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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.


Donald J. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Trump is a danger to America all Americans. Trump is destroying our lands, our air, our water and our Democracy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Trump has reduced or removed protections that protect our lands, our air and or water this will have long-term consequences for future generations. Trump wants to remove the EPA the very agency that was put into place to protect Americans from air pollution, water pollution and protect our lands. Trump has removed protections put in place that protect Americans from air pollution and water pollution, while reducing access to health care. Reducing access to health care and reducing air and water standards will harm some Americans and will kill others. Our lands, our air and our water will become more polluted and people will get sick and some will die from polices of Trump and the GOP. Trump and GOP polices will cause more Americans to get sick from bad air and bad water and some will die, that is not putting Americans first, that is putting business first, Americans second. That is not protecting Americans; it is putting the health of Americans at risk to help business owners make a few dollars more. While a few business owners get rich, America and everyday Americans lives are put at risk from the polluted air we can’t breathe, the polluted water we cannot drink to the polluted lands we cannot use.

By Rebecca Beitsch
The Sierra Club sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday after the agency refused to turn over any documents to back up Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s claim that climate change “is 50 to 75 years out.” The Sierra Club had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in April asking the EPA to provide all records Wheeler relied on in making that statement, as well as any research from the EPA that supported his claim. Wheeler’s comments came in an April interview with CBS News, when he said he would be focused on pressing issues like access to clean water since “most of the threats from climate change are 50 to 75 years out.” The EPA denied the Sierra Club's FOIA request in June, saying the request “fails to adequately describe the records sought.” “Your request does not seek specific records but is rather a question framed as a FOlA request,” the agency wrote in a letter to the Sierra Club. The environmental group then appealed through the FOIA process but never heard back from EPA. The Sierra Club then filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the D.C. District Court. “They’re essentially arguing that the public does not have a right to know what, if anything, is supporting his claims,” said Matthew Miller, an attorney for the Sierra Club. “The EPA either needs to admit there is in fact no support for the administrator’s statement and they need to set the record straight that he was misleading and inaccurate,” Miller said. “Or they need to provide us with whatever unknown basis of support they are relying on — which is apparently none — and which would be contrary to the overwhelming scientific consensus and his own agency’s scientists' research.” An EPA spokesman said in an email Thursday that while the agency would not comment on pending litigation, "experts from EPA and other organizations like the [United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] regularly measure climate change impacts, including the effects of regulation, in multi-decadal time frames, not year-to-year variations." more...

By Chandelis Duster, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Nearly 600 former Environmental Protection Agency officials are calling on Congress to investigate the Trump administration's "inappropriate threat of use of EPA authority" against the state of California over recent environmental policies. Five hundred ninety-three former officials who worked under Republican and Democratic administrations signed a letter sent to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday requesting an investigation into EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler's threat to withhold federal highway funds from the state. They also want an investigation into Wheeler's demand that the state take action regarding its homelessness crisis. The officials write in the letter that both actions "were intended as retaliation for the state's failure to support President Trump's political agenda." Asked for comment, EPA spokesman Michael Abboud responded: "Highlighting that California has the worst air quality in the nation along with other serious environmental problems is not a political issue. ... EPA expects California leaders to share its concern for the protection of public health." EPA officials who signed the letter include: Eric Schaeffer, who was director of the EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement during the George W. Bush administration and is now director of the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project.: Elizabeth Southerland, who resigned from her role as director of science and technology in the EPA's Office of Water in 2017. Gina McCarthy, who was EPA administrator during the Obama administration. Cynthia Giles, who was EPA assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance during the Obama administration. more...

Local officials deny the claims. The notice is the latest salvo in a feud between the Trump administration and Democrat-controlled California.
By Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration ratcheted up its feud with California on Wednesday as the Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice accusing San Francisco of violating the federal Clean Water Act. Last month, President Donald Trump warned of a potential violation notice, saying the city was allowing needles and human waste to go through storm drains to the Pacific Ocean — an allegation fervently denied by city officials. The violation notice came in the form of a letter to Harlan Kelly, Jr., general manager of the city’s Public Utilities Commission. It said the EPA had identified violations in the city and county wastewater treatment and sewer system, including lack of proper operation and maintenance that has allowed raw and partially-treated sewage to flow onto beaches into the ocean and sometimes into streets and homes. The letter alleged that some discharges contained heavy metals and bacteria and said the city hasn’t kept up proper cleaning, inspection and repair schedules for the system nor properly reported or issued public warnings for sewage diversions. It’s the latest salvo in a feud between the administration and Democrat-controlled California, which has filed more than 50 lawsuits opposing Trump initiatives on the environment, immigration and health care. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week alleging waste left by the homeless in big cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles was being improperly handled. more...

