Scott Pruitt’s Shameful Ploy to Undo the Clean Power Plan

Scott Pruitt’s Shameful Ploy to Undo the Clean Power Plan

On Monday, October 9, 2017, the EPA proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Once it is published in the Federal Register tomorrow there will be a 60 day public comment period. [Update: read Pruitt’s delusional press release here.] As we have before for the proposed and final rule, Gasp will be commenting. It is not only regrettable, but also disgraceful that we are commenting again, this time against repealing one of the most critical plans to address and combat climate change.

Clearly the motto of this new administration is to repeal, repeal, repeal with no thought of replacing. Where Scott Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times prior to being in charge of the EPA, I cannot say I’m shocked at this announcement. But this is conscience-shocking.

Where September of this year was the most active month on record for Atlantic hurricanes and the 10 hottest years recorded have all occurred since 1998, climate change isn’t a distant threat, it’s here. The time to act has long passed and we certainly do not have time to roll back existing regulations.

EPA estimates the Clean Power Plan will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 childhood asthma attacks every year once it is fully implemented.

The message today? Meh, your health, your children’s health, they don’t matter. This administration would rather coyly and ignorantly pretend they’re unsure whether carbon is a pollutant. Such an absurd position is indefensible, especially when it’s well-known who has been buttering Scott Pruitt’s bread for a very long time.

This is a slap in the face to current and future generations. If you agree, please sign our petition for climate action!

TAKE ACTION

Federal Roundup: Trump’s First #100Days Edition

Federal Roundup: Trump’s First #100Days Edition

The news is a buzz this week with assessing President Trump’s first 100 days in office. NPR did a great Q&A with Cokie Roberts about this Presidential benchmark and its significance, if any. I have been doing my best to keep you all up to speed since day one of the new administration and how actions at the executive and federal level are affecting clean air and health. It has been a very busy first 100 days to track, sadly mostly not in a good way. Since I last blogged a couple of weeks ago, several new developments have cropped up and we have new updates.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

  • April 27, 2017: S.987 “100 by 50” Bill. This bill is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). This bill would phase out fossil fuels and completely replace them with clean renewable energy by 2050. The bill would put in place a comprehensive plan to ramp up renewable energy and energy efficiency, the electrification of transportation and heating, while putting a halt to the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. It also includes provisions to train workers in the transition to clean energy to encourage the deployment of clean energy in disadvantaged communities.
  • April 27, 2017: D.C. Circuit Court suspends Litigation Over MATS. On April 18, 2017 the EPA, in an email, announced its plans to file a motion to the D.C. Circuit court to ask them to delay oral arguments set for May 18, 2017 in EPA’s defense of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule. In 2015, the D.C. Circuit Court did not throw out the MATS rule and instead instructed EPA to go back and consider costs (most plants subject to MATS have either complied or retired). On April 27, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court granted EPA’s request to delay oral arguments.
  • April 28, 2017: President Trump signs Executive Order to expand offshore drilling. President Trump signed an Executive Order that calls for a “review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration.” The order directs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review a five-year plan in which President Obama banned drilling in parts of the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.
  • April 28, 2017: D.C. Circuit Court grants EPA’s request to pause litigation over Clean Power Plan. Last month, the White House requested a 60-day hold on litigation surrounding the Clean Power Plan. On April 28, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court granted that request. This pause allows the parties (EPA, 24 states and cities, environmental and industry groups) to file briefs addressing the future of the rule.

