It is hard to imagine a better start to a Presidential Administration for the fossil fuel industry than this one. Three of Trump’s appointees to cabinet positions — Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy and Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State — are deeply intertwined with the energy industry. Tillerson is, of course, the former CEO of ExxonMobil. Scott Pruitt has been bankrolled by the Koch Brothers and other oil industry billionaires and infamously sent letters to government agencies — as a public official — that were written by energy industry lobbyists. The oil and gas industry cheered Rick Perry’s selection to a post he apparently believed involved serving as an ambassador for their interests.
Congress is cooperating nicely with the Trump Administration’s efforts to put the government in the hands of the fossil fuel industry. Here are the moves Congress has made just this week:
The House voted — on the day Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State — to repeal a regulation requiring mining and extraction companies to disclose bribes to foreign governments; the Senate followed suit today;
The full Congress has now repealed a regulation that limits coal companies from dumping coal ash into streams;
The House today voted to repeal a rule that regulates methane flaring from natural gas drilling on public and tribal lands.
Trump himself has also granted some favors to energy companies, ordering his administration to expedite and approve permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline.
Stay tuned for many more actions from the Administration and/or Congress. If Pruitt is confirmed to lead EPA, expect quick action to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, which regulates greenhouse gas emissions; pull out of the Paris Agreement; roll back automobile emissions standards and more. We are witnessing a concerted effort to Make America Great Again for Bribing, Polluting Fossil Fuel Companies.