By Rebecca Beitsch
Federal judges dealt a blow to the Trump administration late Tuesday, finding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hasn’t done enough to limit cross-state air pollution. A panel of judges for the D.C. Circuit Court, which includes a Trump appointee, ordered the EPA to come up with a new plan for how to address smog that travels to the densely populated Northeast, where states are failing to meet federal air quality standards. The decision follows a similar ruling in a Wisconsin case a few weeks ago that said the Clean Air Act’s “Good Neighbor provision” compels EPA action. The states that brought the case — New York, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware — argue the EPA hasn’t done enough to help them meet a 2021 deadline for reducing ozone pollution, more commonly referred to as smog. The EPA argued states are on track to meet those standards by 2023. “Those states pointed out to the court that it was irrelevant and insufficient for EPA to say ozone levels would be reduced sufficiently by 2023 because of course there is a two year disconnect,” said John Walke, clean air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. An EPA spokesperson said, “We are reviewing the opinion.” Walke said the EPA historically has required downwind states to install better pollution control on coal burning power plants. But this decision comes as the EPA is facing other legal challenges after replacing an Obama-era power plant pollution rule with one that critics say does almost nothing to stem pollution. more...

By Scott Faber, opinion contributor
Standing before a room mostly filled with industry lobbyists last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a clear message to the hundreds of American communities with drinking water contaminated with the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS: Let them drink polluted water. PFAS are man-made “forever chemicals” that never break down once released and they build up in our bodies. Calling Congressional efforts to clean up legacy PFAS pollution in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2020 “just not workable,” Wheeler instead will continue to study the matter. Wheeler has so far refused to designate PFAS chemicals as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law. By doing so, the EPA would kick-start the cleanup process at contaminated sites and ensure that polluters pay their fair share of cleanup costs. The Department of Defense has cited the absence of a “hazardous substance” designation when refusing to clean up sites contaminated by fluorinated firefighting foams. So far, the Environmental Working Group has documented 297 military installations that are contaminated by PFAS, threatening nearby communities. Even former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt pledged to pursue the designation for some PFAS, vowing in 2018 that it was “a national priority.” But this week Wheeler parroted chemical industry talking points to contend that cleaning up contaminated sites would be putting politics “ahead of the science.” “You don't solve a problem with a chemical by just declaring it hazardous,” Wheeler said. Actually, the EPA has designated hundreds of chemicals as hazardous under federal statutes meant to fulfill the agency’s mission to, you know, protect people. By doing so, the EPA has reduced releases of hazardous substances from industry into the air and water and cleaned up sites that are badly contaminated. As House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) noted during a markup last week, a hazardous substance designation is not a ban. Many of the chemicals deemed hazardous by the EPA are still used in products. According to news accounts, Wheeler also relied upon earlier EPA approvals of some PFAS chemicals as proof of their safety  — despite recent evidence that the agency knowingly ignored studies showing serious health risks. The EPA’s own inspector general just announced a probe into whether agreements on the production of GenX – a notorious replacement chemical for older PFAS  — have been enforced. more...

By stephanie ebbs
In yet another strike against California, the Trump administration accused the state of "failing to protect Californians from degraded water," specifically citing concerns about waste from homeless populations getting into sewer systems. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote to California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday alleging the state has not addressed water pollution tied to the homelessness crisis in major cities like San Francisco, specifically when the sewer system can overflow during heavy rain and release untreated water into other areas like the San Francisco Bay. The letter specifically cites a report on NPR last year that cited a local news investigation describing concerns with trash, used needles from drug users and human waste on the streets. The letter also cites at least 23 instances in recent months where water districts in California released water that exceeded the allowed levels of pollutants like copper or cyanide. "The EPA is aware of the growing homelessness crisis developing in major California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the impact of this crisis on the environment. Indeed, press reports indicate that 'piles of human feces' on sidewalks and streets in these cities are becoming all too common," Wheeler said in the letter. "The EPA is concerned about the potential water quality impacts from pathogens and other contaminants from untreated human waste entering nearby waters," the letter added. Newsom's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday morning. more...

By Jameson Dow
After last week’s moves to force more pollution and lower clean air standards on California, the Environmental “Protection” Agency threatened this week to pull California’s federal highway funding if California doesn’t bow to their pressure and allow more pollution in their state. We’ve now learned that two states – Minnesota and New Mexico – will join California’s efforts to reduce tailpipe emissions in response to the EPA’s actions. Both states plan to adopt both California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate and its tailpipe emissions standards. For more background on how this story has developed, look at Electrek‘s articles from last week. We show how the EPA will have a hard time ending California’s rules and how the EPA’s own analysis shows that their rollback will kill people and cost money. Since then, California responded to the EPA’s likely illegal actions by filing a lawsuit with 23 states opposing the federal government’s attempt to revoke California’s Clean Air waiver. Minnesota and New Mexico are two of those states. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also voted to stay the course and accept an agreement made between the state and the automakers to voluntarily exceed federal emissions standards, roughly meeting the pre-rollback federal standards. But that wasn’t enough for the EPA, and they won’t drop their losing battle. On Tuesday they gave their reasoning for threatening California’s funding – a bizarre suggestion that the state hasn’t done enough to comply with the same federal clean air rules the EPA is currently trying to eliminate. After arguing last week that California’s waiver should be revoked because the state does not have “particular or unique” clean air needs, the EPA paradoxically argued earlier this week that California actually has exceptionally poor air quality and, as a result, federal funds should be withheld from the state. So much for “no particular or unique environmental problems.” California Governor Gavin Newsom responded to the threat, stating: “The White House has no interest in helping California comply with the Clean Air Act to improve the health and well-being of Californians. This letter is a threat of pure retaliation … We won’t relive entire summers when spending time outside amounted to a public health risk. We won’t be intimidated by this brazen political stunt.” more...