UPDATES ON PREVIOUS ACTIONS

  • Congressional Review Act put into play by U.S. Congress. The CRA allows senators and representatives who disapprove of a regulation to enter a resolution eliminating it. The resolutions require the signature of the president. So far this year, the following rules protecting the environment and human health have been targeted under the CRA:
    • The Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule. UPDATE: On February 16, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule.
    • Department of the Interior Methane Flaring Rule. The House voted on February 3, 2017 with no action so far from the Senate as of the date of this post. UPDATE: on March 21, 2017, some Republican lawmakers came out against using the CRA to repeal this rule. Specifically, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believed the rule could be subject to improvement, not just cancellation. “I think we can replace it with a better reg, rather than a CRA.”
    • Drilling and Mining on Public Lands. On January 31, 2017, the House introduced a joint resolution that would repeal the rules that allow the National Park Service to manage private drilling and mining in 40 parks across the country. UPDATE: on March 26, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the Department of the Interior to review over 20 years of national monuments under the Antiquities Act. Specifically, President Trump has asked Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to review 24 national monuments created since 1996 and to recommend ways for Congress to shrink or abolish them. The Order requires the department to make preliminary recommendations within 45 days and affects only those monuments that are not larger than 100,000 acres. Currently monuments are now closed to new oil and gas leasing and no new mining claims can be granted there. If monuments are downsized or abolished, they will no longer be protected from drilling or mining.
    • OMB Proposed Budget Cuts to EPA and NOAA. The proposed budget cuts would reduce EPA’s staff by one fifth in the first year and eliminate dozens of programs. Specifically, EPA’s staff would be slashed from 15,000 to 12,000. The proposed budget would also cut EPA’s grants to states, including air and water programs, by 30 percent and eliminate 38 separate programs in their entirety. Media outlets also discovered a four page budget memo that would slash NOAA’s budget by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs. Any such cuts would have to be codified through the congressional appropriations process. UPDATE: On April 28, 217 U.S. Congress passed a bill that would extend until May 5, 2017 the deadline for a deal on federal spending through September and head off a feared government shutdown at midnight on Friday, April 28, 2017.
    • Republicans Joint Resolution on Climate Change. A group of 17 Republican members of Congress signed a resolution vowing to seek “economically viable” ways to combat global warming. No update since last post.

Bills, Bills Bills

Bill NumberSponsorDescriptionStatus
HR 998Jason Smith, R-MOEstablishes a commission to identify obsolete and unnecessarily burdensome regulations to be repealed. It also sets goals for the commission to reduce costs by 15 percent and to prioritize major rules that are more than 15 years old and rules that can be eliminated without diminishing effectiveness.No action since the bill passed the House on 3/1/2017.
HR 1009Paul Mitchell, R-MIRequires independent agencies to submit rules to the Office of Management and Budget before they are published—essentially giving the president tight control of the rule-making processNo action since the bill passed the House on 3/1/2017.
HR 1004Tim Walberg, R-MIWould require agencies to publish more detail of forthcoming rules and regulationsNo action since the bill passed the House on 3/2/2017.
HR 637Gary Palmer, R-ALBlocks the EPA’s ability to address climate changeNo actions taken since the bill was introduced. You can read our analysis of the bill here.
HR 861Matt Gaetz, R-FLWould abolish the EPA effective December 31, 2018No actions taken since the bill was introduced.
HR 958Sam Johnson, R-TXWould leave EPA with a budget of less than $1 billion. This bill would eliminate EPA climate change programs and would also close all of the EPA’s regional offices, halt new regulations on ground-level ozone pollution and require the agency to lease unused propertyNo actions taken since the bill was introduced.
H.R. 1430Lamar Smith,

R-TX

The bill works “[t]o prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.” This bill is an attempt to revise the EPA’s scientific review process that guides their rulemaking.No action since bill passed the House on 3/29/2017
H.R. 4775Pete Olson,This bill aims to update to the national ozone standards, with various provisions that would change the way the Environmental Protection Agency reviews standards for particulate matter, lead and other air pollutants.No action since it was introduced. You can read our blog post from last year when this bill was introduced and failed.
H.R. 1731Hal Rogers,

R-KY

This is a bipartisan bill called the RECLAIM Act that would release $1 billion to create economic development opportunities in coal communities affected by the energy industry’s transition away from dirty fossil fuels.No action since the bill was introduced.

 

We are keeping our ear to the ground on any and all developments that could affect clean air and health in Alabama. Be on the look out for regular updates from us about legislative and executive actions that could threaten your health and environment. We will also always provide ways for you to act on any development, whether it’s positive or negative.

