EPA

Trump Administration Officially Proposes Rolling Back Clean Car Standards

Read time: 7 mins
Trump in truck

In a long expected move, the Trump administration announced Thursday morning that it is proposing to weaken the Obama-era clean car emissions and fuel efficiency standards, and that it will seek to limit California's authority to set tougher standards.

The proposal, first reported last week, comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and suggests freezing fuel economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026, along with a number of other less-preferred options.

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.”

Ford Touts 'Green' Image While Arguing for Weaker Efficiency Standards and Planning to Sell Only Trucks

Read time: 6 mins
Mustang tailpipe

Ford Motor Company would really like the public to believe that it supports strong emissions and efficiency standards for personal vehicles. Just ask Board Chair Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Hackett, who recently wrote: “We support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback.”

However, a “rollback” is exactly what EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in his own language, has promised, and his planned rewrite of auto emissions standards has been guided almost exclusively by the input of Ford and other automakers through the powerful Alliance of Auto Manufacturers (the Auto Alliance).

Climate Science Deniers Spring to Pruitt's Defense as Ethics Concerns, Calls for Resignation Mount

Read time: 7 mins
Scott Pruitt

Calls for Trump's climate-science denying Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt to resign are mounting, as the New York Times on Thursday published a detailed look at four high-ranking EPA staffers who were forced out of their jobs after objecting to Pruitt's spending habits and management of the agency.

Inside EPA, Pruitt lost the support of many long-time Trump associates, like Kevin Chmielewski, who pushed back against Pruitt's attempt to use taxpayer money on unlimited access to a private jet at a stunning $100,000 a month and $70,000 for two desks for Pruitt and his security team, one of which was to be “bulletproof.” Chmielewski was placed on unpaid administrative leave after objecting to Pruitt's plans for that luxury spending spree on the taxpayer's dime.

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.

Bill Wehrum Once Denied California's Right to Cut Auto Emissions, and Could Do It Again at EPA

Read time: 11 mins
Bill Wehrum

More than a decade ago, Bill Wehrum, then acting assistant administrator for air and radiation at the US Environmental Protection Agency, successfully fought to deny the state of California the right to set its own standards on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

He is now back in the same position at Trump's EPA, and hoping to try once again to kill the California waiver.

EPA Considering Rule Change to Allow Teenagers to Handle Highly Toxic Chemicals

Read time: 3 mins
pesticide warning sign in park

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking aim at two rules designed to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals by workers under the age of 18. The agency has filed notices with the federal register of its intent to either tweak or outright eliminate these protections for underage workers.

Children File Suit Against Trump Administration for Ignoring Climate Dangers

Read time: 3 mins
Gavel

This week the federal government is once again being sued for its decision to ignore the growing threat of climate change. And, just like an earlier lawsuit on this issue, it is being brought by the group that stands to suffer the most from climate inaction: Children.

Two Pennsylvania youth are taking on the Trump administration for what they are calling a “reckless and deliberate indifference” to the issue of climate change. The environmental organization Clean Air Council is bringing the suit on behalf of the children in this case.

These Unsigned Comments Supporting a Gas Exports Rule Are Recycled Industry Copy-Pastes

Read time: 11 mins
Copy machine

A review of the comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on its proposed rule to fast-track the export of small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) shows that roughly two dozen of of the 89 comments were directly copy-pasted from either industry itself or else pro-industry materials written by the DOE or Congress.

Furthermore, all of those copy-pasted comments are anonymous, a hint that the oil and gas industry may be behind an astroturf-style comment-submitting campaign for this rule. Only one letter favoring the proposed rule, written by the American Petroleum Institute and the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, has the industry's name on it. Three other comments supporting the rule have actual names of individuals, a law school student, a college student, and an individual who DeSmog confirmed wrote the comment out of personal interest and for a public policy course at his university. 

Fracking Giant Cabot Sues Pennsylvania Water Contamination Victim for $5 Million

Read time: 7 mins
Ray Kemble

Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation has filed a $5 million civil lawsuit in county court against Dimock, Pennsylvania, resident Ray Kemble, who claims Cabot severely contaminated his water after drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) activity.

The company, scrutinized in the film Gasland and subject of an ongoing federal class action lawsuit since 2009, has also sued a handful of lawyers representing Kemble. Cabot’s lawsuit claims that Kemble harmed the fracking giant by attempting to “attract media attention” over pollution to his water, which the company claims breached an earlier 2012 settlement agreement as part of the ongoing federal class action lawsuit.

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