Monday, January 07, 2019

78 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump. (NY Times)

The most corrupt President ever -- far worse than the administrations of corrupt Republican Presidents Warren Gamaliel Harding, Richard Milhous Nixon, et al -- DONALD JOHN TRUMP is a clear and present danger to our frail planet, attempting to gut environmental protection.  Here's the updated New York Times list, based on Harvard University's environmental rollback tracker:

Since his first days in office, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change.
A New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources, counts nearly 80 environmental rules 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. Nearly a dozen more rules – summarized at the bottom of this page – were rolled back and then later reinstated, often following legal challenges.



Air pollution and emissions

Drilling and extraction

Infrastructure and planning


Toxic substances and safety

Water pollution

The process of rolling back regulations has not always been smooth. In some cases, the administration has failed to provide a strong legal argument in favor of proposed changes or agencies have skipped key steps in the rulemaking process, like notifying the public and asking for comment. In several cases, courts have ordered agencies to enforce their own rules.
All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could lead to at least 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people, according to a separate analysis conducted by researchers from Harvard. That number, however, is likely to be “a major underestimate of the global public health impact,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Here are the details for the policies targeted by the administration so far. Are there rollbacks we missed? Email or tweet @nytclimate.

Air pollution and emissions


1. Canceled a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions. Environmental Protection Agency | Read more
2. Revised and partially repealed an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions on public lands, including intentional venting and flaring from drilling operations. Interior Department | Read more
3. Loosened a Clinton-era rule designed to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters. E.P.A. | Read more
4. Stopped enforcing a 2015 rule that prohibited the use of hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases, in air-conditioners and refrigerators. E.P.A. | Read more
5. Repealed a requirement that state and regional authorities track tailpipe emissions from vehicles traveling on federal highways. Transportation Department | Read more
6. Amended rules that govern how refineries monitor pollution in surrounding communities. E.P.A. | Read more
7. Directed agencies to stop using an Obama-era calculation of the “social cost of carbon” that rulemakers used to estimate the long-term economic benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Executive Order | Read more
8. Withdrew guidance that federal agencies include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews. (But several district courts have ruled that emissions must be included in such reviews.) Executive Order; Council on Environmental Quality | Read more
9. Reverted to a weaker 2009 pollution permitting program for new power plants and expansions. E.P.A. | Read more


10. Proposed weakening Obama-era fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks. The proposal also challenges California’s right to set its own more stringent standards, which can be followed by other states. E.P.A. and Transportation Department | Read more
11. Announced intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement (but the process of withdrawing cannot be completed until 2020). Executive Order | Read more
12. Proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which would have set strict limits on carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants. In August 2018, the E.P.A. drafted a replacement plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, that would let states set their own rules. Executive Order; E.P.A. | Read more
13. Proposed eliminating Obama-era restrictions that in effect required newly built coal power plants to capture carbon dioxide emissions. E.P.A. | Read more
14. Proposed a legal justification for weakening an Obama-era rule that limited mercury emissions from coal power plants. E.P.A. | Read more
15. Proposed revisions to standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified and reconstructed power plants. Executive Order; E.P.A. | Read more
16. Began review of emissions rules for power plant start-ups, shutdowns and malfunctions. In September 2018, E.P.A. officials said they were considering repealing the rule. E.P.A. | Read more
17. Proposed relaxing Obama-era requirements that companies monitor and repair methane leaks at oil and gas facilities. E.P.A. | Read more
18. Proposed changing rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from landfills. E.P.A. | Read more
19. Announced rewrite of an Obama-era rule meant to reduce air pollution in national parks and wilderness areas. E.P.A. | Read more
20. Weakened oversight of some state plans for reducing air pollution in national parks. (In Texas, the E.P.A. rejected an Obama-era plan that would have required the installation of equipment at some coal-burning power plants to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.) E.P.A. | Read more
21. Proposed repealing leak-repair, maintenance and reporting requirements for large refrigeration and air-conditioning systems containing hydrofluorocarbons. E.P.A. | Read more

