Tag: EPA

Environmental Protectionism Run Amok

 

The House Natural Resources Committee is conducting an ongoing examination of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA). President Richard Nixon signed NEPA, often hailed as the Magna Carta of environmental law, to great fanfare in 1970. The legislation contains two key provisions. Section 101 sets out in broad terms Congress’s “continuing policy” to require federal, state, and local governments “to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony” for the benefit of “present and future generations.” The law envisions the government acting as a “trustee of the environment,” charged with ensuring that the environment is used “without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences.”

Next, section 102 specifies a set of procedures by which all government agencies must prepare statements to accompany “proposals for legislation or other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” These statements must include a general assessment of the project’s environmental effect, coupled with an analysis of “adverse environmental impacts which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented.” NEPA contains no substantive requirements, but it does force government agencies to ensure that the proposed project meets the substantive standards of statutes such as the Clean Water Act. The agency must, therefore, point out any “irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources” on program implementation, with a view to examining alternative plans that meet these standards.

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Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, editor in chief Stephen F. Hayes discusses the embattled EPA chief, the latest on the trade war, our recent editorial on the economy, Charlie Sykes’s recent opinion item “The Conscience of Ann Coulter” and the firing of Kevin Williamson.

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“Making America toxic again,” as one publication suggested, or a public servant dedicated to paring honest science and environmental stewardship? Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, stops by to explain how the Trump Administration has reoriented the EPA, its highlights and priorities, and how a former college baseball player deals with political hardball in the nation’s capital.

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Junk Obama’s Clean Power Plan

 

In 2015, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Clean Power Plan (CPP) that prescribed detailed regulations for the control of carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-powered power plants as part of its effort to control climate change. Earlier this month, the Trump EPA under Scott Pruitt issued its own proposed rule to undo the Obama administration’s guidelines without a commitment to replace them with a substitute set of rules dedicated to the same end. In response to Pruitt’s major shift in policy direction, states like Massachusetts and New York are suing to prevent the new legal regime from going into effect.

Pruitt’s reversal in environmental policy raises two issues—one scientific and one legal. The scientific issue revolves around the 2009 endangerment findings from an Obama administration study, which determined that carbon dioxide emissions are a pollutant whose emissions levels must be regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA) because “greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare.” Other chemicals on the list of six designated pollutants—like methane and nitrous oxide, with known toxicities—surely deserve that designation, but the Obama report overstates the risks of carbon dioxide to the environment.

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EPA Scientists Banned from Speaking at Climate Conference

 

The EPA administration is fighting back against the climate change ideologues. The agency has cancelled the speaking appearances of three scientists who were scheduled to speak at a non-EPA conference on subjects related to climate change.

These scientists contributed to a 400-plus-page report to be issued today on the status of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and its challenges, and there are fears that scientists are being silenced from speaking on this controversial subject. It’s widely known that the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, questions whether human activity is a major contributor to climate change.

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EPA’s Pruitt Asks for TV Climate Debate

 

The science may not be settled, but EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants it televised. He raised the idea of a TV climate change debate in an interview with Reuters:

“There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change),” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

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Gas Can Follies

 

I have a little can for gasoline. I use it to fuel my lawnmower. Recently the spout broke. I fixed it with duct tape, of course. And, of course, the duct tape only held up for a few months. The can itself is over 30 years old, and I have the idea that, since plastic deteriorates over time, it probably will need replacing within the next decade or two. I also thought that a cheap plastic gas can with a nice pouring spout would not cost very much more than a purchase of a replacement spout. So while I was out on Saturday morning I stopped by Autozone to pick up a new gas can. And, modern American life being what it is, I now have a story to post at Ricochet.

First, while my old can holds 2.5 gallons, the cans on the shelf all came only in two or five gallon size, so if I keep a little can it will mean more trips to refill the can. I don’t want to fool with the larger can, so I picked up one of the two-gallon cans and carried it to the counter. While waiting for the cashier to fire up his cash register (he had been in the back and so had to log in), I took a look at the new can. I unscrewed the cap and pulled out the pour spout, and started to install it for immediate use. The pour spout looked funny, and the cashier saw me giving it a close inspection. He said “You haven’t seen one of those before.”

