Trump’s cuts would have ‘devastating impact’ on NY, says NY Attorney General

March 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund program would have a “devastating impact” on New York State, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declared at a rally at the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn earlier this week. Joined by activists and lawmakers on Tuesday at what is widely considered to be the nation’s most polluted waterway, Schneiderman blasted the president’s calls to slash the agency’s funding by more than 30 percent, noting that the move would stymie the progress of cleaning up America’s most contaminated sites. “President Trump’s proposed budget cuts would have a devastating impact on New York—delaying and obstructing environmental projects around the state,” Schneiderman said. “Decades of hard work have helped clean up New York’s air, water, and environment. But President Trump’s budget threatens to unravel those gains and send us back to the bad old days of choking smog and rampant pollution.” Once a bustling cargo-transportation hub, the 1.8-mile-long Gowanus Canal is now a cesspool of raw sewage, carcinogenic sludge, and oil slicks. It floundered in political limbo for decades before the EPA designated the canal a Superfund site in 2010. Related: Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal gets Superfund status Dredging work was supposed to begin in earnest later this year, but Trump’s “blueprint” to bring the EPA’s budget to $5.7 billion—its lowest level in 40 years when adjusted for inflation—could grind the already glacial progress to a halt. Schneiderman says he isn’t above taking legal action against the White House, if necessary. “As we’ve made clear: if the Trump administration won’t meet its legal obligations to ensure basic access to a clean, safe, and healthy environment, we won’t hesitate to act to protect New Yorkers,” he said. + Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Via WNYC Photos by bobistraveling

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Trump’s cuts would have ‘devastating impact’ on NY, says NY Attorney General

50 Days In: How Trump Is Handling Eco Issues

March 13, 2017 by  
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With the Trump administration inspiring plenty of heated debate on a daily basis, one of the hot-button topics remains the earth. In the immediate aftermath of the election, environmentalists were worried about several issues, including climate…

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50 Days In: How Trump Is Handling Eco Issues

Trump to sign executive orders rolling back Obama’s climate protection policies

February 21, 2017 by  
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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

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Trump to sign executive orders rolling back Obama’s climate protection policies

Trump claims he received no calls about the Keystone and Dakota pipelines

February 9, 2017 by  
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In the land of alternative facts, up is down, left is right, and no one cares at all about the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. At least, that’s what Trump would have you believe. POTUS told reporters that after giving the projects the green light , he didn’t get a single complaint phone call. “I don’t even think it was controversial,” he added. “I haven’t had one call from anybody,” Trump said. ““You know, usually, if I do something it’s like bedlam, right?” And maybe he’s right, maybe he hasn’t had any calls, since the comment line at the White House was shut down on January 23. Related: Here’s every bank funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and how to switch Trump wasn’t done with mangling the facts just yet, though. He also claimed that “Nobody showed up to fight” against the pipelines initially. Protestors only showed up after the companies spent a “tremendous” amount of “hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” and then protestors showed up. Dollars that not coincidentally came out of Trump’s own pockets . https://twitter.com/ABC/status/829180971962372097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Not to worry, though. These completely uncontroversial pipelines are going to be real job creators according to Trump. Keystone will create “32,000  jobs almost immediately,” jobs that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling say will be “ongoing, enduring.” Fact checkers expect the pipeline will actually create about 3,900 two-year jobs, with just around 50 people being employed long-term . Via Grist images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump claims he received no calls about the Keystone and Dakota pipelines

Myron Ebell says Trump plans to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

