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Climate Change Removed from White House Website

Well, that didn't take long! Goodbye Obama Clean Action Plan and restrictive environmental regulations; hello shale oil and gas revolution.
January 22, 2017, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Shortly after President-elect Donald J. Trump uttered, "I do," to the presidential oath of office administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Jan. 20, White House webmasters removed references to the Obama Climate Initiative, including the Clean Power Plan rule, replacing them with President Trump's plans to promote fossil fuels.

From "An America First Energy Plan":

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry, President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan [PDF] and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

A week before the inauguration, Trump received good news from the U.S. Supreme Court—it "agreed to resolve jurisdictional wrangling over which federal court should hear challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s contentious 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule," reported Larry Liebesman for The Hill on Jan. 20.

Issued in [May] 2015, the WOTUS rule unleashed a torrent of Federal litigation. Thirty-one states, many local governments, and private industry asserted that the rule unconstitutionally expanded the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) reach.

In October 2015, in "a stinging defeat to Obama’s most ambitious effort to keep streams and wetlands clean," the contentious rule was blocked from implementation by "the Cincinnati-based Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit..., saying it looks likely that the rule, dubbed Waters of the United States, is illegal," reported Timothy Cama for The Hill.

More from "An America First Energy Plan":

  • "Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own."

Without assigning a financial value to those reserves, Nick Cunningham of reported on Jan. 2 that "[o]il prices are rising and the worst of the downturn appears to be over. After two years of spending cuts, 2017 could mark the first time in several years that spending levels across the oil and gas industry increase." Eleven days later, Cunningham reported that "[t]he oil rally is running out of steam." Apparently, the only sure thing in the oil patch is volatility.

However, Trump attempts to distinguish himself from former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin and her "drill, baby, drill" energy philosophy:

  • "Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water."

Trump's nominees to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and Energy Department, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, had their confirmation hearings on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19, respectively, and await to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Hat tip to Ashley ParkerWhite House reporter for The Washington Post.

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Published on Friday, January 20, 2017 in Planetizen
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