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ENVIRONMENT POLICIES, ANALYSIS, AND RESOURCES

The Environment Domain tracks and reports on policies that deal with the use of natural resources, climate change, energy emissions, pollution, and the protection of endangered species. This domain tracks policies emanating from the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Department, and the Interior Department. Our Principal Analyst is Megan Toney who can be reached at megan@usresistnews.org.

Latest Environment Posts

 

Coal and the NCA

Brief #52—Environment Policy Summary Representatives from nearly 200 different countries have gathered in Katowice, Poland to discuss the parameters of the Paris Agreement, known as the COP24. The United States, however, are in a challenging position with regard to...

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Analysis: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

Last week U.S. lawmakers sponsored the first bipartisan attempt at climate legislation in nearly a decade. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would impose a progressively increasing tax on carbon emissions, topping out in 2030 at $100 per ton of carbon.

read more

Pipelines

The oil and gas industry is starting to face some blowback at the legal level. A Federal Circuit Judge in Montana recently rejected the Trump administration’s demand to build a Keystone XL pipeline, marking a new wave of environmentally charged legal decision-making.

read more

Zinke Questioned…Again

Brief #46---Environment Policy Summary Scandals are swirling again for DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke, who just days ago compared Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King Jr. to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Now, however, the Department of Justice is considering the...

read more

Michael’s Aftermath

Brief #45---Environment Summary The official death toll from Hurricane Michael is at 26 and counting as of last week, as rescuers continue to find bodies, and reports say many are still missing. The future looks tenuous for the Florida area that was devastated by the...

read more

What is Happening to the Environmental Protection Agency?

Brief #44---Environment Policy Summary The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is changing shape. In the last week, the EPA has decided to change its rules on how it uses scientific studies, effectively deregulating public exposure to harmful toxins. Meanwhile, the...

read more

Bad News

Policy Summary The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met this past week in order to discuss the global effects of climate change. According to the new reports, gathered from over 6,000 scientific papers with almost 100 authors from 40 different...

read more
Coal and the NCA

Coal and the NCA

Brief #52—Environment

Policy Summary
Representatives from nearly 200 different countries have gathered in Katowice, Poland to discuss the parameters of the Paris Agreement, known as the COP24. The United States, however, are in a challenging position with regard to the conference, given their withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The conference, too, comes amidst turmoil because the Trump Administration recently responded to the “National Climate Assessment” by arguing that the report only considered the worst-case scenario of greenhouse gas emissions and nothing else. The Assessment extrapolated on the state of peril the world faces given the adverse consequences of climate change.

Analysis
The NCA raised major concerns for the state of the world, as well as for many of the United States’ most visited sites, such as Lake Eerie and the Southwest. Meanwhile in Katowice, many climate campaigners were denied entry to the country, citing that they were a, “threat to national security.” And many protesters have still been able to gather, demanding that governments take a stand against climate change. The U.N. has in turn, suggested offering support to those affected by climate change, while countries like the United States are not only denying, but offering no institutional aid to amend the issue.

Resistance Resources

  • End Coal: Reports and tracks the perils and detriments of coal use globally.

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

Photo by Val Vesa

Analysis: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

Analysis: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

Brief #50—Environment

Policy Summary
Last week U.S. lawmakers sponsored the first bipartisan attempt at climate legislation in nearly a decade. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would impose a progressively increasing tax on carbon emissions, topping out in 2030 at $100 per ton of carbon.

The tax is coupled with cuts on EPA regulations that are viewed as redundant with the targeted energy production industries. However, if emissions exceed the targets set by the legislation, the EPA is authorized to impose regulation to make up the difference. Proponents of the bill claim the policy would reduce carbon emissions by forty percent in 2030 and by ninety-one percent in 2050. Analyses indicate that the bill would provide greater emissions cuts than competing proposals, such as those of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) or Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.). Whether these are plausible projections is highly uncertain, however, depending on factors such as economic growth, technological progress and policy developments.

