One of the first actions the Trump administration took when it entered office was to crack down on the Environmental Protection Agency, starting with its social-media feeds and website.
In his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator regularly huddled with fossil fuel firms and electric utilities about how to combat federal environmental regulations and spoke to conservative political groups about what they called government “overreach,” according to thousands of pages of emails released Wednesday.
Scott Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 52-46 to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday afternoon, after a marathon all-night session in which Democrats held the floor for hours to oppose his nomination.
With a major global climate summit in Paris less than two weeks away, the Obama administration's top environmental official is saying that climate change is a major threat to US national security. "There are a variety of impacts that we're feeling from a changing climate, and we need to stop those impacts from escalating by failing to take action—one of those is instability," said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in an interview Tuesday with Climate Desk. McCarthy pointed to drought and wildfires in California as examples of climate impacts that can displace people from their homes, and she noted that many of the same things are happening in less stable parts of the world. You can watch portions of the interview above.
Over the past three years, President Obama has quietly made global warming a major focus of his second term. And just about everything he's done has had to go through Gina McCarthy. McCarthy is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has lately proposed a barrage of rules and regulations designed to curb US greenhouse gas emissions. That includes new rules on power plants. New rules on trucks. New rules on methane leaks from fracking. None of this has gone through Congress — it's all being done under authority the Supreme Court granted the EPA back in 2007.
The Supreme Court dealt President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda a major setback on Monday, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency had erred in writing its 2012 limits on mercury pollution from power plants. The decision could also alter the administration’s strategy for rolling out an even grander environmental initiative — EPA’s first-ever regulations on power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions, which had been expected later this summer. Monday’s ruling capped a session that delivered mixed signals regarding how the court will judge the inevitable challenge to that landmark climate rule.
Back in 2007, Congress passed a law that would push the United States to use more and more ethanol and other biofuels derived from plants. This is known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, and the hope was that it would help reduce America's dependency on oil. Under the law, gasoline refiners and blenders were supposed to mix 16.55 billion gallons of ethanol into the gasoline they produced by 2013 (the vast majority of this was ethanol made from corn). That amount was supposed to keep rising until it hit 36 billion gallons in 2022.
On Monday, President Obama is set to unveil details of the cornerstone of his climate plan: Limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's fleet of existing power plants. The rules are likely to be the biggest step toward the president's goal of cutting US greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020. The rules are already taking heat from the fossil fuel industry and Republicans in Congress, despite having the support of a majority of Americans. So what's all the hullabaloo about, exactly? Here's what you need to know:
On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce his most sweeping policy yet to address global warming — a new rule to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants across the United States. But wait! How can Obama do this without Congress? The trick is he'll be working through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which already has the legal authority to regulate US greenhouse gases.
It's not every day that environmentalists notch up a victory in the modern Supreme Court, but that's what happened Tuesday in a 6-2 decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to crack down on coal pollution that moves across state lines.
Wednesday is the 100th anniversary of Richard Nixon's birth. He remains a controversial figure, and not just on the political left. Last year, I was covering the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington when I came across a stall selling old political pins. Unable to resist, I bought one with a picture of Tricky Dick giving his best crocodile smile beneath the classic slogan "Nixon's The One!"