Federal Roundup: Recent Executive and Legislative Actions

Federal Roundup: Recent Executive and Legislative Actions

It’s been a few weeks since I updated everyone on executive and legislative actions. Sadly, this is not because there has been nothing to update; so this will be a long one! However, one reason this update is delayed is because I attended an inspiring conference two weeks ago that replenished my “hope budget” and gave me new energy to tackle the many and ever-growing attacks on clean air. Since I blogged last month, several new developments have cropped up and we have new updates:

New Developments

  • March 6, 2017: White House Announces Plan to “Close Out” Energy Star program: A spending blueprint would slash Energy Star and related programs, leaving $5 million “for the closeout or transfer of all the climate protection voluntary partnership programs.” According to our friends at ACEEE, Energy Star spend about $50 million through EPA and $7 million through the Department of Energy. According to the Obama administration, the Energy Star program saved consumers $34 billion in electricity costs and prevented more than 300 million metric tons of GHGs in one year while improving ambient air quality.
  • March 8: The HONEST Act (H.R. 1430): This proposed bill is sponsored by Lamar Smith, R-TX. The bill works “[t]o prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.” This bill is an attempt to revise the EPA’s scientific review process that guides their rulemaking. The bill was introduced on March 8, 2017 and passed by recorded vote in the House (228 – 194) on March 29, 2017.
  • March 13: Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch: President Trump signed this Executive Order, where the stated purpose is “intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.”
  • March 15: Republicans Joint Resolution on Climate Change: A group of 17 Republican members of Congress signed a resolution vowing to seek “economically viable” ways to combat global warming. It pledges to “study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates” and seek ways to “balance human activities” that contribute.
  • March 17: Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4775). This proposed bill, sponsored by Pete Olson, R-TX, was reintroduced and aims to update to the national ozone standards, with various provisions that would change the way the Environmental Protection Agency reviews standards for particulate matter, lead and other air pollutants. The same bill failed last year and we blogged about its potential disastrous effects on air quality and public health.
  • March 21: President Trump is Not Considering a Carbon Tax: despite a meeting between Republican elder statesmen and Trump Administration officials, President Trump announced he is not considering a carbon tax.
  • March 28: Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth: President Trump signed this Executive Order. The goal is to halt the United States’ government’s attempts to curb carbon dioxide emissions with the goal of encouraging American business. We borrowed the words of our friends at NAACP on this day to express our extreme disappointment with this negligent and potentially disastrous change in course for addressing the impacts of climate change.
  • April 5: Congressional hearing on the RECLAIM Act of 2017 (H.R. 1731): At the hearing, ranking member Alan Lowenthal, D-CA, stated “[t]he idea behind the RECLAIM Act is to take part of the large unexpended balance in the [AML Fund] and devote it to projects where cleaning up mines leads to economic and community benefits. This is, quite frankly, a win-win.” There was testimony from the bill’s lead sponsor, Hal Rogers, R-KY, and three witnesses. The hearing itself was a major milestone for the RECLAIM Act.

FOLLOW UP ON ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY COVERED

  • Congressional Review Act put into play by U.S. Congress: The CRA allows senators and representatives who disapprove of a regulation to enter a resolution eliminating it. The resolutions require the signature of the president. So far this year, the following rules protecting the environment and human health have been targeted under the CRA:
  1. The Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule: Update: On February 16, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule.
  2. Department of the Interior Methane Flaring Rule: The House voted on February 3, 2017 with no action so far from the Senate as of the date of this post. Update: on March 21, 2017, some Republican lawmakers came out against using the CRA to repeal this rule. Specifically, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believed the rule could be subject to improvement, not just cancellation. “I think we can replace it with a better reg, rather than a CRA.”
  3. Drilling and Mining on Public Lands: On January 31, 2017, the House introduced a joint resolution that would repeal the rules that allow the National Park Service to manage private drilling and mining in 40 parks across the country.

