Donald Trump seems determined to, one way or another, do away with anything Obama did that can be undone. [WW]
Under a new rule proposed by the National Park Service, Alaskan game officials can decide whether bear cubs can be killed alongside their mothers; caribou can be shot from a boat while they are swimming; wolves, including pups, can be hunted in their dens; and other animals can be targeted from airplanes and snowmobiles. Animals could also be baited with sweets and killed or poisoned. [WP, 5/25/18]
President Trump has signed three executive orders making it easier for the federal government to fire employees it considers poor performers. [WSJ, 5/26-27]
Emails newly released under the Freedom of Information Act contain evidence that the EPA and White House are attempting to prevent the release of a report that finds that two classes of chemicals endanger health at a lower level than the EPA currently describes as safe. The chemicals are contaminating U.S. water systems, and the cost to clean up the contamination and deal with the deleterious health effects could be enormous. The Department of Defense has 126 facilities where nearby water had evidence of unsafe levels. [Politico]
The Trump administration has quietly eliminated funding for NASA’s research program that tracks greenhouse gases around the world. [Huffington Post, 5/11/18]
The Trump administration is proposing to bar clinics that provide abortion services or referrals from receiving federal family-planning funds, a far reaching move that would deprive Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers of millions of dollars a year.
To qualify for Title X money under the new policy an organization would need to have a “bright line of physical as well as financial separation between family planning programs and facilities where abortion is performed, supported or referred for as a method of family planning according to a summary of the proposal obtained by the New York Times.” [WP, 5/19/18]
The Energy Department is proposing a new plan to bail out failing nuclear and coal-fired power plants by forcing grid operators to use the electricity they produce, a move that could upend competitive power markets and raise prices for consumers. [WSJ, 6/2-3/18]
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told members of its consumer advisory board on Wednesday that it’s letting them go. This occurred two days after some board members accused the agency’s acting director, Mick Mulvaney, of trying to sideline the statutorily-required group. [Public Policy Law 360, 6/7/18]
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt unveiled a long-awaited plan to require that EPA studies used in future regulations must have open and transparent data. Pruitt said the proposed rule is part of his larger effort to dramatically reform the way science is used at the agency, which also included the removal of Science Advisory Board members who received EPA grants and were replaced with industry-friendly researchers.
“The science we use is going to be transparent, it’s going to be reproducible, it’s going to be able to be analyzed by those in the marketplace, and those that watch what we do can make informed decisions about whether we’ve drawn the proper conclusions or not,” Pruitt said yesterday at EPA headquarters.
The proposed rule would allow some data to avoid public scrutiny, as it carved out an exemption for industry data that is considered confidential business information, something the chemical industry has sought.
Critics argue that Pruitt’s plan would prevent the use of groundbreaking studies, including those that draw on decades of research that links air pollution to human health. At the same time, it would allow the use of studies, including those conducted by Science Advisory Board members selected by Pruitt and funded by the American Petroleum Institute, that downplay health risks of air pollution. (Climatewire, 4/11/18)