February 2, 2017 by  
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Climate change denier Myron Ebell recently hinted serious changes could be made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Donald Trump administration. In a telling new interview, he said the agency could reopen a review of car fuel efficiency standards, and withdraw or change climate education information. Ebell called Trump’s campaign goal to scrap the agency an “aspirational goal”. The EPA won’t be gone tomorrow, but Ebell indicated its functions could be radically curtailed as Trump hopes to farm out many EPA roles to states instead. The agency has existed since 1970, to safeguard public health and the environment . But Trump reportedly thinks many of these duties would be better left to states. Related: Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days Speaking to The Guardian, Ebell said, “To abolish an agency requires not only thought but time because you have to decide what to do with certain functions that Congress has assigned to that agency. President Trump said during the campaign that he would like to abolish the EPA or ‘leave a little bit.’ It is a goal he has and sometimes it takes a long time to achieve goals.” The Guardian noted Ebell does not speak for Trump. However, many of his statements echo those of new White House staff, including the president. As the leader of the Trump EPA transition team, Ebell worked on a method to withdraw from the Paris agreement and ditch President Obama’s Clean Power Plan . It’s up to whomever will lead the EPA now to follow through on those ideas, but as Trump’s pick is sue-happy Scott Pruitt , it’s not far-fetched to imagine he might follow up on Ebell’s environmentally damaging dreams should he be confirmed. In the past, Ebell said two-thirds of the EPA’s 15,000 scientists, engineers, and researchers could be cut. Such a move would be ironic for Trump, who’s staked many of his actions on the impression they create jobs . Ebell described himself on his Twitter page as the “number one enemy of climate change alarmism,” and directs the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which Greenpeace once slammed for a video of theirs that claimed carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant. Via The Guardian Images via screenshot and Competitive Enterprise Institute Facebook

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Myron Ebell says Trump plans to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days

January 31, 2017 by  
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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

Rogue NASA Twitter account strikes back at Donald Trump

January 27, 2017 by  
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Yet another “rogue” Twitter account has cropped up in response to Donald Trump’s efforts to muzzle government agencies: this time, Rogue NASA is taking to social media to spread climate science. The new, unofficial account is one of a number of accounts purporting to be run by national park employees in their off hours. While the account makes clear in its bio that it’s not run by government employees, its mission is clear: to spread information about climate change in the event that Trump orders the agency to go silent.

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Rogue NASA Twitter account strikes back at Donald Trump

Trump will leave climate change info on EPA website for now

January 26, 2017 by  
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So far, Donald Trump’s ban on EPA employees speaking to the media is off to a rocky start – two of the agency’s staffers have already anonymously spoken to Reuters news agency this week to sound the alarm about the incoming President’s continuing efforts to suppress climate science. According to these EPA employees, the agency’s communications team was instructed to remove their website’s climate change page , which included data on emissions and links to global warming research. However, as soon as the news began to spread across the web, the Trump administration appeared to soften its stance . Now, rather than a purge of climate data, administration officials are framing the order as an “editorial review” of the site’s content. Doug Ericksen, the spokesman for Trump’s team in charge of the agency, told The Hill that the administration doesn’t intend to take down online climate data, and is merely “scrubbing it up a bit, putting a little freshener on it, and getting it back up to the public.” Exactly what that means and what kind of slant the administration wants to put on the data is unclear. Given Trump’s current efforts to clamp down on the EPA’s ability to communicate about government research, it’s easy to see how some might not find this explanation especially reassuring. In a separate interview with NPR , Ericksen told the outlet that EPA scientists will have their work reviewed on a “case by case” basis before any of it can be shared with the public. Related: Scientists are preparing to march on Washington Reportedly, EPA employees have been working around the clock to download everything on the agency’s website and preserve everything on physical media, just in case Trump follows through on his threats to completely wipe the data from the web. There have also been a number of independent efforts since the election to download and mirror as much federal research data as possible, to protect it from disappearing under Trump’s orders. This isn’t the administration’s first attempt to backpedal and explain away suspicious-looking orders. Back in December, Trump’s transition team sent a questionnaire to Energy Department officials, asking them to name employees and contractors who had been involved in discussions on climate change. Related: Trump bans EPA and USDA scientists from communicating with the public After Department leaders refused to name anyone, the Trump team disavowed the request , saying it was “not authorized.” Given the sheer number of attempts to suppress government employees who might speak to the public about climate change, it’s hard to imagine any of these news reports are actually innocent slip-ups or misunderstandings. If the EPA is forced to alter its website or take down climate change information completely, it won’t be the first government website to do so. On inauguration day, the official White House website was scrubbed of all climate change information within minutes of Trump taking office. Via The Washington Post Images via Pixabay , EPA.gov (screenshot)