The bill is designed to be revenue neutral: proceeds of the tax would be distributed back to American taxpayers in the form of a rebate ($500 on average per individual; around $3500 for a family of four). This revenue-neutral approach no doubt helped attract the Republican sponsors of the bill. This included Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and David Trott (R-Mi.), who were joined by Democratic House members Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), John Delaney (D-Md.) and Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). Its revenue neutrality distinguishes it from other current carbon tax bills and proposals that have recently garnered attention, such as the Curbelo and Whitehouse proposals or the more aggressive Green New Deal positions advocated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Analysis
Economist Noah Kaufman has offered positive, if measured, support for The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It appears to be especially effective as a mechanism of carbon reduction, at least in the short term, as longer-term projections tend to involve more speculative assumptions.

His conclusions about the economic impact of the policy are more qualified and tentative, however. The proposal is structured in a highly progressive form, extending most of the benefits of the rebates to lower- and middle-class taxpayers, who, it is hoped, will then not feel the brunt of rising fuel and heating costs. But Kaufman also notes that its revenue-neutral approach “would sacrifice opportunities for better macroeconomic outcomes or government services.”

Kaufman is gesturing at some of the weaknesses in what is ultimately a neoliberal approach to the idea of carbon taxes, weaknesses that may explain why, as commentators such as Bill Scher have wondered, such a victory for climate change bipartisanship has largely been met with silence and indifference by the climate-activist community (Citizen’s Climate Lobby has vocally supported it, however).

Climate hawks worry that if tax revenues are not reinvested in the green economy, especially in renewable energy subsidies, the result will  be unstable and squeezed energy markets, and thus, lower economic growth and higher unemployment. Hence, many probably see supporting Ocasio-Cortez’s concurrent push for the Green New Deal package as a better investment of advocacy capital.

Yet, some commentators note that even if the bill is effectively dead on arrival in the current political environment, it may create policy inertia similar to the way the Clinton healthcare push, and the center-right policies it spurred in response, eventually set the table of options for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, for proponents of the bill like Scher, pragmatism and getting things done should trump climate change-policy perfectionism. And anyway, the biggest victory here was symbolic, thanks to the first development of some kind bipartisanship on climate policy in nearly ten years.

Perhaps, but the ACA may be an instructive example in a different sense. It may illustrate how suboptimally designed policy compromises can end up delegitimizing the entire enterprise with the American public, not to mention paving the way to electoral disaster for progressives. What’s more, the bipartisanship evidenced here is less impressive than it seems.

Rooney’s district in southern Florida is regularly hammered by the increasingly powerful hurricanes climate change is causing, while David Trott is retiring from a district that was just taken over by Democrat Haley Stevens. It is true that Brian Fitzpatrick has an impressive reputation for independence. Still, Fitzpatrick represents one of the few remaining House seats where gerrymandering has not made political centrism toxic. Indeed, it’s something of a miracle that in a Democratic wave election he held onto his seat in the newly redrawn First congressional district of Pennsylvania, which leans Democrat.

The idea that this represents a new inception of bipartisanship on climate change is wishful thinking, plain and simple. All the evidence necessary to demonstrate this fact can be found on @realDonaldTrump’s Twitter feed.

Of course, there is no question that eventually bipartisan compromises will have to be made for any climate change legislation to be passed. But if real negotiations on climate policy ever begin someday, one hopes Democrats will not be so desperate for any compromise at all that they allow the GOP to force them into dead-end policy solutions and electoral suicide.

Engagement Resources

  • Greenpeace is “a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”
  • The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) is an organization whose “mission is to educate young people on the science of climate change and aid them in meaningful advocacy.”
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists is a network of professional scientists who seek to bring the insights of science to bear on issues of public concern.
  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby is “a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.”
  • org “uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all.”
  • Climate Reality Project is “a diverse group of passionate individuals who’ve come together to solve the greatest challenge of our time. We are activists, cultural leaders, organizers, scientists, and storytellers committed to building a sustainable future together.”
  • The Sunrise Movement is an activist organization working to further the idea of a Green New Deal revolution in climate change policy.

This Brief was posted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Jonathan Schwartz: Contact; Jonathan@usresistnews.org

Photo by Appolinary Kalashnikova

Major U.S. Government Climate Assessment Ignored by U.S Government

Major U.S. Government Climate Assessment Ignored by U.S Government

Policy Summary
Political controversy erupted this last black Friday, a day normally reserved for nonpolitical pursuits, such as bargain hunting and post-Thanksgiving family therapy. The controversy was instigated by the White House’s release of Volume 2 of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. A product of 13 government agencies, the National Climate Assessment is congressionally mandated, its release therefore not left to the administration’s discretion.

