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 […]
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; […]
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 […]
The expected blow for solar companies, consumers, and clean energy & climate advocates will likely bring a U.S. solar slowdown and prompt industry changes
Following up on a campaign promise to crack down on free trade policies, the Trump Administration today announced that they will be imposing tariffs on foreign solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The tariffs will start at 30 percent in the first year and then decline to 25 percent in year 2, 20 percent in year 3, […]
Supreme Court denies review in two important environmental law cases
Last week the US Supreme Court brought closure to two cases we have been following here at Legal Planet. First is a case I had blogged about in the past – People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Endangered […]
He’s played his cards. Next year, we’ll see how well the other side plays theirs.
In September, Eric Biber and I released a report assessing the state of play in environmental issues 200 days into the Trump Administration, based on an earlier series of blog posts. As we end Trump’s first year, it’s time to bring that assessment up to date. It follows the same outline as the previous report […]
Interior Department proposes to authorize road through wildlife refuge in Alaska
Tom Schumann authored this blog post. News outlets report that the Interior Department, reversing a decision made under President Obama, has agreed to a land exchange with an Alaska Native village that would allow construction of a road across a national wildlife refuge that provides important habitat for migratory birds, bears, caribou, and other species. […]
Pruitt’s argument for repealing the Clean Power Plan has a logical flaw.
The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan would require utilities to improve efficiency at coal-fired power plants and reduce the use of those plants in favor of generators using natural gas or renewables. Head of EPA Scott Pruitt claims EPA can only require CO2 cuts that can be accomplished by utilities “inside the fenceline” of a […]
House bill would give states control of oil and gas leasing process, weaken Presidential power to restrict leasing
Tom Schumann drafted this blog post. Provisions tucked in a House oil and gas development bill would repeal one of the oldest conservation laws and scale back another. The provisions show House Republicans working to make rollbacks by the Trump Administration permanent, consistent with the administration’s “America First” energy campaign. H.R. 4239, reported out of […]
But the bill is still bad for the environment
Republicans from the House and Senate voted yesterday to approve their conference tax bill. Due to intense lobbying efforts, negotiators in the committee reduced some of the harm I described that the previous versions of the bill would have done to renewable energy, electric vehicles, and affordable housing. As Brad Plumer in the New York […]