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Trump will leave climate change info on EPA website for now

8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small

January 26, 2017 by  
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Even if you could never imagine living in a tiny house , you have to admit there’s something inspiring about them. In about 400 square feet, with some clocking in much less, these mini dwellings challenge inhabitants to think big about how to live small. We’ve rounded up 8 tiny homes , cottages, and cabins we found on Airbnb  that manage to accomplish two things: they satisfy our wanderlust and our curiosity for tiny living. From a family-friendly cottage in Norway on its own private island to an A-Frame cabin nestled in the woods of an off-grid village, there’s a range of options depending on your definition of “roughing it”. Whichever compact getaway you choose (even if it’s only to put on your wishlist for now), these retreats may encourage you to live more simply and explore the bigger picture, including the gorgeous natural surroundings.   1. “Half-Moon” Cabin in California It may be tiny, but there’s a lot to tiny living love in this off-grid cabin nestled deep in the woods of Northern California. The rustic half-moon shaped structure was hand-built as part of an off-grid village which counts chickens, dogs, and frogs, as well as a few humans hard at work, as its neighbors. Located in the Six Rivers National Forest, the cabin includes a lofted bed and a wood stove. Despite the dwelling’s high coziness factor, you probably be spending most of your days exploring the national forest beyond the cabin, hiking over mountains and streams, or perusing the organic gardens for ingredients for a meal in the shared outdoor kitchen. Just make sure you bring a flashlight-the cabin doesn’t have electricity. 2. Industrial tiny house near Seattle The owner of this tiny house is an artist, designer, and welder, who brings those sensibilities together in a sleek space located a few miles from downtown Seattle . Industrial touches such as a steel ladder leading up to the lofted bed, metal shelving in the kitchen area, and lockers for stowing your stuff are warmed up by the wood floors and bright walls. The house feels surprisingly spacious and can accommodate three people for sleeping, with a high ceiling that keeps the home from feeling cramped. It also has a bathtub with wooden planks instead of fussy claw feet. 3. Writer’s Cabin near Stockholm For travelers who want to get away from it all but still have the security blanket of a city nearby, this cozy Swedish writer’s cabin may be the answer. Located in Trolldalen (which means “Troll Valley”), about a 15 minute drive from Stockholm, this basic cabin with a cheery exterior is ideal for either holing up when those Scandinavian days are short or serving as a place to collapse after a full day’s adventure in the city. Or just explore nearby: depending on the season, there’s hiking, blueberry picking, ice skating and cross-country skiing nearby. The writer’s desk does look like the perfect place to complete the finishing touches on your own masterpiece, or simply for catching up on the works of some Swedish masters. If you find your muscles are cramping from being hunched over your laptop, head on down to the property’s sauna to melt away the tension. 4. Atlanta treehouse This trio of rooms connected by bridges is the ultimate treehouse fantasy, and we’re not the only ones who think so. It’s been featured in magazines and TV shows as well as being Airbnb’s “#1 Most Wished-For Location Worldwide”. It certainly checks off a lot of boxes: minutes from downtown Atlanta , a living room, a bedroom, and a deck, and plenty of windows for admiring the lush natural surroundings. Twinkling lights on the bridges and a hammock add to the rustic chic vibe. RELATED: 7 exotic off-grid Airbnb rental homes for adventurous travelers 5. A Norwegian cottage on its own island Because everyone should feel like the king or queen of an island at least once. Another example of Scandinavian ingenuity and tiny house charm, this waterside cottage is located in the Hvaler archipelago in Norway . The cottage can be a getaway for two or a family that doesn’t mind tight quarters: a seat in the dining doubles as a convertible bed for two and the attic can sleep up to three kids or two adults. Cottage renters also have the use of a boat ; swimmers can take advantage of the area’s safe waterways and a floating dock. A marina and several restaurants and stores are only minutes away by boat, but we doubt you’ll make it that far. Pretending you are shipwrecked or pirates is just too much fun. 6. Mushroom Dome in California Steal away for a few nights to a cottage with a geodesic dome loft and a deck that overlooks a grove of redwoods. Part-treehouse, the mushroom dome is compact, yet light-filled: even the bathroom (with self-composting toilet) has a skylight . This unique retreat tends to book up months in advance given its ideal location for stargazing. It also makes a great temporary home base for hiking or heading out to the nearby beach. Hummingbirds, goats, and chickens will anticipate your arrival. 7. California A-Frame cabin In the wise words of Emerson, “Simplify, simply.” Staying in this off-grid A-Frame cabin will certainly inspire you to minimize even if just for a night or two. There’s just enough space for a futon mattress and a candle or two to light the way at night. Located in the same village as the Half-Moon Cabin , it has a shared outdoor kitchen, wood stove sauna , and acres upon acres of surrounding natural beauty. 8. Garden Caravan The owners of this 200-square-foot Garden Caravan on wheels squeezes a lot in without creating a cramped environment. The property has RV appliances, a kitchen stocked with pots and utensils, a toilet, and a shower. Situated on the hosts’ 5-acre plot, the caravan was built by hand with plenty of recycled materials by a boat builder accustomed to making the most of tiny spaces. The tiny home is located just a few miles from Sandpoint, Idaho , so you can sip your morning coffee while watching the ducks, head into town for some shopping or to the nearby lake for a swim, and be back in time for an evening cocktail. All images via Airbnb. Lead image by Lindsay Appel

