The 2018 midterm elections will be memorialized as among the most contentious in modern history. Charges and counter-charges of racism, lies, corruption, and sexual predation are not all the lead up to November’s balloting will be remembered for, however. The 2018 elections are also proving to be the most expensive midterms to date.
Once more unto the breach, the attorneys representing the youthful plaintiffs in Juliana v US were back before a judge defending their clients’ right to have their day in court.
The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may do more to weaken the nation’s environmental protections than the election of Donald J. Trump. A bold statement, I know, but a scenario all too easily imagined …
The impact Trump and company are having on federal clean energy and climate policies goes beyond regulatory rescissions and under-funded and mismanaged programs. Forced to make hard choices the ties that have bound the clean energy and environmental communities are fraying.
The growing number of legal cases is the result of the failure of the legislative and executive branches to craft a stable framework of environmental protections based upon the overwhelming preponderance of scientific research that even the oil companies have come to accept.
Increasing speculation on the early retirement of Donald Trump from the presidency naturally leads to thoughts of how federal clean energy and climate programs would fare under President Mike Pence. The short answer, based on his history of public service is not well.
It is no secret President Trump has had clean energy and environmental regulations in his sights at least for as long as he has been running for president. As president, Trump has begun to make good on his promises to roll back federal environmental and clean energy policies and programs. These are among the only promises he has kept during his first ten months in office.
When the Department’s report was finally released, it admitted the rise of increasingly cheap and available solar and wind were not the culprits condemning coal and nuclear to the slag heap of U.S. power supplies. Still, the report suggested—strongly—the nation needed to prop up the two sectors the market was otherwise turning away from–for reliability and security reasons.
Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards. Years after Flint declared a state of emergency in December 2015, the agency is delaying publication of rules that could prevent lead poisoning.
On Tuesday, the president signed an executive order to improve what he called the country’s “badly broken” infrastructure, which he likened to what could be found in a “third world country.” The order calls for a $1 trillion revitalization package, though no legislation currently exists for this upgrade. The order is intended to eliminate and streamline some of the permitting regulations needed to construct federally-funded roads, bridges, pipelines and other infrastructure.
If the Trump administration chooses to reject the pending national Climate Science Special Report, it would be more damaging than pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Full stop. This is a bold claim, but as an economist and scientist who was a vice chair of the committee that shepherded the last national climate assessment report to its completion, I can explain why this is the case.
Deregulating the nation’s environment is proving more problematic for Trump and company than they anticipated. There is, I suppose, some consolation in that. Although at the same time, federal collaboration with states and the private sector to protect the environment and to move the nation toward a low-carbon future is pretty much at a standstill. Defense has become the new offense, since The Donald’s settling into the Oval Office.