Status of Bills in U.S. Congress covered in previous posts:

Bill NumberSponsorDescriptionStatus
HR 998Jason Smith, R-MOEstablishes a commission to identify obsolete and unnecessarily burdensome regulations to be repealed. It also sets goals for the commission to reduce costs by 15 percent and to prioritize major rules that are more than 15 years old and rules that can be eliminated without diminishing effectiveness.No action since the bill passed the House on 3/1/2017.
HR 1009Paul Mitchell, R-MIRequires independent agencies to submit rules to the Office of Management and Budget before they are published—essentially giving the president tight control of the rule-making processNo action since the bill passed the House on 3/1/2017.
HR 1004Tim Walberg, R-MIWould require agencies to publish more detail of forthcoming rules and regulationsNo action since the bill passed the House on 3/2/2017.
HR 637Gary Palmer, R-ALBlocks the EPA’s ability to address climate changeNo actions taken since the bill was introduced. You can read our analysis of the bill here.
HR 861Matt Gaetz, R-FLWould abolish the EPA effective December 31, 2018No actions taken since the bill was introduced.
HR 958Sam Johnson, R-TXWould leave EPA with a budget of less than $1 billion. This bill would eliminate EPA climate change programs and would also close all of the EPA’s regional offices, halt new regulations on ground-level ozone pollution and require the agency to lease unused propertyNo actions taken since the bill was introduced.
  • February 21, 2017: Letter sent from automobile manufacturers to Scott Pruitt asking him to relax emissions requirements: The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sent a letter to Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator) asking him to withdraw the Final Determination on Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards under the Midterm Evaluation. Update: on March 15, 2017, President Trump announced plans to re-examine the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, taking a step back from Obama-era environmental regulations.
  • OMB Proposed Budget Cuts to EPA and NOAA: The proposed budget cuts would reduce EPA’s staff by one fifth in the first year and eliminate dozens of programs. Specifically, EPA’s staff would be slashed from 15,000 to 12,000. The proposed budget would also cut EPA’s grants to states, including air and water programs, by 30 percent and eliminate 38 separate programs in their entirety. Media outlets also discovered a four page budget memo that would slash NOAA’s budget by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs. Any such cuts would have to be codified through the congressional appropriations process. Update: U.S. Congress is currently in recess for the Easter holiday but are expected to consider OMB’s budget proposal upon their return.

Make sure you’re signed up to receive our e-newsletters. We send updates and action alerts about issues that could threaten air quality, public health, and the environment. We will also always provide ways for you to act on any development, whether it’s positive or negative.

Federal Roundup for March 6

Federal Roundup for March 6

Wondering what’s been going on since I blogged about the most recent updates two weeks ago? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This is the latest installment in our series on federal executive and legislative actions. Several new developments have cropped up and we have new updates.

New Developments

January 30

Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (E.O. 13771)

President Trump signed this Executive Order that aims to offset the number and cost of new regulations. It says, “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination.” Many have pointed out that this provision in particular is, at best, arbitrary. As Jody Freeman, a professor of environmental law at Harvard Law School, points out, “Most major public health, consumer protection, workplace safety and other rules do cost money, but they also produce enormous social benefits which dramatically outweigh their costs” — citing the Clean Air Act as one such example. We will be keeping an eye on how this executive order is interpreted by federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.

February 21

Automakers ask Scott Pruitt to relax emissions requirements

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sent a letter to Scott Pruitt February 21, 2017 asking him to withdraw the EPA’s new fuel-efficiency standards for future cars and light trucks. It would require 2022 to 2025 model cars and light-trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. (See also: Final Determination on Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards under the Midterm Evaluation.) The Washington Post is reporting that the EPA is poised to make this concession to the car companies.

February 24

EPA delays delays mining site cleanup rule after industry objects

On December 1, EPA proposed a rule that would require hardrock mining companies to prove that they have the financial wherewithal to clean up polluted mining sites (See also: Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA § 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry.) After pushback from industry groups, EPA Administrator Pruitt directed his staff to delay consideration of this proposed rule for four months in order to gather more public comments. The rule is helps to make sure companies don’t simply abandon mines without paying their share of cleanup costs.

Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda (E.O. 13777)

On February 24, President Trump signed this Executive Order, establishing new procedures and timelines by which most federal administrative agencies must conduct their regulatory planning and review. This action essentially lays out to federal agencies how to enforce E.O. 137771 (mentioned above).