The panel of researchers has plans to continue their studies revealing that 21 million Americans live with unacceptable air pollution
An advisory panel of air pollution scientists disbanded by the Trump administration plans to continue their work with or without the US government. The researchers – from a group that reviewed the latest studies about how tiny particles of air pollution from fossil fuels make people sick – will assemble next month, a year from the day they were fired. They’ll gather in the same hotel in Washington DC and even have the same former staffer running the public meeting. Christopher Frey, a scientist from North Carolina State University who chaired the group, said 21 million Americans live with air that is dirtier than what the government deems acceptable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting reviews to determine whether those current standards should be tightened or loosened. Frey argued Trump’s EPA has significantly weakened its science review process. “As a public service, we can still tap our expertise and develop advice which we will share with EPA,” he said. The EPA has defended the changes it has made as a drive to encourage consideration of a wider range of viewpoints. The 20-person panel with Frey will include experts in epidemiology and toxicology, as well as people experienced in clinical experiments with humans. One of the dismissed members, Doug Dockery of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, was lead author of the landmark Six Cities study that linked the particle pollution from fossil fuels, called “particulate matter”, to early deaths. Considering after-hours trading? Here's how it might effect your stock market strategy. The Trump administration is accused by at least half a dozen whistleblowers of muzzling climate and pollution science. more...

Trump’s administration has pursued cuts in environmental protections that are critical to the health of all Americans
Donald Trump is set to hail his administration’s “environmental leadership” on Monday in a speech in which he is expected to declare the US a world leader on the issue. But since taking office two and a half years ago, the US president has been at the helm of an administration that has pursued numerous cuts in environmental protections and last year saw a rise in greenhouse gases of 3.4% – the biggest rise in emissions since 2010. He has also regularly publicly aired his doubts over the existence of climate change – previously calling it a “hoax”, suggesting that the climate could “change back again” and falsely claiming it was a phenomenon invented by China. A report by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at New York University’s school of law published in March said the Trump administration had “set its sights on watering down or outright repealing a half-dozen health and environmental rules critical to the health and welfare of all Americans as well as the planet”. Here are five of the biggest environmental setbacks under Trump: more...

By Michael Wilner
The Trump administration is ratcheting up its threats against California with a letter warning the state faces sanctions – including cuts in federal highway funding – over its “failure” to submit complete reports on its implementation of the Clean Air Act. In the letter to the California Air Resources Board, Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote that the state had the “worst air quality in the United States” and had “failed to carry out its most basic tasks” under the federal law. That law requires states to submit implementation plans to the EPA outlining their efforts to cut emissions of six types of pollutants. When President Donald Trump entered office, the administration faced a backlog of over 700 reports, and roughly 140 of those that remain are from California, Wheeler said in an interview. “When I learned about this a couple months ago, the question I asked the staffer was, ‘why are we holding on to these – why haven’t we acted?’” Wheeler told McClatchy. “And the response I got back was, ‘we didn’t want to deny them and they couldn’t approve them.’ Well that’s ridiculous to allow 34 million people to live in areas not in compliance with our air standards.” Wheeler’s warning to California is the Trump administration’s latest front in a protracted battle with the state over climate change and, in particular, the state’s unique authority to set its own standards for carbon dioxide emissions – a potent greenhouse gas. The EPA moved last week to rescind the federal waiver allowing California to do so, granted by the Clean Air Act of 1970, prompting a lawsuit from California joined within hours by 22 other states. The administration is moving separately to write new auto emissions standards that would apply to the entire country, rolling back stricter requirements that were set by the Obama administration in agreement with California in 2012. California leaders, however, have attempted to go around the administration, negotiating their own agreement with automakers to voluntarily lower emissions on new cars built through 2026. Thus far, four leading manufacturers have joined the agreement: Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen. more...   

By Sam Fossum and Ellie Kaufman, CNN
Washington (CNN) - In the latest confrontation between the bee industry and the Trump administration, a group of concerned beekeepers have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its July decision to expand the use of a pesticide that's known to harm bees and other pollinators. The Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Beekeeper Federation and beekeeper Jeff Anderson, who are represented by Earthjustice, have asked the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the EPA's decision earlier this summer to rollback several restrictions around the pesticide sulfoxaflor, which were put in place under the Obama administration over concerns it might be contributing to plummeting bee populations. Bees help pollinate a third of the crops we eat, including almonds, apples, avocados and grapes, and the steady decline in bee populations has caused alarm not just in the US but in Europe as well. Pollinators like bees are under threat because of parasites like varroa mites, widespread pesticide use, habitat loss and the climate crisis. An EPA report from earlier this summer notes that some forms of the pesticide sulfoxaflor can be "very highly toxic" to bees. The EPA defended their decision at the time by citing studies that show the chemical disappears from the environment faster than other alternatives. But Earthjustice and other critics have attacked the EPA for relying on studies funded by industry groups. "Honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves because of insecticides like sulfoxaflor, yet the Trump administration removes restrictions just to please the chemical industry," said Earthjustice lawyer Greg Loarie in a statement. "This is illegal and an affront to our food system, economy, and environment." The EPA did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. Michele Colopy of the Pollinator Stewardship Council attacked the EPA reliance on industry studies as "inappropriate." more...

