Where Meanderthals keeps track of anti-conservation, anti-environment tactics


EPA website removes climate science site from public view after two decades

April 28, 2017 The Environmental Protection Agency announced that its website would be “undergoing changes” to better represent the new direction the agency is taking, triggering the removal of several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information. One of the websites that appeared to be gone had been cited to challenge statements made by the EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt. Another provided detailed information on the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan, including fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions. [cite]


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Presidential Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

April 28, 2017 President Donald Trump, joined by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Members of Congress from coastal states, signed the America First Offshore Energy Executive Order. The order aims to expand offshore oil and gas exploration and production in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) through a review of the five-year leasing program and reconsideration of certain regulations pertaining to offshore energy potential. The order also directs the Secretary of the Interior to implement a streamlined permitting approach for privately funded seismic data collection to determine offshore energy resource potential. “I am going to lift the restrictions on American energy, and allow this wealth to pour into our communities,” said Trump. [cite]


Trump to order review of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante

April 24, 2017 President Donald Trump this week will order a review of national monument designations — including southern Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — as part of a wide look at a century-old law that allows presidents to set aside federal lands without congressional approval. Trump will sign an executive order to demand that the Interior Department secretary examine all national monument designations in the past 21 years to discern whether their size and scope are within the law’s intent. [cite] EO signed by Trump April 27, 2017.


EPA Administrator Sends Clean Power Plan Guidance Letter to Governors

March 30, 2017 Fulfilling his promise of cooperative federalism and acting on President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent letters to state governors advising them that they are under no obligation to adhere to the Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule. [cite]


Trump’s EPA Chief Chooses Not to Ban Dow Chemical Pesticide

March 30, 2017 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rejected calls to ban one of the nation’s most widely used pesticides, which is manufactured by Dow Chemical and described by scientists as dangerous to the health of farm workers. Scientists allege that contact with chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), which has been used by farmers for decades to kill pests on crops and was prohibited for household use in 2000, poses risks to fetal brain and nervous system development and can lead to autism. [cite]


Trump just gutted U.S. policies to fight climate change

March 28, 2017 This executive order is more than just a repeal and rework of the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature domestic climate policy and Trump’s preferred scapegoat for the declining coal industry. The order also seeks to repeal rules regarding fracking on public lands, and coal leases on federal lands. It orders agencies to reconsider the Social Cost of Carbon and rescinds an Obama-era order requiring agencies to consider the impact of climate change in their environmental permitting process. And it undoes four executive actions meant to make the federal government — and communities — more prepared to handle the consequences of climate change. [cite]


Congress Makes It Legal To Shoot Hibernating Bear Families In Their Dens

March 21, 2017 The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to allow barbaric hunting tactics such as killing hibernating bear families in their dens on 76 million acres of federal wildlife refuges in Alaska. The House passed the measure last month. Hunters will be able to legally enter bear and wolf dens to kill mothers and their young cubs and pups. Hunters will also be allowed to shoot bears from airplanes. Steel-jawed leghold traps will also be allowed on these national lands. [cite]


White House Budget Proposes Sweeping Cuts To EPA, Environmental Programs

March 16, 2017 The White House proposed steep, sweeping cuts to federal climate change initiatives, including axing the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 31 percent. It eliminates funding for regional cleanup efforts in the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, for example, and defunds the Clean Power Plan, the federal government’s only major effort to reduce carbon emissions from the utility sector. [cite]


Interior Department to withdraw Obama-era fracking rule

March 15, 2017 The Trump administration plans to withdraw and rewrite a 2015 rule aimed at limiting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on public lands, the Interior Department indicated in court filings. The move represents the latest effort by the new administration to ease restraints on oil and gas production in the United States. [cite]


Trump’s plan to roll back Obama’s fuel economy rules for cars

March 15, 2017 Bit by bit, President Trump is starting to rewrite the multitude of policies the Obama administration put in place to fight global warming. Today’s target is a big one: the fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. At an event with automakers in Michigan, Trump is announcing that he’ll tell the EPA to redo Obama standards. They might try to relax the schedule for efficiency improvements. [cite]


EPA chief Scott Pruitt says carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming

March 9, 2017 EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said March 9th he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” he told CNBC. [cite]


Congress lets polluters dictate where drilling, mining happens

March 7, 2017 Americans are allowed to weigh in by attending public meetings to voice their concerns in person or send comments in to the agency creating a land management plan. This keeps fossil fuel interests in check, allowing us to preserve some of the more sacred and wild places that we have deemed “too wild to drill.” The repealing of this rule could gift the fate of our public lands to special interests, forever. [cite]


Trump’s interior secretary reverses ban on lead ammo on national wildlife refuges as his first official act

March 3, 2017 So much for sober-minded consultation, careful study of the data, and thoughtful analysis from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and other experts on his staff. Before the chair in his office was even warm, and just after he dismounted from his horse, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke undid a director’s order to phase out the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle over the next five years on more than 150 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges and other agency lands and waterways. [cite]


EPA Scraps Rule Requiring Oil And Gas Industry To Report Methane Pollution

March 2, 2017 In May, the Environmental Protect Agency issued a new rule requiring oil and gas companies to report what equipment they use and how much methane ― a greenhouse gas 40 times more potent than carbon dioxide ― their drilling sites emit. Today, the agency’s newly sworn-in administrator, Scott Pruitt, scrapped this regulation deemed crucial to cutting planet-warming emissions as part of the Paris climate deal. [cite]