February 28

Rules for ozone, gas and nuclear published in the Federal Register

The Food and Drug Administration moved forward with new rules for ozone-depleting substances, despite President Trump’s freeze on regulations. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also moved forward with guidelines for gasoline companies preparing environmental reports. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also published new guidelines for nuclear power plants.

March 1

SCRUB Act (H.R. 998) passes U.S. House

Sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), SCRUB Act establishes a commission to identify obsolete and unnecessarily burdensome regulations to be repealed. It also sets goals for the commission to reduce costs by 15 percent and to prioritize major rules that are more than 15 years old and rules that can be eliminated without diminishing effectiveness. It passed in the House by a vote of 240-185.

OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act (H.R.1009) passes U.S. House

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI), requires independent agencies to submit rules to the Office of Management and Budget before they are published — essentially giving the president tight control of the rule-making process. It passed in the House by a vote of 241-184.

OMB suggests deep cuts to EPA’s budget

The Office of Management and Budget proposed budget cuts that would reduce EPA’s staff by one fifth in the first year and eliminate dozens of programs. Specifically, EPA’s staff would be slashed from 15,000 to 12,000. The proposed budget would also cut EPA’s grants to states, including air and water programs, by 30 percent and eliminate 38 separate programs in their entirety. Programs that could face elimination are those designated for zero funding including grants to clean up brownfields sites, environmental justice programs and climate change initiatives. Any such cuts would have to be codified through the congressional appropriations process.

Take Action

March 2, 2017

Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 1004) passes U.S. House

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), would require agencies to publish more detail of forthcoming rules and regulations. It passed in the House by a vote of 246-176.

Updates

Congressional Review Act put into play by U.S. Congress

The CRA allows senators and representatives who disapprove of a regulation to enter a resolution eliminating it. The resolutions require the signature of the president. So far this year, the following rules protecting the environment and human health have been targeted under the CRA:

  1. The Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule: On February 16, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule.
  2. Department of the Interior Methane Flaring Rule: The House voted on February 3, 2017 with no action so far from the Senate as of the date of this post.
  3. Drilling and Mining on Public Lands: On January 31, 2017, the House introduced a joint resolution that would repeal the rules that allow the National Park Service to manage private drilling and mining in 40 parks across the country.

Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017 (H.R. 637)

This is a proposed bill (Gary Palmer, R-AL) that blocks the EPA’s ability to address climate change. Update: There has been no congressional action since the bill was introduced. No actions taken since the bill was introduced. However, Gasp gathered more than 250 signatures on a petition opposing the bill. We sent a letter and a list of constituents to Rep. Palmer’s Birmingham and D.C. offices via certified mail last Friday (March 3) asking him to withdraw the bill. You can read our complete analysis of the bill here.

Bill to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (H.R. 861)

Matt Gaetz (R-FL, 1st District) introduced a bill that would abolish the EPA effective December 31, 2018. Thankfully, no action has been taken since the bill was introduced.

Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act (H.R. 958)

Sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), this bill would leave EPA with a budget of less than $1 billion. It would eliminate EPA climate change programs and would also close all of the EPA’s regional offices, halt new regulations on ground-level ozone pollution and require the agency to lease unused property. No actions taken since the bill was introduced.


We’re keeping our ear to the ground on any and all developments that could affect clean air and health in Alabama. Be on the look out for regular updates from us about legislative and executive actions that could threaten your health and environment. We will also always provide ways for you to act on any development, whether it’s positive or negative.

Finally, because these updates can somewhat feel dreary, this felt like a good time to take a music break. Here’s Amos Lee singing “What’s Been Going On” (a callback to the intro to this blog post) alongside Pete Townshend, the legendary guitarist for The Who.

Federal Roundup for February 17, 2017

Federal Roundup for February 17, 2017

As promised, we are continuing a series to keep you updated about executive and legislative actions in this new administration. I blogged about the most recent updates last week, and we are still encouraging you to oppose Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. Several new developments have cropped up and we have updates from last week:

New Developments

February 7: Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act (H.R.958)

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act on Thursday, saying it would save $7.5 billion annually. That would leave the agency with a budget of less than $1 billion. This bill would eliminate EPA climate change programs and would also close all of the EPA’s regional offices, halt new regulations on ground-level ozone pollution and require the agency to lease unused property. As of the date of this post, no further action has been taken on this bill.