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8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small

Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline

January 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders on Tuesday to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The decision rolls back efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to impede the two projects, the latter of which was the recent subject of grueling protests by environmental and Native American activists. Signing the documents in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that he wanted to “renegotiate some of the terms” of the Keystone bill but that he would seek to “get that pipeline built.” He also issued executive actions specifying that pipelines built in the United States should be constructed using U.S. materials. Obama rejected the Keystone pipeline project in 2015, arguing that that it would undercut America’s leadership to fight climate change. As proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada, the pipeline would have moved more than 800,000 barrels of petroleum across 1,200 miles and six U.S. states, linking Canadian oil sands to refineries in the Gulf Cost. Proponents of the pipeline said that the project would create more jobs and expand energy resources. Its detractors, on the other hand, warned that the extraction of oil sands creates more planet-warming greenhouse gases than that of petroleum. “So sad that Obama rejected Keystone Pipeline,” Trump, then the GOP presidential frontrunner tweeted that November. “Thousands of jobs, good for the environment, no downside.” While Obama didn’t block the Dakota Access project, the Army Corps of Engineers denied Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners’ request for an easement in early December, before adding that it was was seeking alternative routes for the $3.7 billion pipeline in response to the vigorous backlash. Protestors, who camped for months in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, rallied against original plans to route the pipeline below Lake Oahe near Standing Rock Sioux reservation, potentially damaging drinking-water supplies and sacred sites. The section under the lake would have been the final piece of the 1,172-mile pipeline, most of which was completed by the summer of 2016. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe accused Trump of acting “hastily and irresponsibly,” saying in a statement that it would contest the move. “Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock tribe. Much has been made of Trump’s conflicts of interest, and for good reason. Through at least mid-2016, Trump owned ETP stock through, according to financial disclosure forms. ETP CEO Kelcy Warren donated $100,000 to his campaign. Plus, until recently, U.S. Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry was a member of ETP’s board.

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Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline

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