By Miranda Green and John Bowden
A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration after it moved earlier in the week to revoke the California's authority to set its own vehicle emission standards, first granted under former President Obama. The lawsuit filed by California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) along with the leaders of 23 other states, D.C., Los Angeles and New York City, argues that the Trump administration unlawfully removed the state's waiver granted under the Clean Air Act. The suit also alleges that the decision to remove California's waiver, which is currently adopted by 12 other states, exceeds the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) authority. NHTSA, under the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly drafted the new emissions rule. Trump first tweeted the decision to remove the Golden State's waiver on Wednesday when he was visiting the state. DOT and EPA formally announced the decision on Thursday. "State Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Preemption Regulation be declared unlawful and set aside because it exceeds NHTSA’s authority, contravenes Congressional intent, and is arbitrary and capricious, and because NHTSA has failed to conduct the analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act," the suit filed in the D.C. District Court reads. Becerra said in a press release Friday that the Trump administration "insists on attacking the authority of California and other states to tackle air pollution and protect public health." more...   

Since automakers operate on a global scale and battery cars are being mandated in much of the rest of the world, it makes more sense to bring them to market in the U.S.
By Paul A. Eisenstein
The Trump administration formally announced plans Thursday to strip away the waiver that had allowed California to set its own fuel economy mandates, while also confirming that a rollback of federal mileage rules will be revealed in the coming weeks. Echoing the words of President Donald Trump, two senior White House officials said the moves would make tomorrow’s cars cleaner and safer, while also creating more U.S. jobs. As for the battery-electric vehicles the Obama-era rules would have encouraged, Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, dismissed them as little more than toys for the rich being subsidized by less affluent American motorists. While Wheeler said he hopes the administration’s moves will gain widespread support, that seems questionable. Several major automakers have already laid out plans to expand production of electric vehicles and other high-mileage models, despite Trump's rollback, and 14 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted the tougher California standards. The EPA chief stressed that the move to block California from setting greenhouse gas standards will not impact its ability to regulate other pollutants, such as ozone, adding that, “We hope the state will focus on these issues rather than trying to set fuel economy standards for the rest of the country.” The elimination of California’s ability to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases was announced first, administration officials acknowledged, in order to make it easier to defend against the anticipated legal challenges. On Wednesday, during a news conference in Sacramento, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra made it clear the state will not readily accept losing its emissions waiver. “For us, this is about survival,” said Becerra. “Our communities are screaming for help to address the climate crisis. Unlike the Trump administration, we don’t run scared. We’re prepared to lead. We’re prepared to fight. We’ll do what we must.” The administration will announce the second part of the mileage rules change in a matter of weeks, explained Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who appeared with Wheeler in Washington Thursday morning. Both the EPA and the DOT are jointly charged with regulating CAFE, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations. “The updated standards will be reasonable,” said Chao, indicating they likely will not be rolled back as much as the administration had first suggested during a news conference late last year. more...

By Ari Natter and Ryan Beene
The Trump administration will announce it is rescinding California’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles at an event at the EPA’s Washington headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, according to people familiar with the matter. The Environmental Protection Agency intends to announce it will revoke the so-called waiver underpinning California’s power to set vehicle greenhouse gas standards separately from the Trump administration’s broader rule to ease federal vehicle-efficiency standards, which is expected in the weeks ahead, the people said. The people asked to not be identified discussing plans prior to announcement. Among those invited to the agency’s headquarters are free-market groups that have championed the Trump administration’s rollback of automobile fuel economy and emissions standards adopted during the Obama administration. Plans for the announcement are still being developed and could change, one of the people said. The procedural move would allow the California attacks to proceed while the Trump administration continues to finalize federal fuel economy and emissions regulations for new autos after the 2020 model year. The plan also leaves intact California’s power to regulate smog-forming pollutants from autos and other sources. The measures need approval from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review before they can take effect. more...   

By ANNIE SNIDER
The Trump administration on Thursday announced the repeal one of the Obama era's most sweeping environmental rules — a set of pollution protections for small streams and wetlands that had riled up opposition from coal miners, home developers, farmers and oil and gas drillers. The action creates instant doubts about the legal status of myriad seasonal or isolated wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways, including vast swaths of the arid West. And it clears the way for the Environmental Protection Agency to finish a follow-up regulation in the coming months that could leave most of the nation's wetlands without any federal safeguards. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the repeal at the D.C. headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, one of the industry groups that had opposed the Obama administration's Waters of the U.S. rule. That 2015 regulation, also known as the Clean Water Rule, had cemented federal protections for headwater streams, Western rivers and nearby wetlands, in an effort to resolve questions raised by two muddled Supreme Court decisions. The repeal "removes an egregious power grab" by the Obama Administration, Wheeler said. "When President Trump took office he immediately set into motion a process to remove and replace regulations that were stifling economic development," he said. “This climate of regulatory certainty is breathing new life into local economies around the country and today’s action is a perfect example.” Environmental groups vowed to challenge the rollback, arguing that it jeopardizes drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans. Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, defended the Obama administration rule in a statement, saying it "represented solid science and smart public policy." more...

