What You Need To Know About Trump’s Latest Environmental Action

Garden Collage will be chronicling President Trump’s most recent policy initiatives, public statements, and executive orders regarding Climate Change, environmental policy, natural resources, energy policy, and anything of significant environmental consequence as soon as news develops. All stories in this series will be linked to trusted, verifiable news sources that have been vetted by the Garden Collage Staff (and several third party organizations) for accuracy. New information is constantly emerging, so we’ll be updating this post often. Check back regularly to find the latest up-to-date, timestamped information about any new environmental initiatives on the national agenda.

As of June 1, 4:00 PM EST–

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After hinting at an exit last week, Donald Trump has officially announced the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. The 2015 Paris Climate agreement was a landmark decision meant to hold countries accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions; the US had committed itself to reducing its emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2025. Trump’s decision to leave has been met with heavy criticism from private, corporate sectors as well as the public and members of Congress. To read more, visit Reuters.

As of May 19, 12:00 PM EST–

Earlier this week, NPR reported that major energy companies– including traditional, fossil fuel companies like Shell and Exxon Mobil– were urging Donald Trump not to leave the Paris Climate Agreement, as he has threatened to do in the past. The demands comes ahead of the G-7 summit, where it is expected Donald Trump will face additional pressure from European leaders to not break the Paris Climate Agreement. To read more, visit NPR.

As of April 4, 10:00 AM EST–

With Trump nearing his third month of presidency, National Geographic a list has put together of all the changes which have occurred around environmental policy since the self-styled mogul took office. The list factors in to account policy around national parks, pesticides, climate change, #NoDAPL, and budgeting.

As of March 2, 7:15 PM EST —

Though attention of late has been on Jeff Sessions (another of Trump’s controversial cabinet picks), Rick Perry was confirmed by the Senate to head the Energy Department on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017. Perry’s confirmation feeds an increasingly alarming position for the Trump administration: both Scott Pruitt and Rick Perry had previously expressed a desire eliminate or greatly reduce the agencies they are now in charge of (the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department, respectively). Typically, the Energy Department and EPA are the two agencies headed with managing policy around Climate Change and the environment; for those agencies to be under the leadership of men who do not see their necessity suggests an increasingly uphill battle for climate protection ahead. For more information on Rick Perry’s new position, visit The New York Times.

As of February 22, 3:00 PM EST —

Yesterday, Scott Pruitt (the newly approved head of the Environmental Protection Agency and a man who has been charged as a Climate Change denier) announced that America would not need to choose between jobs and the environment during his first address to the EPA staff. The remark is seen as a push back against Obama-era environmental regulations, which were criticized for undermining the coal and oil industries. During his address, Pruitt did not mention Climate Change or Global Warming once. To read more on Pruitt and what his appointment to lead the EPA signals, visit Reuters.

As of February 21, 10:00 AM EST —  

In keeping with his campaign promises, Donald Trump is expected to remove several of former-President Obama’s environmental regulations via executive order. According to the Washington Post, the orders will be signed in the coming week, and will clear the way for coal mining leases on federal lands, as well as altering greenhouse gas regulations for electric utilities. The news comes on the heels of legislation Trump signed on February 16th, which removed restrictions on surface mining operations, allowing them to dispose of waste in waterways. Read more about the upcoming executive orders here.

As of January 30, 11:00 AM EST — 

Following the controversy over the National Parks account tweeting about the size of Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd and the silencing of many environmentally related agencies, a group of parody Twitter accounts have sprung up to voice their concerns against the Trump administration’s “alternative facts,” which represent a massive threat to scientific integrity.

Going under names like @AltUSNatParkService and @AltUSForestService (there’s even a @RogueNASA account), dozens of these accounts have sprung up to tweet and make widely available unbiased scientific studies and information. Currently, the identities of those running the accounts are unknown, though many of the bios for the accounts profess they are unofficial. Read more about the resistance twitters here.

As of January 25, 3:18 PM EST — 

After freezing their grant spending, the Trump administration released memos to several agencies within the United States government (among them the Environmental Protection Agency and Health & Human Services) informing employees they should no longer “send out news releases” or “create social media posts, blog entries or official website content, and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the news media,” according to the New York Times. Reuters has also reported (via anonymous sources within the EPA) that Trump has directed the EPA to remove information about Climate Change from its site. However, not everyone is going quietly; some National Parks Service employees have taken to Twitter in protest, posting facts about Climate Change.

The order to pause on actions during a presidential transition is not without precedent (senior officials in the EPA confirmed a similar procedure during the Bush to Obama turnover); however, many are concerned about the direction Trump will be headed, as a denier of Climate Change. Read the full story on The New York Times.

As of January 24, 11:00 AM EST — 

On his second day in office, Donald Trump signed two executive orders that authorize moving forward with the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines. President Obama had previously tabled construction on the two projects following immense public outcry over the potentially devastating environmental consequences the pipelines would have. The end of last year saw huge protests over the Dakota pipeline in particular (#NoDAPL), which threatened to contaminate the water supply and disrupt the sacred burial sites of the Sioux Standing Rock tribe.

While the exact path the executive orders clear for the two pipeline projects remains unclear, the signings do signal Donald Trump’s continued commitment to the oil industry, despite its devastating environmental effects. The signing of the executive orders comes just hours after a massive oil spill in Canada, which saw over 50,000 gallons of oil spilled on aboriginal land. Read the full story on Reuters

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