The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Pruitt, Zinke and Perry Target Clean Air and Water Rules to Curb 'Burdens' on Energy Sector
"That's what I want—clean air," he continued. "Think of it. We talk about the—I want beautiful clean air, and I want crystal-clean water, right? That's what we want."
In a shocking report from Reuters, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Sec. Rick Perry and Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke have each announced separate steps on how they will carry out President Trump's "energy independence" executive order in March to ease regulatory burdens on energy development.
One of the most environmentally consequential steps comes from Pruitt's EPA, which will try to pinpoint how the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act affects energy sectors jobs. (Earth to Mr. President: these landmark laws are designed to give us "clean air" and "crystal-clean water.")
"We are working to curb unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens that do not serve the American people," Pruitt said in a statement.
Here are the other steps that Trump's agencies will be taking to boost the energy sector, as detailed by Reuters:
"The EPA will also create a task force to simplify the permit process for building new polluting facilities, weigh options to revamp national ambient air quality standards and launch a "smart sectors" program to engage with industries as it crafts regulations.
The Energy Department said it will focus on streamlining natural gas exports, review its national laboratory policies, review National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations for approving major infrastructure projects and reviewing the agency's popular household appliance standards program.
The Interior Department submitted what it called an 'energy burdens' report to the president, which outlines some Obama-era regulations it has started to reverse or reform, or has plans to.
This includes lifting the moratorium on coal leases on federal land, reviewing regulations on fracking on federal and tribal land, developing a five-year plan for offshore drilling and streamlining the federal leasing program and permitting process."
While the administration claims that boosting jobs and the economy are the end goal, a new feature in TIME questions if Pruitt's actions—and Trump's by extension—are serving industry interests instead:
"Since [Pruitt] took office, more than a dozen EPA regulations have been killed or put under review, from fuel-efficiency standards to regulations on the disposal of coal ash to restrictions on toxic metals like arsenic in waterways," the magazine noted. "Moreover, the Trump Administration has proposed slashing funding for the agency's law-enforcement branch, which identifies polluters under existing regulations.
"All this has aided businesses, propping up the declining coal industry, ensuring profit margins for chemical makers and reducing compliance costs for farmers. But the change has also weakened an agency designed to save lives.
"'They're trying to deconstruct and dismantle the basic protections,' says Mustafa Ali, a career EPA official who resigned in March after 24 years. 'They're creating situations where more folks are going to get sick, some folks are going to die, more folks are going to be put in harm's way.'"
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The federal government is looking into the details from the longest running oil spill in U.S. history, and it's looking far worse than the oil rig owner let on, as The New York Times reported.
By Tara Lohan
When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.
A searing heat wave has begun to spread across Europe, with Germany, France and Belgium experiencing extreme temperatures that are set to continue in the coming days.
In the 1980s, a Greenlandic subsistence hunter shot and killed a whale with bizarre features unlike any he had ever seen before. He knew something was unique about it, so he left its abnormally large skull on top of his toolshed where it rested until a visiting professor happened upon it a few years later.