By Arden Farhi
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce Thursday that it has finalized a repeal of the Obama-era clean water rule that spells out protections for large and small bodies of water, according to two congressional aides familiar with the plans. The EPA will then write a new rule to replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation, which was established in 2015. The Trump administration rule is expected to cover fewer waterways than the current one and weaken existing protections. Soon after he was inaugurated, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA and the Army to "review and rescind or revise" the regulation. The order said that it's in the nation's interest to keep waterways free of pollution, while still promoting economic growth and cutting regulatory uncertainty. Many businesses have opposed the WOTUS rule, arguing that it was overly broad. The National Federation of Independent Business sued the Obama administration over the rule, complaining that it gave the federal government "jurisdiction over seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, and even depressions fields that are dry through most of the year." The federation also took issue with the fact that business owners could be fined $50,000 per day for violating the rule. In December 2018, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled the Trump administration's revision of the rule, touting it as one that would provide states and landowners with greater clarity and "certainty" about protected bodies of water. "For the first time, we are clearly defining the difference between federally protected waterways and state protected waterways," Wheeler said in a press release at the time. "Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals." more...

By Coral Davenport
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday is expected to complete the legal repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation, which had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and water bodies. The rollback of the 2015 measure, known as the Waters of the United States rule, has been widely expected since the early days of the Trump administration, when President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to begin the work of repealing and replacing it. Weakening the Obama-era water rule had been a central campaign pledge for Mr. Trump, who characterized it as a federal land-grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit. Environmentalists say Mr. Trump’s push to loosen clean-water regulations represents an assault on the nation’s streams and wetlands at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly declared his commitment to “crystal-clean water.” The repeal of the water rule, which is scheduled to be announced Thursday aft at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, will take effect in a matter of weeks. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, which had worked together to write the original Obama rule, are expected to issue a new, looser replacement rule by the end of this year. The rollback is the latest in a series of actions by the Trump administration to weaken or undo major environmental rules. Others include proposals to loosen regulations on planet-warming emissions from cars, power plants and oil and gas drilling rigs; moves designed to push new drilling in the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and efforts to weaken Endangered Species Act protections. more...

By Emma Newburger
The Trump administration is expected on Thursday to repeal a major Obama-era clean water regulation that limited the amount of pollution and chemicals that can be used near bodies of water like streams and wetlands. The rollback of the Waters of the United States rule is scheduled to be announced at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that has pushed for its repeal and replacement. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed replacing the 2015 water rule in December following an executive order from President Donald Trump, who has criticized the regulations for curbing the rights of farmers, developers and landowners. The new rule would limit the number of waterways the federal government can protect from pollution, including ditches, storm water control facilities and groundwater systems. It would also limit the government’s oversight to larger bodies of water. The repeal could take effect in just a few weeks. The clean water rollback is the latest in a string of moves by the administration to dismantle major environmental protections against pollutants, from rolling back regulations on methane emissions and energy-efficient light bulbs, to pushing for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Environmental groups condemned the move to weaken water regulations, claiming that loosening restrictions will substantially harm the country’s sources of safe drinking water and threatening the administration with lawsuits over the repeal. “The Clean Water Rule represented solid science and smart public policy. Where it has been enforced, it has protected important waterways and wetlands, providing certainty to all stakeholders,” said Jon Devine, director of federal water policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Trump administration’s wild-eyed attempts to reward polluters, however, knows no bounds, so it is repealing these important protections without regard for the law or sound science.” more...

By Jessica McDonald
Just as CNN was beginning its climate town hall event, President Donald Trump tweeted a list of “8 facts” boasting of the nation’s air quality and carbon emissions reductions. Several of his “facts,” however, are inaccurate or misleading. Contrary to the president’s claims, the United States — not China — is responsible for having released more carbon pollution than any other nation. Trump also erred when he said that no Americans live in regions with air pollution above the World Health Organization’s guideline level. The president’s counterprogramming arrived minutes after the first Democratic presidential candidate took the stage to talk about climate change. CNN dedicated seven hours to the event, which gave 10 of the top-polling candidates 40 minutes each to explain how they would approach the issue as president. In his Twitter thread, Trump began with carbon emissions before moving on to some of his favorite topics, including energy production and clean air and water. more...