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Trump Dismantles Obama Regs on Energy, Environment

 

President Trump issued a sweeping executive order Tuesday to unravel several Obama-era environmental and energy regulations. Signed at the EPA headquarters, the order calls for an immediate review of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which restricted greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired plants.

“We’re going to have safety, we’re going to have clean water, we’re going to have clean air,” Trump said, “but so many [regulations] are unnecessary, so many are job-killing.” He added, “Together we are going to start a new energy revolution.”

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POTUS WOTUS

 

President Trump, with Secretary Scott Pruitt at his shoulder, signed an executive order “directing the EPA to take action paving the way for the elimination of this very destructive and horrible rule.” WOTUS, the rule in question, is the power grab by the EPA to expand the “navigable rivers” aspect of the Clean Water Act […]

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Scott Pruitt and the Environment

 

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, has raised more hackles among progressive Democrats than any other Trump cabinet nominee. Typical of the ferocious opposition to his candidacy is the screed prepared by the Sierra Club that deems him a mortal threat to the safety of the planet because, as Attorney General in Oklahoma, he has “spent his time in office working to allow big polluters to do whatever they want, rather than protecting the health, clean air and water of his constituents.” Democrats like Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii have insisted that his nomination is “a four-alarm fire” because Pruitt is a pawn of fossil fuel companies whose cardinal sin is denying the conclusion of “climate scientists” that human emission of carbon dioxide is creating a global warming crisis.

The defenders of Pruitt have been equally vocal. President Trump, no man to mince words, has railed against the EPA for spending “taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.” In his view, Pruitt is needed to restore some sense of balance to the entire enterprise.

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Quote of the Day: Rachael Carson

 

“It is not half so important to know as it is to feel.” -Rachael Carson. For those of you who are trying to put a face to the name, Rachael Carson wrote the book Silent Spring, about the dangers of DDT. The subsequent DDT ban prevented malaria from being eradicated elsewhere in the globe like […]

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The Environmental Permit Menace

 

Government Red TapeThere is wide bipartisan support to take immediate steps at all levels of government to improve America’s aging and dilapidated infrastructure. The challenge of infrastructure design is to move people and goods rapidly and efficiently from one place to another, while minimizing adverse environmental impacts.

Private firms can, of course, do a great deal of the legwork in putting this infrastructure together. But private enterprise cannot do the job alone. Long and skinny infrastructure elements, like railroads, highways, and pipelines, typically require the use of the government power of eminent domain to assemble the needed parcels of land. In addition, much infrastructure has to be built across government-owned land. The cooperation of government is thus needed for the completion of these projects. And there is always the risk that any major construction project could cause serious physical damage to the larger environment.

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Sanctuary House

 

On Thanksgiving Day, I stopped by the palatial home of my longtime friend and lawyer, E. Hobart Calhoun, a fellow Mensa member, bon vivant, and part-time oenophile. He was burning leaves in his front yard. I jumped out of my reconditioned hybrid Ford Falcon and raced to stomp out the flames, feverishly checking for any sign of the EPA death squads routinely patrolling our neighborhoods these days.

“Have you lost your mind?” I asked E. as I stepped out of my rugged Duluth steel-threaded overalls, which had caught fire in spite of Duluth’s guarantee that they were flammable or inflammable, whichever word is right.

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The Transition Begins

 

From Scientific American: Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition More

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Trump’s EPA transition Manager

 

According to an article in “Watts Up with That” (https://wattsupwiththat.com), Trump is planning on naming Myron Ebell, the head of the Competitive Enterprise Institute as his EPA transition manager. That would be great news, he is a well known climate skeptic and among other credentials, he has been included in GreenPeace’s “Field Guide to Climate […]

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