sand,'” John Walke, Clean Air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council , said on Thursday. Suffice to say, none of this went down well with the committee. In a follow-up letter , Sanders, Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) took Pruitt to task for what they dubbed his “troubling evasions.” In addition to calling out Pruitt’s murky public reporting of any political and legal conflicts of interest he may have as EPA administrator, not to mention his history of undermining environmental protections, the senators also condemned his “erroneous statements concerning well-established science.” “You did not know there is a safe level of lead in the human body,” they said. “You refused to repudiate statements you made that question the health impacts of mercury pollution. You refused to acknowledge that carbon pollution from human activities is widely recognized as the largest drive of climate change. These statements raise significant questions about whether instead of embracing science, you will be embracing ‘alternative facts.'” Perhaps most tellingly of all, Charles and David Koch , a.k.a. the Koch Brothers , are backing Pruitt’s power grab. Prognosis? Good for polluters, bad for everyone else.
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Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of