The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
The Trump transition team ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halve the number of staff allowed to attend an environmental conference in Alaska last week, according to conference organizers.
The Alaska Forum on the Environment traditionally sees heavy participation from the EPA, with 34 agency employees originally committed to attend this year's event. While transition spokesperson Doug Ericksen told Alaska Public Media that the restriction was meant to cut travel costs, some of the agency officials originally slated to attend live "blocks away" from the conference in Anchorage.
"We got a phone call from the local office of EPA, and we were informed that EPA was directed by the White House transition team to minimize their participation in the Alaska Forum on the Environment to the extent possible," Alaska Forum on the Environment Director Kurt Eilo said.
The agency's last-minute change of plans highlighted the concerns of many conference attendees over the future of EPA programs dealing with climate change, tribal issues and other Alaska-specific concerns.
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
With more than half the global population under some form of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable habits can easily fall by the wayside. But we can still fight off the virus and keep our green habits.
The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.
We don't have to abandon our green habits during the crisis, but some might have to be adapted for the foreseeable future as we continue to learn about COVID-19 and how this new disease spreads.
By Derrick Z. Jackson
As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.
'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups Move to Preempt Big Oil Giveaway Amid Pandemic
By Andrea Germanos
A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.