By Drew Kann, CNN
(CNN) - In almost every corner of his administration, President Donald Trump has veered sharply from the policies of his predecessor -- and even past Republicans. But his rollback of regulations designed to limit global warming is one of the clearest ways he has worked to erase a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's legacy. From promising to leave the landmark Paris climate accord to relaxing restrictions on power plant emissions, Trump has attempted to remove many of the guardrails installed by the Obama administration to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases. These rollbacks come at a critical time. Earth just endured its hottest month on record, and Greenland's massive ice sheet is melting an alarming rate. Last fall, the world's top climate scientists warned that we have barely more than a decade to drastically cut global carbon emissions, to avoid facing the worst consequences of the climate crisis -- droughts, wildfires and food shortages impacting hundreds of millions of people. Regardless of what happens in the 2020 presidential election, critics say Trump has already cemented an environmental legacy that will be felt by generations to come. "He is locking in permanent, irreversible damage to our environment through his irresponsible environmental policies, including his efforts to block progress on climate change," said Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. "Once we go beyond key tipping points -- the melting of the major ice sheets -- there is no going back." Here's a look at some of Trump's most consequential climate policy rollbacks:

By Kim Heacox
Pebble Mine is just the latest story of greedy men exploiting nature for profit, and leaving us with the nasty side-effects. Back in my youth, while in Montana, I came across Berkeley Pit, called “the richest hill on earth.” There, churches and historic neighborhoods were bulldozed to expand the pit so greedy men could make their fortunes mining copper, silver and gold. After the riches were extracted, and problems arose, those men absolved themselves of any wrongdoing, and left. Over time, the mine closed and the pit began to fill with an acidic brew so toxic that when snow geese landed there, they died. As it threatened Montana’s groundwater, the pit became an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) superfund site that would cost American taxpayers billions of dollars for generations. I fear the same awaits Alaska’s Pebble Mine, a nightmare proposed by the Canadian mining company, Northern Dynasty. Don’t be fooled by the name. For many Alaskans, Pebble is a boulder on their heart. If built, it would be a massive pit one mile in diameter and 600ft deep. It would obliterate 3,500 acres of wetlands and 80-plus miles of salmon streams, and produce an estimated 10 billion tons of waste. Earthen dams would hold back toxic mine tailings, all in earthquake country, in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the richest sockeye salmon run in the world. What could go wrong?

"This is one of the world's most beautiful places, with a thriving salmon run, and now we'll get some...gold."
by Jon Queally, staff writer
"Gold over life, literally." That was the succinct and critical reaction of Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein to reporting on Friday that President Donald Trump had personally intervened—after a meeting with Alaska's Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy on Air Force One in June—to withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency's opposition to a gold mining project in the state that the federal government's own scientists have acknowledged would destroy native fisheries and undermine the state's fragile ecosystems. "If that mine gets put in, it would ... completely devastate our region. It would not only kill our resources, but it would kill us culturally." —Gayla Hoseth, Curyung Tribal Council/Bristol Bay Native Association.

By Emma Newburger
The Trump administration announced plans on Thursday to weaken regulation on climate-changing methane emissions, drawing immediate backlash from critics who say the rule will harm the environment and exacerbate global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule would loosen restrictions on oil and gas sites to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines and storage facilities. The standards enacted under former President Barack Obama required oil and gas companies to install controls to curb those emissions. The new rule would be the latest move by the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era emission regulations on major oil and gas industries, which are the main source of methane emissions in the U.S. Carbon dioxide is the most substantial greenhouse gas, and methane is the second. However, methane has 80 times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years in the atmosphere and accounts for nearly 10% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

A report puts a human and financial price on air pollution as a government panel looks to dismiss its costs.
By Alan Neuhauser, Staff Writer
More than 100,000 Americans each year die of heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses caused by air pollution spewed from factories, motor vehicles and even bucolic-seeming farmland, according to a new report that contradicts an EPA panel whose members downplayed the risks during a public meeting last month. The findings, in a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put a human toll and a price tag – some $886 billion a year – on the health impacts caused by air pollution, especially from fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5. "The link between fine particulate matter pollution and decreased health impacts is well-established in the literature from epidemiological studies, and our work builds on that," says study co-author Jason Hill, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Minnesota. "This is a substantial cost to human health, both in terms of lives lost and economic impact." Members of a powerful EPA committee, however, all but dismissed such connections during a meeting March 28, with some stating they did not even agree inhaling air pollution – including soot – could lead to an early death. There are "varying opinions on the adequacy of the evidence supporting the EPA's conclusion that there is a causal relationship between [particulate matter] exposure and mortality," Tony Cox, chairman of the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, said in prepared remarks, adding that he was "actually appalled" by what he claimed was a lack of evidence connecting air pollution to health consequences. According to the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the estimated annual toll – about 107,000 fatalities a year – is roughly equal to the number of people in the U.S. killed in car crashes every year. Such consequences are not evenly distributed: Emissions of PM 2.5, no surprise, are densest in cities and especially along the East Coast. However, agriculture accounts for about 15 percent of premature deaths caused by particulate matter, which is emitted by fertilizer and manure. Corn production alone generates about a quarter of such emissions.

By Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine, Drew Griffin and Ashley Hackett, CNN
(CNN) - The Environmental Protection Agency told staff scientists that it was no longer opposing a controversial Alaska mining project that could devastate one of the world's most valuable wild salmon fisheries just one day after President Trump met with Alaska's governor, CNN has learned. The EPA publicly announced the reversal July 30, but EPA staff sources tell CNN that they were informed of the decision a month earlier, during a hastily arranged video conference after Trump's meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The governor, a supporter of the project, emerged from that meeting saying the president assured him that he's "doing everything he can to work with us on our mining concerns." The news came as a "total shock" to some top EPA scientists who were planning to oppose the project on environmental grounds, according to sources. Those sources asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. The copper-and-gold mine planned near Bristol Bay, Alaska, known as Pebble Mine, was blocked by the Obama administration's EPA after scientists found that the mine would cause "complete loss of" the bay's fish habitat. EPA insiders tell CNN that the timing of the agency's internal announcement suggests Trump was personally involved in the decision. Dunleavy met with Trump aboard Air Force One on June 26, as the President's plane was on the tarmac in Alaska. The President had stopped there on his way to the G20 summit in Japan.

It could actually increase air pollution, and it’s a pretty bad deal.
By David Roberts
In June, the Trump administration unveiled its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Last week, a coalition of 29 states and cities filed a lawsuit to block the rule, claiming that it violates Trump’s obligations under the Clean Air Act. And on Sunday, nonpartisan research firm Resources for the Future, along with researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Syracuse University, and the Boston University School of Public Health, released new research showing that even Environmental Protection Agency’s meager projected pollution reductions from its rule are likely overestimated. The story of EPA carbon regulations is long and tangled, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version: The president’s plan is the bare minimum the EPA thinks it can get away with. It won’t reduce emissions much; in fact, it is likely to increase both carbon dioxide and local air pollutants, along with their health impacts, in more than a dozen states. (Seriously.) And the EPA is going to have a hell of a time justifying it to a court. Now let’s walk through the longer version of the story. Most coverage so far has focused on the plan’s striking weakness (for obvious reasons), but there are several other aspects of the fight over power plant emissions that are worth understanding. How these policy and legal questions get resolved will have enormous influence on what the next administration — if we ever make it to another administration — can do to address climate change. So, with that in mind, here are the six things you need to know about Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) plan.

The Trump administration has repeatedly targeted air quality standards.
By E.A. Crunden
More than 30,000 deaths have been linked to poor air quality in the United States, according to new research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And even at levels considered to be safe, researchers argue that air pollution can increase mortality rates. The study, released Tuesday, was also supported by the research charity Wellcome Trust, and reinforces long-running concerns over microscopic pollution particles in the air and their impact on human health. It also widens the gap between the Trump administration’s efforts to rollback clean air rules and the government’s own findings on the importance of air quality. Researchers from Imperial College London and Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Air, Climate, and Energy Solutions authored the new study, published in PLOS Medicine, which probes the impacts of air pollution across the contiguous United States from 1999 to 2015. At the center of the study is PM2.5, atmospheric particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers — 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. These particles typically come from sources like power plants and cars, and are so tiny that they can travel deep into the lungs, risking various health problems like cancer and lung disease. The current national standard is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) but Tuesday’s study shows that might not be strict enough — while PM2.5 has declined nationally since 1999, the researchers found that PM2.5 levels as low as 2.8ug/m3 are associated with an uptick in deaths.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule prioritizes making coal-fired plants more efficient.
by Alex Lubben
President Donald Trump has made a habit of undoing his predecessor's accomplishments, especially environmental regulations. Now, his EPA has replaced the only rule meant to limit greenhouse gas emissions — and potentially caused the death of thousands of people in the process. Speaking to a crowd full of coal miners in uniform Wednesday morning, EPA Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler announced a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce CO2 levels from energy production by a third by 2030. The Trump administration’s new plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, stipulates that, to reduce emissions, coal-fired plants just need to get more efficient. “Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE [the Affordable Clean Energy rule] adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford,” Wheeler said at the press conference. But according to the EPA’s own analysis, the increased air pollution could result in as many as 1,400 deaths per year by 2030 and 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems. Federal data has also shown that the air is getting dirtier: Last year had 15 percent more days with dirty air than the average between 2013 and 2016. And since the Clean Power Plan was proposed in 2014, the evidence that climate change will kill people has only mounted. The World Health Organization estimates that 250,000 people will die per year between 2030 and 2050. But the Trump administration apparently doesn’t see the potential effects. “I think our CO2 output is either flat or down in a growing economy,” Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said at Wednesday’s press conference. Carbon emissions, in fact, spiked in the U.S. last year.

The Trump administration has promised vast changes to U.S. science and environmental policy—and we’re tracking them here as they happen.
By Michael Greshko, Laura Parker, Brian Clark Howard, Daniel Stone, Alejandra Borunda, and Sarah Gibbens
The Trump Administration’s tumultuous presidency has brought a flurry of changes—both realized and anticipated—to U.S. environmental policy. Many of the actions roll back Obama-era policies that aimed to curb climate change and limit environmental pollution, while others threaten to limit federal funding for science and the environment. It’s a lot to keep track of, so National Geographic will be maintaining an abbreviated timeline of the Trump Administration’s environmental actions and policy changes, as well as reactions to them. We will update this article as news develops.