Drilling and extraction


22. Lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands. Executive Order; Interior Department | Read more
23. Repealed an Obama-era rule governing  royalties for oil, gas and coal leases on federal lands, which replaced a 1980s rule that critics said allowed companies to underpay the federal government. Interior Department | Read more
24. Made significant cuts to the borders of two national monuments in Utah and recommended border and resource management changes to several more. Presidential Proclamation; Interior Department | Read more
25. Revoked an Obama-era executive order designed to preserve ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters in favor of a policy focused on energy production and economic growth. Executive Order | Read more
26. Rescinded water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian landsInterior Department | Read more
27. Scrapped a proposed rule that required mines to prove they could pay to clean up future pollution. E.P.A. | Read more
28. Withdrew a requirement that Gulf oil rig owners prove they could cover the costs of removing rigs once they have stopped producing. Interior Department | Read more
29. Approved construction of the Dakota Access pipelineless than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Under the Obama administration, the Army Corps of Engineers had said it would explore alternative routes. Executive Order; Army | Read more
30. Changed how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission considers the indirect effects of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews of pipelines. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission | Read more
31. Permitted the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The practice, which can kill marine life and disrupt fisheries, was blocked under the Obama administration. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Read more


32. Proposed opening most of America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drillingInterior Department | Read more
33. Expedited an environmental review process to clear the way for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Congress; Interior Department | Read more
34. Ordered review of regulations on oil and gas drilling in national parks where mineral rights are privately owned. Executive Order | Read more
35. Proposed changes to regulations for oil well control and blowout prevention systems implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Interior Department | Read more
36. Recommended shrinking three marine protected areas, or opening them to commercial fishing. Executive Order; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Read more
37. Proposed revisions to regulations on offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels in the Arctic that were developed after a 2013 accident. Executive Order; Interior Department | Read more

Infrastructure and planning


38. Revoked Obama-era flood standards for federal infrastructure projects, like roads and bridges. The standards required the government to account for sea-level rise and other climate change effects. Executive Order | Read more
39. Relaxed the environmental review process for federal infrastructure projects. Executive Order | Read more
40. Revoked a directive for federal agencies to minimize impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources when approving development projects. Executive Order | Read more
41. Revoked a 2016 order promoting  “climate resilience” in the northern Bering Sea region in Alaska. Executive Order | Read more
42. Revoked an Obama-era order that had set a goal of cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over 10 years. Executive Order | Read more
43. Reversed an update to the Bureau of Land Management’s public land use planning process. Congress | Read more
44. Withdrew an Obama-era order to consider climate change in managing natural resources in national parks. National Park Service | Read more
45. Restricted most Interior Department environmental studies to one year in length and a maximum of 150 pages, citing the need to reduce paperwork. Interior Department | Read more
46. Withdrew a number of Obama-era Interior Department climate change and conservation policies that the agency said could “burden the development or utilization of domestically produced energy resources.” Interior Department | Read more
47. Eliminated the use of an Obama-era planning system designed to minimize harm from oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks. Interior Department | Read more
48. Eased the environmental review processes for small wireless infrastructure projects with the goal of expanding 5G wireless networks. Federal Communications Commission | Read more


49. Announced plans to speed up and streamline the environmental review process for forest restoration projects. Agriculture Department | Read more



50. Overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands. Interior Department | Read more
51. Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges. Congress | Read more
52. Ended an Obama-era rule barring hunters on some Alaska public lands from using bait to lure and kill grizzly bears. National Park Service; Interior Department | Read more
53. Withdrew proposed limits on endangered marine mammals and sea turtles unintentionally caught by fishing nets on the West Coast. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Read more
54. Amended fishing regulations for a number of species to allow for longer seasons and higher catch rates. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Read more
55. Rolled back an Obama-era policy aimed at protecting migratory birds. Interior Department | Read more
56. Overturned a ban on using parts of migratory birds in handicrafts made by Alaskan Natives. Interior Department | Read more


57. Proposed stripping the Endangered Species Act of key provisions. Interior Department | Read more
58. Released a plan to open nine million acres of Western land to oil and gas drilling by weakening habitat protections for the sage grouse, an imperiled bird with an elaborate mating dance. Interior Department | Read more

Toxic substances and safety


59. Narrowed the scope of a 2016 law mandating safety assessments for potentially toxic chemicals, like dry-cleaning solvents and paint strippers. The E.P.A. will focus on direct exposure and exclude air, water and ground contamination. E.P.A. | Read more
60. Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids, like oil and ethanol. Transportation Department | Read more
61. Removed copper filter cake, an electronics manufacturing byproduct comprised of heavy metals, from the “hazardous waste” list. E.P.A. | Read more


62. Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a potentially neurotoxic pesticide. In August 2018, a federal court ordered the E.P.A. to ban the pesticide, but the agency appealed the ruling. E.P.A. | Read more
63. Proposed eliminating a program designed to limit exposure to lead , which is known to damage brain and nervous system development. E.P.A. | Read more
64. Announced a review of an Obama-era rule lowering coal dust limits in mines. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration said there were no immediate plans to change the dust limit, but the review is continuing. Labor Department | Read more

Water pollution


65. Revoked a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams. Congress | Read more
66. Withdrew a proposed rule reducing pollutants, including air pollution, at sewage treatment plants. E.P.A. | Read more
67. Revoked federal rules regulating coal ash waste from power plants and granted oversight to the states. E.P.A. | Read more
68. Withdrew a proposed rule requiring  groundwater protections for certain uranium mines. E.P.A. | Read more


69. Proposed rolling back protections for certain tributaries and wetlands that the Obama administration wanted covered by the Clean Water Act. E.P.A.; Army | Read more
70. Delayed by two years an E.P.A. rule regulating limits on toxic discharge, which can include mercury, from power plants into public waterways. E.P.A. | Read more



71. Prohibited funding environmental and community development projects through corporate settlements of federal lawsuits. Justice Department | Read more
72. Announced intent to stop payments to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations program to help poorer countries reduce carbon emissions. Executive Order | Read more
73. Reversed restrictions on the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks desgined to cut down on litter, despite a Park Service report that the effort worked. Interior Department | Read more


74. Proposed limiting the studies used by the E.P.A. for rulemaking to only those that make data publicly available. (The move was widely criticized by scientists, who said it would effectively block the agency from considering landmark research that relies on confidential health data.) E.P.A. | Read more
75. Proposed changes to the way cost-benefit analyses are conducted under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes. E.P.A. | Read more
76. Delayed compliance dates for federal building efficiency standards until Sept. 30, 2017. No updates have been published, and the status of the rule remains unclear. Energy Department | Read more
77. Proposed withdrawing efficiency standards for residential furnaces and commercial water heatersdesigned to reduce energy use. Energy Department | Read more
78. Withdrew a proposed rule that would inform car owners about fuel-efficient replacement tires. The Transportation Department is scheduled to republish a proposal in June 2019. Transportation Department | Read more

11 rules were reinstated following
lawsuits and other challenges

1. Reinstated a rule aimed at improving safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals following a federal court order. E.P.A. | Read more
2. Approved the Keystone XL pipeline rejected by President Barack Obama, but a federal judge blocked the project from going forward, saying the Trump administration did not present a “reasoned explanation” for the approval. Executive Order; State Department | Read more
3. Reversed course on repealing emissions standards for “glider” trucks — vehicles retrofitted with older, often dirtier engines — after Andrew Wheeler took over as head of the E.P.A. E.P.A. | Read more
4. Delayed a compliance deadline for new national ozone pollution standards by one year, but later reversed course. E.P.A. | Read more
5. Suspended an effort to lift restrictions on mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. E.P.A. | Read more
6. Announced intent to regulate paint removers containing methylene chloride after pressure from families who had lost relatives to poisoning. The E.P.A. had indicated it would not finalize regulatory action on the substance. (But so far it has not moved to ban its commercial use.) E.P.A. | Read more
7. Delayed implementation of a rule regulating the certification and training of pesticide applicators, but a judge ruled that the E.P.A. had done so illegally and declared the rule in effect. E.P.A. | Read more
8. Initially delayed publishing efficiency standards for household appliances, but later published them after multiple states and environmental groups sued. Energy Department | Read more
9. Reissued a rule limiting the discharge of mercury by dental offices into municipal sewers after a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. E.P.A. | Read more
10. Re-posted a proposed rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft, after initially changing its status to “inactive” on the E.P.A. website. E.P.A. | Read more
11. Removed the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List, but the protections were later reinstated by a federal judge. Interior Department | Read more

Note: This list does not include new rules proposed by the Trump administration that do not roll back previous policies, nor does it include court actions that have affected environmental policies independent of executive or legislative action.

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