Trump begins dismantling Obama’s EPA rules. Step one: the Clean Water Rule

February 28, 2017 The Clean Water Rule is a technical regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency to clarify which streams and wetlands fall under federal clean water protections — a question that had been causing legal confusion for years. Now Donald Trump has signed an executive order that asks new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to begin the long process of repealing the rule and replacing it with… something else. [cite]


New EPA head takes action — delaying a mining clean-up rule

February 27, 2017 In one of his first acts of business, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt directed his new staff to delay an initiative that would require mining companies to prove they can clean up after themselves. The order would require companies to prove they will be able to clean up the damage caused by routine mining activities. The order was an effort to reduce liability to taxpayers and improve environmental practices at mines. [cite]


The NRA just persuaded Congress to legalize the killing of bear cubs in wildlife refuges

February 16, 2017 The U.S. House of Representatives voted Feb. 16, 2017 to legalize the killing of black bear cubs and their mothers at their dens in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges. The controversial measure, backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), overturns a ‘Fair Chase’ rule that limited baiting, trapping, and the use of airplanes to track and shoot bears and wolves on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands in Alaska. The vote was met with an outpouring of criticism from wildlife and conservation groups. [cite]


Why We Need the EPA

February 14, 2017 Let’s not forget what America looked like before we had the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our rivers caught on fire, our air was full of smog, and it stank (literally). A collective memory lapse seems to have descended on lawmakers who seek to dismantle an agency that has transformed American life for the better. Since the EPA’s founding in 1970, concentrations of common air pollutants, like sulfur dioxide, have dropped as much as 67 percent. The EPA helped mitigate catastrophes like acid rain, leaded gasoline, and DDT. [cite]


Congress moves to restrict public input on public land planning

February 7, 2017 The House of Representatives voted to roll back a rule that gives local citizens a greater voice in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) planning process, a process that directs how 245 million acres of public land are utilized. Many local communities support the planning rule that the House voted to roll back, counting it as a tool to strengthen their voice in land use planning. [cite]


Congress’ repeal of Obama methane rule will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions

February 3, 2017 Congress voted to undo a measure that cuts air pollution, prevents the waste of taxpayer dollars, and curbs climate change-causing pollution. The Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste prevention rule limits venting, flaring, and leaking of methane — the main component in natural gas — from oil and gas operations on public lands. Repealing the rule is expected to result in the waste of $330 million in taxpayer-owned gas annually. [cite]


A Small Victory: Chaffetz Withdraws HR 621

February 1, 2017 An outcry was prompted in part by Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) introduction of a bill (HR 621) to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. February 1st Chaffetz announced that he was withdrawing the bill. Chaffetz had previously claimed that the millions of acres of public lands from 10 states that could be up for sale to private interests “serve no purpose for taxpayers,” an assertion that protesters, public lands advocates, and now Chaffetz himself dispute. [cite]


House votes to strike down Obama-era Stream Protection Rule

February 1, 2017 Regulators and environmentalists have said the rule helps protect waterways from the effects of mountaintop mining pollution and prevents negative health impacts for people living in those areas. But the coal industry — already suffering due to market conditions in the energy sector — says the rule will hurt companies and their employees. [cite]


Obama-era climate change information removed from State Department website

January 25, 2017 Various pages mentioning climate change have been removed from the State Department website, including pages outlining the United States’ contribution to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, a page detailing America’s commitment to making climate data available for both local and international partners, the State Department’s Climate Action Report, and an overview of the Global Climate Change Initiative. [cite]


What We Actually Lose When the USDA and EPA Can’t Talk to the Public

January 24, 2017 The EPA is now barred from communicating with the public by Donald Trump. That means no press releases, blogs, messages, or social media postings. Additionally, the US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its Agricultural Research Service division from sharing the results of its taxpayer-funded research with the broader public, another gag order from Trump. Scientific inquiry is meant to produce hard facts that the world can rely on. But the easiest way to make science lie is to keep the public from learning it. [cite]


Trump advances Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipelines with executive order

January 24, 2017 President Donald Trump has taken steps to advance construction on two oil pipeline projects that have been fiercely disputed and were delayed under his predecessor. Trump has signed an executive order that will make it easier for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access pipeline. [cite]


The first update to the new Trump White House website rolls back Clean Air and Water

January 20, 2017 For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution… We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry. [cite]


GOP targets landmark Endangered Species Act for big changes

January 17, 2017 In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities. Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as gray wolves and sage grouse out of its reach. Almost all were blocked by Democrats and the White House or lawsuits from environmentalists. [cite]


The House just made it a lot easier to sell off national parks

January 4, 2017 The House now officially values public lands at $0. A new rule, written by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), establishes as fact that any legislation to dispose of public lands and natural resources would cost taxpayers exactly $0. This paves the way for the new Congress to get rid of vast swaths of public lands — all at the expense of the American taxpayer. [cite]


Congress takes quick shot at transferring federal public lands to local interests

January 3, 2017 The 115th Congress got off to an eye-opening start on their very first day, voting in favor of facilitating transfers of some federal public lands and waters to state, local and private interests. The provision would designate any transfer legislation “budget neutral,” eliminating existing safeguards against undervaluing public lands, disregarding any revenue or economic benefits currently generated and paving the way for quick and discreet giveaways of valuable lands and waters – including national forests, wildlife refuges and BLM lands – historically owned by the American people. [cite]