Trump Administration

When Corporations Take Credit for Green Deeds, Their Lobbying May Tell Another Story

Read time: 6 mins
Scott Pruitt meeting with auto industry leaders

By Tom Lyon, University of Michigan and Magali (Maggie) Delmas, University of California, Los Angeles

Today most large companies like Exxon Mobil, Ford and GM issue slick reports extolling their efforts to conserve resources, use renewable energy or fund clean water supplies in developing countries. This emphasis on efforts to curb environmental harm while benefiting society is called corporate sustainability.

Once uncommon but now mainstream, this show of support for a greener and kinder business model might seem like a clear step forward. But many of these same companies are quietly using their political clout, often through industry trade associations, to block or reverse policies that would make the economy more sustainable. And because public policy raises the bar for entire industries, requiring that all businesses meet minimum standards, lobbying to block sound public policies can outweigh the positive impact from internal company initiatives.

Big Oil’s 'Explore Offshore' Propaganda Is Corporate Ventriloquism

Read time: 4 mins
Offshore oil rig

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

A couple of weeks ago, Reuters reported on a new effort by the American Petroleum Institute: Explore Offshore. Its goal is “to convince Hispanic and black communities to support the Trump administration’s proposed expansion of offshore drilling.”

Per Reuters, a key part of the American Petroleum Institute's (API) effort to convince minority communities to support a product that disproportionately hurts them is through a series of op-eds. Media Matters took a look at the pieces that have been published so far, and surprise! They’re misleading. They can’t even get the API talking points (which are going to be biased) right, as one API stat about economic benefits of drilling was exaggerated “by a factor of 20.”

3 Reasons the Deadly Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Disaster Could Happen Again

Read time: 10 mins
Oil trains burning in Lac-Megantic, Quebec

In the five years since the oil train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, claimed 47 lives, the world has learned much about the risks that hauling oil by rail poses. One of the clearest lessons is how little has been done to address those risks, which means that deadly event could easily happen again.

What Next for the EPA? Here's What Reagan Did

Read time: 6 mins
Rep. Dan Kildee speaking at an EPA protest in DC
By Seema Kakade and Robert Percival, University of Maryland

Scott Pruitt’s resignation as EPA administrator caught many by surprise because President Donald Trump had repeatedly supported Pruitt’s efforts to dismantle environmental protections and the agency itself. But it is not without historical precedent.

During the first two years of President Ronald Reagan’s administration, both EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch and Interior Secretary James Watt were forced out due to scandals. The question now is who should replace Pruitt.

10 Scandals That Ultimately Booted Pruitt

Read time: 5 mins
EPA chief Scott Pruitt at CPAC 2018

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

When Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt resigned his position Thursday, he explained in a letter to President Donald Trump that he was stepping down because “the unrelenting attacks on [him] personally, [and his] family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizeable toll on all of [them].”

What he didn't mention was that he is also subject to more than a dozen federal ethics investigations, due to an “unprecedented” list of scandals that came to light during his nearly 17 months in office. All investigations will continue despite his departure, The New York Times reported Thursday.

No one knows which, if any, of these scandals finally persuaded Pruitt to call it quits, but, as America bids Pruitt goodbye, here is a look back at 10 of his most corrupt actions.

Could Proposed Mission Statement Changes Shake NOAA’s Climate Focus?

Read time: 3 mins
Cyclone satellite image over central U.S.

By Olivia Rosane, Ecowatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is the foremost U.S. agency focusing on weather, climate and oceans, reassured reporters Monday that it would not shift its focus away from climate change and conservation after a presentation last week suggested it might do exactly that, USA Today reported.

Last week, acting NOAA head Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet spoke at a Department of Commerce summit and proposed removing “climate” from NOAA's current mission statement and replacing its directive “to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources” with one “To protect lives and property, empower the economy, and support homeland and national security,” the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCSreported Sunday.

The Latest on Pruitt's Many Scandals: Condo Deal, Emails, Hurricane Coins, and Retaliatory Firing Practices

Read time: 4 mins
Scott Pruitt

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

It’s been 15 years since George W. Bush stood under a “Mission Accomplished” banner announcing the end to major combat operations in Iraq and becoming a symbol of an out-of-touch politician eager to end an ongoing issue that continues to cost lives. Apparently, Scott Pruitt wants to take political pointers from this historic gaffe.

Back in March, the EPA ordered a bunch of commemorative challenge coins to celebrate the agency’s response to last year’s hurricanes. EPA brass thought it would be a good idea to do this at a time when the agency was only just beginning to get a handle on the Harvey-flooded Houston Superfund site (that the press office attacked an AP reporter for covering) — and, of course, while places in Puerto Rico continued to suffer without power. Unsurprisingly, and like the news about the tragedy itself, this story has gotten overlooked by all the other Pruitt scandals. 

Methane Leaks from Oil and Gas 60% Higher Than EPA Estimates, New Study Finds

Read time: 6 mins
Emissions from oil and gas infrastructure

Each year, oil and gas industry operations in the U.S. are leaking roughly 60 percent more methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere than previous estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which relied heavily on self-reporting by the industry.

That's the conclusion of a study published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science and conducted with funding from the Department of Energy, NASA, and private foundations. The two dozen researchers involved found that the U.S. oil and gas supply chain releases between 11 and 15 million metric tons of methane per year. 

“This study confirms the growing body of peer-reviewed science indicating oil and gas extraction's methane pollution makes it as harmful to climate as coal burning's carbon dioxide pollution,” said Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Cornell University professor emeritus of engineering and vice president of Earthwork's board of directors.

Scott Pruitt Is An Ethics Nightmare, But So Is Ryan Zinke

Read time: 10 mins

By David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report

A Westerner appointed to President Trump’s cabinet, he’s drawn attention for his penchant for expensive travel, vanity perquisites of office, abuse of agency staff time, and cozy personal financial deals with business executives whose industries he oversees. Meanwhile, he has denied the dangers of climate change, met extensively with corporate lobbyists, and gutted the environmental protections implemented by prior administrations.

Yes, that’s entitled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, whose record of seeking personal luxuries and advantages at taxpayer expense, while gearing policy to polluting industries, and punishing subordinates who object, is breathtakingly awful.

But it also pretty well describes Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

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.”

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