Trump signs order removing environmental review of major projects

Trump signs order removing environmental review of major projects

SOURCE: The Hill DATE: June 4, 2020 SNIP: President Trump signed an executive order Thursday evening that would waive requirements under a suite of environmental laws, a move the administration says will boost the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The new order expedites the permitting of construction projects and energy projects overseen by several federal agencies, using emergency authorities to skirt environmental regulations with little public notice. “From the beginning of my Administration, I have focused on reforming and streamlining an outdated regulatory system that has held back our economy with needless paperwork and costly delays,” Trump wrote in the order. “The need for continued progress in this streamlining effort is all the more acute now, due to the ongoing economic crisis.” The order would slash the requirements in a number of landmark environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires rigorous environmental review before building new infrastructure like highways or pipelines. Trump’s order comes on the heels of one signed last month that directs agency heads to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” prompting conservative groups to say the administration should further rollback NEPA. The latest order goes further, directing agencies to use their own emergency authorities and the emergency provisions of environmental laws to skip over standard requirements. Agencies will now have 30 days to report which projects will be expedited under the order, but there is no requirement for that list to be...
Trump dismantles environmental protections under cover of coronavirus

Trump dismantles environmental protections under cover of coronavirus

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: May 11, 2020 SNIP: The Trump administration is diligently weakening US environment protections even amid a global pandemic, continuing its rollback as the November election approaches. During the Covid-19 lockdown, US federal agencies have eased fuel-efficiency standards for new cars; frozen rules for soot air pollution; proposed to drop review requirements for liquefied natural gas terminals; continued to lease public property to oil and gas companies; sought to speed up permitting for offshore fish farms; and advanced a proposal on mercury pollution from power plants that could make it easier for the government to conclude regulations are too costly to justify their benefits. The government has also relaxed reporting rules for polluters during the pandemic. The Trump administration is playing both offense and defense, rescinding and rewriting some rules and crafting others that would be time-consuming for a Democratic president to reverse. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has written what critics say will be a weak proposal for climate pollution from airplanes, a placeholder that will hinder stricter regulation. Trump officials have been attempting to create a coronavirus relief program for oil and gas corporations, a new move in his campaign to back the industry and stymie global climate action. The president has sown distrust of climate science and vowed to exit the Paris climate agreement, which the US can do after the election. Historians say Trump’s presidency has forced a pendulum swing back from the environmental awakening of the 1960s and 70s, when there was bipartisan support for conservation. “What Trump’s done is create a blitzkrieg against the environment … trying to dismantle not...
Air and water problems are worsening on a global scale, U.N. says

Air and water problems are worsening on a global scale, U.N. says

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: May 23, 2016 AUTHOR: Chris Mooney SNIP: In a sweeping synthesis of global data, the United Nations Environment Programme has intensively catalogued environmental assaults across the six different major regions of the globe. And it finds that, overall, damage to the planet is happening more rapidly than before, through slights ranging from air pollution, to the proliferation of human and toxic waste, to water scarcity and climate change. … “The world shares a host of common environmental threats that are rapidly intensifying in many parts of the world,” said a UNEP news release accompanying the report’s release. The root causes, McGlade said, basically boil down to two major systemic occurrences with multiple ramifying consequences: a changing climate and an intense trend toward greater urbanization. The warming of the planet threatens ecosystems and the humans who depend on them for food, water and services, even as the push into expanding cities clusters people in more closely, creating water shortages, waste disposal problems, more deleterious contacts with wildlife and...