President Trump’s executive orders on climate change and the environment — which are expected to dismantle much of former President Obama’s environmental agenda — are set to be released any day.
As Washington awaits the orders, reactions fall along party and interest lines — with Republicans and the energy sector calling for more cuts, and Democrats and environmentalists threatening lawsuits.
The upcoming orders are anticipated to disassemble Obama’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan and end the ban on federal land coal mining.
In addition, the orders are expected to break with the Obama administration’s aggressive second-term global warming agenda by including provisions that change how the federal government handles climate change regulations, and oil and gas drilling rules.
Finally, Trump is reported to be considering reducing the United States’ commitment in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Congressional Republicans and the energy sector are encouraging the president to make broad changes while insulating those changes against any legal challenges.
A Trump ally, Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who served as an adviser on energy during his presidential race, said, “There’s some discussion about how much to throw into it, how comprehensive it’ll be.”
While energy was not a primary focus of Trump’s run for president, he made promises to increase jobs by reducing Obama’s climate agenda and government regulations.
Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, stated, “We’re very hopeful the president can deliver on his campaign promise to lift the regulatory weight his predecessor placed on our industry.”
In his first few months in office, Trump has kept his campaign promises by proposing a budget cut of 31 percent to the EPA and signing executive orders challenging standards on the Clean Water Rule and car emissions. Congress has backed the president by working to pass legislation to repeal Obama regulations that stifled the energy sector, resulting in significant support from that group.
Stephen Brown, vice president for federal government affairs at fuel refiner Tesoro Corp, reacted, “Fundamentally, we are talking about unwinding eight years of multi-agency policies and regulations in two months.”
On the other side of the aisle, environmentalists and Democrats are getting ready to fight Trump and his environmental orders. Although lawsuits against Trump’s actions are not planned on day one, groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council are putting together litigation.
“What we’ve heard has been extremely troubling,” said the director of regulatory policy and lead attorney at the Environmental Defense Fund, Tomás Carbonell.
“Certainly, the administration and [EPA Administrator] Scott Pruitt seem to be moving to roll back these protections. We’ll certainly be looking closely to make sure that there’s not a thumb put on the scale in [the rulemaking] process.”
Others are hoping to rally the public, stating the upcoming environmental orders will help Democrats strengthen their ground fight against other issues such as healthcare reform and Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch.
“Democrats have to raise the profile of this issue and fight as hard as we’re fighting back on a lot of other issues,” stated Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.
H/T: The Hill
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