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.”)


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the regulatory reform agenda: Feb. 24 Orders federal agencies to root out rules that inhibit job creation, “are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective,” or “impose costs that exceed benefits.”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