Trump Administration

Scott Pruitt’s Faulty Logic

There’s a gaping hole in Pruitt’s argument for repealing the Obama’s climate change rule.

An earlier blog post pointed to a logical gap in the current EPA’s justification for repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama Administration effort to cut emissions from electrical power plants. He makes an argument that EPA can only base rules on actions that polluters can take within a facility, and jumps from there […]

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Small Hands/Small Infrastructure

It’s not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a plan for toll road and local tax hikes.

The initial response to Trump’s infrastructure plan has been justifiably critical.  Jennifer Rubin, my favorite conservative columnist, says the plan doesn’t pass the straight-face test.  A good deal of it is designed to encourage privatization of infrastructure or to eliminate environmental safeguards for new projects.  I want to focus on a different aspect of the […]

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Eight Setbacks for Trump

Trump hasn’t had things all his own way. Not by any means.

The Trump Administration has begun some bold initiatives but it’s too soon to know how they will fare. It also had some early success with blocking Obama’s regulation in Congress. But it has also had some significant setbacks, with courts or Congress rejecting positions it had embraced. Those setbacks make it clear that, bad as […]

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Scott Pruitt: “What, me worry?”

The right question about greenhouse gas emissions is not whether there is an “ideal” global temperature regime, but what problems rapid regime shifts produce

(Readers of a certain age will understand the reference, and see the resemblance. If that’s not you, never mind. But read on for a little less snark and a little more analysis.) According to the Washington Post, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wondered in a television interview Tuesday whether global warming “necessarily is a bad thing,” […]

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Trump Administration to Hold California Hearing on Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

Sacramento Hearing Likely to Be Both a Raucous and Fundamentally Flawed Affair

Legal Planet colleague Eric Biber this week has published a series of posts on the Trump Administration’s controversial–and deeply flawed–proposal to open most of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf to offshore oil and gas development.  I won’t attempt to retread the ground Eric has ably covered, but want to highlight a major upcoming and related event […]

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The impact of Trump’s offshore leasing plans

The Administration’s leasing proposals are not likely to produce an offshore oil and gas boom unless other factors change

This post is the last in a three-part series examining the implications and context of the Trump Administration’s announcement of a proposal to dramatically expand offshore oil and gas development in the United States.  The first post focused on the legal context; the second one on the political context.  This last post synthesizes the law […]

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The politics of Trump’s offshore leasing proposal

Widespread political opposition at the state level poses major obstacles to federal plans

This post is the second in a three-part series looking at the Trump Administration’s announcement of plans to vastly increase offshore oil and gas drilling.  The first post, here, focused on the legal context for those announcements.  In this post, I’ll discuss the political context.  In my last post, I’ll conclude with an analysis of […]

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The Administration’s offshore oil and gas leasing proposal

Offshore leasing system requires long, complex legal process before drilling can occur

A few weeks ago the Trump Administration announced a new proposed plan to drastically increase the amount of offshore areas available for leasing for oil and gas development – essentially opening up almost all of the waters off of the lower 48 states.  The announcement at the time attracted a lot of media attention, but […]

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Interior doubles down on contempt for government integrity

Newly appointed acting National Park Service chief improperly allowed removal of trees from NPS easement

We know that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has little regard for government rules — the Navy SEAL career he is so fond of touting was derailed because he misused government funds for personal travel; he has continued to flout travel regulations and restrictions on political activity by government employees in his present job; […]

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The Story Behind a Political Breakthrough

Congress passed a 2017 law recognizing climate change as a serious threat. How did THAT happen?

Last month, Congress passed and Trump signed a provision in the Defense Authorization Act that designates climate change a serious threat to national security. That was a historic first. I blogged about the bill last month, but it seemed worthwhile to investigate this surprising development further. Although there’s no direct evidence, there are strong indications […]

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