February 9: Donald Trump added as a defendant in children’s’ climate case

The case is Juliana v. United States, and began in August of 2015. The case argues that the federal government, in its actions, has endangered future generations’ rights to what is known as the public trust . The public trust is an old legal doctrine that holds that it is the government’s responsibility to preserve certain natural resources for public use. The Youth plaintiffs in the federal case filed notice with the court that they were replacing former President Barack Obama with President Trump.

February 15: Senate hearings on “modernizing” the Endangered Species Act

John Barrassoo (R-Wyo.) led a two-hour meeting of the Environment and Public Works Committee to ““eliminate[e] a lot of the red tape and the bureaucratic burdens that have been impacting our ability to create jobs,” under the Endangered Species Act. There was no discussion on the committee about the stability of species that were listed and recovered as a result of the act, and also no discussion of continued human expansion into the habitats of hundreds of species as their numbers dwindle.

February 16: Senate committee votes to advance Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

In a 54-46 vote, the Senate advanced Scott Pruitt’s Nomination to head the EPA. A final vote could occur as early as Friday (tomorrow). We are urging our supporters to make their voices heard immediately. Scott Pruitt is an offensive choice to lead the EPA.

TAKE ACTION

February 16: Senators’ ask Scott Pruitt to recuse himself

On February 16, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt asking him to recuse himself from participating in any matter related to litigation that he pursued against the EPA as Oklahoma Attorney General. Markey was joined by 29 other Senators in this letter. In the letter, the senators specifically call on Mr. Pruitt to recuse himself from decisions on how the EPA will defend itself against the lawsuits he brought for as long as those cases are active. They also call on Mr. Pruitt to recuse himself from any actions the EPA may make as a result of court action on litigation from which he is recused, as well as recuse himself from directing the revision or elimination of any regulation regarding issues on which he has sued the EPA. During his testimony at his confirmation hearing and in follow-up questions for the record, Mr. Pruitt refused to recuse himself from any of these matters.

Updates

Congressional Review Act put into play by U.S. Congress

The CRA allows senators and representatives who disapprove of a regulation to enter a resolution eliminating it. The resolutions require the signature of the president. So far this year, the following rules protecting the environment and human health have been targeted under the CRA:

  1. The Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule. This regulation restricted coal companies from dumping waste, such as mining debris, into streams. Unfortunately, President Trump signed the resolution repealing this rule today.
  2. Department of the Interior Methane Flaring Rule. The House voted on February 3 with no action so far from the Senate as of the date of this post.
  3. Drilling and Mining on Public Lands: On January 31, the House introduced a joint resolution that would repeal the rules that allow the National Park Service to manage private drilling and mining in 40 parks across the country.
  4. Cardin-Lugar amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act: The rule, implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, was mandated in 2010 by the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, better known as Dodd-Frank. After a court battle, the SEC introduced it last year in June. It requires public companies that extract oil, natural gas or minerals abroad to disclose in an annual report any payments made to a foreign government or the U.S. federal government. Companies were not required to comply with the rule until their first fiscal year ending on or after Sept. 30, 2018. On February 14, President Trump signed a resolution to repeal this rule.

January 24: Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017 (H.R. 637)

This is a proposed bill (Gary Palmer, R-AL) that blocks the EPA’s ability to address climate change. There has been no action since the bill was introduced. Gary Palmer is hosting a town hall in Birmingham, Ala., on February 25 at 9 a.m. at Hoover City Hall. We are collecting petition signatures opposing this ridiculous piece of legislation. Please click the button below to add your name. We will deliver these to Mr. Palmer’s staff at the town hall meeting on your behalf.

SIGN ON

February 3: Bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (H.R. 861)

Matt Gaetz (R-FL, 1st District) introduced a bill that would abolish the EPA effective December 31, 2018. No actions taken since the bill was introduced.


We are keeping our ear to the ground on any and all developments that could affect clean air and health in Alabama. Be on the look out for regular updates from us about legislative and executive actions that could threaten your health and environment. We will also always provide ways for you to act on any development, whether it’s positive or negative.

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