Rolled Back Under Trump
By NADJA POPOVICH, LIVIA ALBECK-RIPKA and KENDRA PIERRE-LOUIS
President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses. A New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 80 environmental rules and regulations on the way out under Mr. Trump. Our list represents two types of policy changes: rules that were officially reversed and rollbacks still in progress. The Trump administration has released an aggressive schedule to try to finalize many of these rollbacks this year.

By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
The email arrived at lunchtime Tuesday from a top aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Our Big Day Today” read the subject line of the message, which went to thousands of EPA employees. It detailed how President Trump would be visiting the agency, whose budget he recently proposed cutting by nearly a third, to sign a sweeping executive order aimed at unraveling efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to combat climate change. “This is an important moment for EPA,” chief of staff Ryan Jackson wrote. “As the Administrator has mentioned many times, we do not have to choose between environmental protection and economic development.” Jackson cautioned that there was “limited space” to see Trump sign his order in the EPA’s wood-paneled Map Room. But there was also limited interest from many of the agency’s career employees.

by CARLY CASSELLA
President Trump may have promised to "get rid of the regulations that are just destroying us," but it seems as though his administration's policies will only make matters worse. A new opinion piece, written by two Harvard researchers in a leading medical journal, has calculated that the Trump administration's environmental agenda could result in 80,000 more deaths and lead to respiratory problems for more than 1 million people every decade. The column was written by a Harvard biostatistician and a Harvard public health economist, and while the article is not peer-reviewed, most of the calculations are based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) itself. In less than a year and a half, President Trump and the EPA have successfully reversed or proposed to reverse no less than 60 environmental rules. Nevertheless, these regulatory roll backs were made without considering the impact that such measures could have on public health. As a result, Harvard researchers have put forward "an extremely conservative estimate" of what these public health consequences could look like. Their essay predicts, for instance, that the Trump administration's repeal of the Clean Power Plan will result in an estimated 36,000 deaths and a whopping 630,000 extra cases of childhood respiratory problems – all in the next decade.

On February 17th, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA. In his former role as the Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt sued the EPA on a baker’s dozen occasions. He's stated that he believes that greenhouse gasses and humans role in the Earth’s changing climate remain “unclear.” Under Pruitt, the EPA has cut budgets, been reticence on enforcing environmental laws, and the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology removed the word “science” from its mission statement.

The US government on Tuesday unveiled a plan to roll back clean water rules protecting the nation's waterways and wetlands, fulfilling a pledge from President Donald Trump to farmers and supporters who view environmental regulations as too strict. The proposed changes to the Clean Water Act would "remove and replace" rules set by the administration of Barack Obama in 2015, which was widely praised by environmental protection activists. That rule limited the runoff from pesticide and fertilizer products allowed in a majority of the nation's waterways, from large rivers to swampy areas located on private property.

The Week Staff
Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency has made industry happy and environmentalists angry. Here's everything you need to know: What is the EPA's mission? The agency was created by President Richard Nixon in 1970 — a time when industrial pollution shrouded cities in smog, turned rivers and lakes into toxic stews of human waste and chemicals, and left shorelines blackened by garbage and oil spills. "Through our years of past carelessness," Nixon said, "we incurred a debt to nature, and now that debt is being called." He tasked the new agency with protecting Americans' health and the environment. For most of the past half-century, Congress and the White House have enacted environmental laws that set out broad policy goals, which the EPA turns into regulations rooted in scientific research. These regulations carry the force of law. Essentially, Congress loans the EPA its constitutional authority to regulate commerce, on the assumption that scientists and technically oriented experts are able to make more specific, up-to-date regulations than legislators can.

The environmental policy of the Donald Trump administration represents a shift from the policy priorities and goals of his predecessor, Barack Obama. While Obama's environmental agenda prioritized the reduction of carbon emissions through the use of clean renewable energy, the Trump administration has sought to increase fossil fuel use and scrap many environmental regulations, which he has referred to as impediments to business. Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, leaving the U.S. the only nation that has not joined the agreement. Trump campaigned on a pledge to roll back government regulations, and within days of taking office he began to implement his "America First Energy Plan", which does not mention renewable energy. He signed executive orders to approve two controversial oil pipelines and executive orders requiring a federal review of the Clean Water Rule and the Clean Power Plan. Trump called for more drilling in national parks and announced plans to open up more federal land for energy development. His Department of the Interior has announced plans to allow drilling in nearly all U.S. waters, the largest expansion of offshore oil and gas leasing ever proposed. In 2018 the administration proposed drastic cuts in funding for the Endangered Species Act and in 2019, they announced major changes in how it is to be implemented. The administration has been charged with re-writing EPA pollution- control policies of chemicals that are known to be serious health risks to make them more friendly to the chemical industry. In April 2018, the administration announced plans to undo the Obama administration's auto fuel efficiency and emissions standards. A 2018 analysis reported that the Trump administration's rollbacks and proposed reversals of environmental rules would likely "cost the lives of over 80,000 US residents per decade and lead to respiratory problems for many more than 1 million people."

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