Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Congress Uses Obscure Law to Start Ripping Apart Environmental Policies

Popular
Congress Uses Obscure Law to Start Ripping Apart Environmental Policies

The House GOP is just getting started with cuts using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an arcane piece of mid-1990s legislation allowing Congress to overturn any Obama regulations finalized after June of last year.

In addition to the disclosure requirements Wednesday, the House also voted to axe the Department of Interior's (DOI) Stream Protection Rule, which protected streams and waterways from mining waste. On the chopping block for Friday is another DOI rule requiring oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions on federal lands. (Speaking of methane, a new study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters demonstrates that global methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry may actually be higher than current estimates).

"Supporters who vote for these resolutions should explain why they think there should never be any limits on what gets dumped into streams, or any limits on mountain top removal coal mining or on methane spewing into the air," Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

"It's hard to imagine why they'd oppose methane limits, since this gas causes health and climate problems, and industry could make money from selling it, instead of allowing it to leak or be wasted. Taxpayers would also benefit, because the leakage reduces royalty payments."

The CRA also stipulates that federal agencies cannot re-issue rules in "substantially the same form" as previous regulations, although since the CRA has only been used once before in history, it remains to be seen how this will take effect.

For a deeper dive:

CRA explainer: Vox; Stream rule explainer: Nexus Media News; General CRA: The Guardian, The Hill; Stream rule: CNN, Quartz; Methane: San Antonio Express-News, Mother Jones; IIASA study: UPI

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world, as The Guardian reported. That puts the number of species at risk near 140,000.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Flowers like bladderwort have changed their UV pigment levels in response to the climate crisis. Jean and Fred / CC BY 2.0

As human activity transforms the atmosphere, flowers are changing their colors.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A factory in Newark, N.J. emits smoke in the shadow of NYC on January 18, 2018. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

By Sharon Zhang

Back in March, when the pandemic had just planted its roots in the U.S., President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something devastating: The agency was to indefinitely and cruelly suspend environmental rule enforcement. The EPA complied, and for just under half a year, it provided over 3,000 waivers that granted facilities clemency from state-level environmental rule compliance.

Read More Show Less
A meteoroid skims the earth's atmosphere on Sept. 22, 2020. European Space Agency

A rare celestial event was caught on camera last week when a meteoroid "bounced" off Earth's atmosphere and veered back into space.

Read More Show Less
A captive elephant is seen at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Littlebourne, England. Suvodeb Banerjee / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Bob Jacobs

Hanako, a female Asian elephant, lived in a tiny concrete enclosure at Japan's Inokashira Park Zoo for more than 60 years, often in chains, with no stimulation. In the wild, elephants live in herds, with close family ties. Hanako was solitary for the last decade of her life.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch