US Environmental Protection Agency

Colorado Adopts California Clean Car Standards in Defiance of Trump Admin

Read time: 5 mins
Colorado truck license plate

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that his state would join 13 states and the District of Columbia in adopting California’s clean car emissions standards.

Colorado has a choice,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado. Low emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

Scott Pruitt's Approach to Pollution Control Will Make the Air Dirtier and Americans Less Healthy

Read time: 6 mins
Pruitt
By Robert Percival, University of Maryland

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethical lapses and extravagant spending habits have distracted the public from what he is doing to roll back important environmental protections.

Pruitt, Auto Industry, and Climate Deniers Retreat Behind Closed Doors to Weaken Fuel Efficiency Targets

Read time: 7 mins
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announcing rollback of Obama fuel efficiency standards

On Tuesday, April 3, surrounded by representatives of the auto industry and conservative climate deniers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt formally announced his decision to rewrite greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light duty trucks, undercutting one of the Obama administration’s most effective climate programs.

From the last-minute, controversial venue change to the hypocritical messaging of its attendees, the announcement reflected the new normal in Trump's Washington: the placement of industry influence and climate science denial front and center.

Why EPA’s U-turn on Auto Efficiency Rules Gives China the Upper Hand

Read time: 6 mins
Mustang tailpipe close-up
By Greg Dotson, University of Oregon

The Trump administration on Monday, April 2, took steps to ease pollution and efficiency rules for new passenger cars and trucks, giving automakers a reprieve from more stringent Obama-era standards. But in the process, the move could yield global leadership in the auto sector to the Chinese.

Auto Alliance Pushed Climate Denial to Get Trump Admin to Abandon Obama Fuel Efficiency Standards

Read time: 9 mins
Car getting refueled at the gas pump

The Trump administration officially announced Monday that it will scrap fuel economy and emissions targets for cars and light-duty trucks sold in the United States and set new weaker standards, effectively undermining one of the federal government’s most effective policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times anticipated late last week, the two agencies responsible for auto standards — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — both claimed that their internal reviews have found the Obama-era standards to be too strict, and that the agencies would go back to the drawing board to revise standards for model years 2022-2025. 

The weaker standards, expected to be revealed in coming months and reported to be well below the current targets of 54.5 miles per gallon (or roughly 35 miles per gallon in real-world driving conditions), will be celebrated as a victory for the automakers, which have been lobbying the Trump administration since the day after the presidential election and which used a major trade group to peddle climate science denial in support of the rollback.

From Scandals to Secrecy, the Curious Similarities Between Trump’s and Reagan’s EPA

Read time: 8 mins
EPA chief Scott Pruitt

The Environmental Protection Agency's chief, a science skeptic with a taste for luxury goods, entered office hellbent on slashing government red tape — but slowly became embroiled in scandal over alleged mishandling of government funds amid extraordinary efforts to keep the activities of a public agency secret.

Not Scott Pruitt, the Trump administration's current EPA chief: Anne Gorsuch Burford, who ran the EPA under Reagan from 1981 to 1983, and resigned after being cited for contempt of Congress following a scandal involving document shredding, secrecy, and the Superfund.

A year into Pruitt's tenure at EPA, some of the parallels between the two are striking.

In Trump's First Year, EPA Is Fining Polluters 49 Percent Less

Read time: 5 mins
Donald Trump with Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke

The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen a measurable difference in the way the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been holding polluters accountable compared to the past 25 years. Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA has collected, on average, 49 percent less in civil penalties against violators of federal environmental laws than in the first year of the previous three administrations, according to a new report from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project.

President Trump’s dismantling of the EPA means violators are less likely to be caught, making illegal pollution cheaper,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former director of EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement. “The president’s ‘law and order’ agenda apparently wasn’t intended for fossil fuel companies and other big polluters.”

Energy CEO Says Fracking Build-out in New York Not Over, Wants Regulators to 'Lay Down and Approve Every Pipeline'

Read time: 9 mins
Crestwood natural gas compressor sign in Seneca Lake, New York

At a pipeline industry conference in Pittsburgh on January 31, Robert G. Phillips, CEO and President of Crestwood Equity Partners, offered an unusually candid perspective on pipelines, fracking, environmental regulations, and how industry plans to fight back against public opposition and permitting problems.

This past May, Crestwood announced that it was halting plans for a natural gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes region of New York following a three-year civil disobedience campaign by grassroots activists and environmentalists who feared contamination of Seneca Lake, which supplies drinking water to roughly 100,000 New Yorkers. But as Phillips told the conference, the company isn't backing off for good.

“Now, this is hand-to-hand combat in this region,” Phillips told the crowd of oil and gas company representatives at the pipeline conference, dubbed Marcellus Midstream 2018.

Fines Against Polluters Drop Sharply Under Trump EPA

Read time: 2 mins
Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Mike Pence

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPAannounced Thursday its annual enforcement and compliance report that boasted $1.6 billion in administrative and civil judicial fines against polluters.

“A strong enforcement program is essential to achieving positive health and environmental outcomes,” Susan Bodine, head of the agency's enforcement division said in a statement.

However, analyses show that the penalties against polluters are significantly lower under President Trump's EPA. According to The Hill, that $1.6 billion figure is roughly a fifth of the $5.7 billion in penalties collected the year before under President Obama's EPA.

Multiple Industry-Funded Nominations to EPA's Clean Air Advisory Committee

Read time: 4 mins
Clean air signs at a rally outside EPA's DC offices

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Back in March, and then again in May, we flagged efforts by Pruitt and the GOP to bend the knee to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries and grant pro-pollution voices even more of a say on science advisory panels. One such panel is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which according to its website, “provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on the technical bases for EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”

The nominations for new members of the CASAC are in, and while most of the names look like solid scientists (.pdf list here), there are a few with affiliations and funding that might raise some eyebrows. (Fortunately, the public comment period is open, so interested persons have until September 18th to email their concerns to Mr. Aaron Yeow, designated federal officer, at [email protected].)

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