58 Republican Bills Introduced on Environment

Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle  (This article is a feature of an important SF Chron investigative piece: “Trump Gains, Science Loses.”)

58 REPUBLICAN BILLS INTRODUCED ON THE ENVIRONMENT

The runways and taxiways at San Francisco International airport are at risk of flooding from coming sea level rise because of climate change. Michael Macor / The Chronicle

Here are a few of them:

HONEST Act: (Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas) Would effectively limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of science to study everything from climate change to environmental health and allows industry representatives on agency’s science advisory boards, while banning scientists who receive EPA grants. Passed the House.

Listing Reform Act: (Rep. Pete Olson, Texas) Seeks to amend the Endangered Species Act to require consideration of the economic cost of protecting a species.

Public Water Supply Invasive Species Compliance Act: (Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas) Would allow a state to buy water that contains invasive species if the species are already present in the area. The bill would help Texas pump water for its growing cities from neighboring states.

Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act: (Rep. Duncan Hunter, Calif., and Sen. Roger Wicker, Miss.) Would weaken the ability of states to limit pollution from commercial shipping. Ten state attorneys general, including California’s, wrote in opposition.

Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency Act: (Rep. Matt Gaetz, Fla.) Would abolish the EPA.

Public Input for National Monuments Act: (Rep. Greg Walden, Ore.) Seeks to amend the Antiquities Act, which has given presidents authority to protect public lands by declaring them national monuments.

REINS Act: (Rep. Doug Collins, Ga.) Would give Congress the authority to approve new rules; if Congress fails to act within 70 days, the rule is voided. In a Congress bent on reducing bureaucracy, the act would likely all but eliminate new rule making. Passed House.

Regulatory Accountability Act: (Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Va.) Would add numerous hurdles to rule making, hobbling federal agencies’ ability to pass new protections. Passed House.

Midnight Rules Relief Act: (Rep. Darrell Issa, Calif.) Would allow Congress to overturn any regulation passed in the last 60 days of a previous administration, including Obama’s. Passed House.

SCRUB Act: (Rep. Jason Smith, Mo.) Seeks to create a commission to review regulations, assessing costs of rules but not their benefits. Requires the agency issuing a new regulation to remove an existing regulation of equal or greater cost. Could restrict new protections regardless of the science behind them.

Additional GOP bills targeting ability of agencies to write rules:  http://bit.ly/2pHNJW4  (Climate Deregulation Tracker, Columbia Law School, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Earth Institute, Columbia University)

    18 Proposed Environmental Rule Eliminations through the Congressional Review Act

    Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle  (This article is a feature of an important SF Chron investigative piece: “Trump Gains, Science Loses.”)

    18 PROPOSED ENVIRONMENTAL RULE ELIMINATIONS THROUGH THE CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW ACT

    Cleanup crews work to remove coal sludge from a stream near Inez, Ky., after a spill that polluted the Tug Fork and Big Sandy rivers in October 2000. Rhonda Simpson / Associated Press 2000 ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    The Congressional Review Act, created in 1996 to allow Congress to eliminate rules with a simple majority vote, had been used just once before this year. But since Jan. 20, when President Trump took office, the Republican-led Congress has applied it vigorously to do away with environmental protection rules.

    The act accounts for a large share of the legislation Trump has signed since he entered the White House. Because of the simple-majority threshold, the Republican majority in Congress has been able to use it to roll back environmental protection rules finalized during the last six months of the Obama administration.

    The law gives Congress 60 legislative days after a rule has been finalized to roll it back, and that period will expire this month. But some conservatives argue that an obscure provision could be used to eliminate federal regulations going back decades. Once a regulation is revoked, it cannot be undone. The law forbids a federal agency from writing any “substantially similar” new rule.

    To date, Trump has signed 11 laws reversing rules covering everything from Internet privacy to gun purchases by the mentally disabled. Four of these laws reversed environmental safeguards under the act. They are:

    Stream protection: It was a guard against mountaintop-removal coal mining that has destroyed 2,000 miles of streams in Appalachia and released waste into streams that has been linked to cancer and birth defects. The Congressional Research Service said the rule was effective in combatting climate change and protecting drinking water. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the rule “a regulatory assault on coal country.” It was among the first to be revoked.

    Methane flaring: Required oil and gas companies to recapture methane flared or leaked from gas and oil wells on public lands. The Bureau of Land Management found that methane flaring wastes enough gas to power 5.1 million homes a year, costing taxpayers $300 million annually in royalty payments. Republicans argued that methane releases have been declining, making the rule unnecessary. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

    Public lands: Gave the public a stronger voice in planning for logging, drilling, mining and other uses of 250 million acres of public lands, mostly in the West. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, argued that the rule gave too much power to special interests over local elected officials.

    Extreme hunting: Banned shooting wolves and bears from airplanes, killing bears and cubs and wolves and pups in their dens, and trapping and baiting predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The rollback was sought by the Alaska congressional delegation. Members said that local officials are better equipped to manage wildlife in Alaska, and that the rule impinged on subsistence hunting.

      8 Major Trump Executive Actions on the Environment

      Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle  (This article is a feature of an important SF Chron investigative piece: “Trump Gains, Science Loses.”)

      8 MAJOR TRUMP EXECUTIVE ACTIONS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

      Traffic on Highway 880 in Oakland. President Trump’s order calls for a review of fuel economy standards for vehicles for model years 2022-25. Michael Macor / The Chronicle

      Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines: Jan. 24 Signs orders to approve the two oil pipelines over the objections of environmentalists who say the projects will damage the area and encourage use of fossil fuels.

      Expedite approvals for infrastructure: Jan. 24 Signs order directing the White House Council on Environmental Quality to speed approvals of infrastructure projects around the country “using all necessary and appropriate means.” Critics fear the order will lead to construction without proper environmental review.

      Border wall: Jan. 25 Calls for expansion of a wall along the southern border with Mexico. Environmentalists say the wall would fragment ecosystems and create barriers to the movement of species. It would also intersect Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Big Bend National Park. Funding faces bipartisan resistance in Congress.

      Two-for-one regulatory repeal: Jan. 30 Orders federal agencies to repeal two rules for every new one and orders all new regulatory costs this year to equal zero. Public Citizen, Natural Resources Defense Council and Communications Workers of America sued, saying the order could require the government to lift bans on lead or asbestos to protect against new chemicals.

      Enforcing the regulatory reform agenda: Feb. 24 Orders federal agencies to root out rules that inhibit job creation, “are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective,” or “impose costs that exceed benefits.”

      Waters of the United States: Feb. 24 Orders review of an Obama-era rule that expanded protection of smaller bodies of water, tributaries and wetlands. The action could make it easier to develop on wetlands and near streams.

      Fuel economy: March 15 Orders review of fuel-economy standards that limit greenhouse gas pollution from cars and light trucks for model years 2022 to 2025. Vehicles are the biggest source of U.S. carbon pollution.

      Promoting energy independence: March 28 Orders review of Clean Power Plan limiting carbon emissions from coal plants, a linchpin of federal climate policy along with vehicle standards. Ends consideration of climate change in agency reviews, ends calculation of social cost of carbon, making it harder to write new rules to limit emissions. Halts federal actions to prepare for climate change. Lifts moratorium on new coal leases on federal land.

      Online resources: Read more at http://bit.ly/2pHNJW4  (Climate Deregulation Tracker, Columbia Law School, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Earth Institute, Columbia University)