The report paints a bleak picture of the impact climate change will have on the American economy and environment in coming decades of the twenty-first century. Extreme weather events—illustrated most recently in the intense 2018 hurricane season and California wildfires—are soon to become even more common and destructive. Heat-related deaths will become a greater threat as many  regions become nearly unlivable.

On the economic from, along with the obvious damage to real estate and infrastructure from sea-level rise and extreme weather, numerous other areas of the U.S. economy will be affected. Given the international supply chain of most major U.S. manufacturers, production could also be seriously hampered by extreme weather events. Agricultural productivity will likely also decline as each 1°C rise above pre-industrial temperature levels results in a 3-7% decline in crop yield.

The report also notes the potential for rising domestic and international political instability resulting from more varied and numerous environmental refugee crises.

The National Climate Assessment comes a month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a dire report predicting that severe humanitarian crises could be a dominant aspect of global politics as early as 2040.  Both reports were noted for their unusually direct language—a striking departure for the typically measured scientific community. As David Wallace-Wells notes in a comment on the I.P.C.C. report that could as easily apply to the new Climate Assessment, “[T]he real meaning of the report is not ‘climate change is much worse than you think,’ because anyone who knows the state of the research will find nothing surprising in it. The real meaning is, ‘you now have permission to freak out.’”

Yet, despite two of the most direct statements to date by the scientific community, both internationally and in the U.S., on the threat posed to human civilization by climate change, the Trump administration did its best to undermine and deny these findings. The release of the report on Black Friday seemed obviously intended as a news dump on a day when few Americans would be paying attention. A statement from the administration suggested the report was “largely based on the most extreme scenario.”

Climate advocates, such as Philip B. Duffy of the Woods Hole Research Center, attacked the administration, noting the “bizarre contrast between this report, which is being released by this administration, and [its] own policies.” Former vice president Al Gore said in a statement that the “President may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible.”

Analysis
As climate expert Michael Mann noted on CNN on Friday, “[W]e don’t have to use our imagination anymore because we saw this play out over the past several months.” California’s 2018 wildfire season was unprecedentedly lethal and destructive. The 2018 hurricane season was similarly violent and destructive. But these are only the obvious effects of climate change. Most of its future impacts will be akin to the proverbial frog in boiling water. It will be a slow-motion catastrophe, especially for the Earth’s nearly one billion slum dwellers and the hundreds of millions more who only recently escaped extreme poverty.

While the National Climate Assessment largely focuses on U.S. interests, this myopic focus probably fails to grasp just how desperate the global international order could become as these millions of people begin seeking refugee status in cooler and richer northern countries. Echoing a 2015 statement by the Pentagon, Stephen Cheney, former Marine brigadier general and CEO of the American Security Project, writes, “Climate change is what we in the military call a ‘threat multiplier.’ Its connection to conflict is not linear. Rather, it intensifies and complicates existing security risks, increasing the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions…. [Its] effects will be particularly destabilizing in already-volatile situations, exacerbating challenges like weak governance, economic inequality, and social tensions—and producing truly toxic conflicts.”

Engagement Resources

  • Greenpeace is “a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”
  • The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) is an organization whose “mission is to educate young people on the science of climate change and aid them in meaningful advocacy.”
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists is a network of professional scientists who seek to bring the insights of science to bear on issues of public concern.
  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby is “a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.”
  • org “uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all.”

This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Jonathan Schwartz Jonathan@usresistnews.org

Photo by Jon Tyson

California Wildfires Keep Roaring

California Wildfires Keep Roaring

Policy Summary
A devastating fire has been roaring through California, and the death toll has reached at least 77 people, while 1,000 are still missing. wildfires, California, Camp Fire, climate change, Trump, PG&E The fire, called, the Camp Fire, is the deadliest fire in state history, and has burned hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Northern California. Simultaneously, in Southern California, the Woolsey Fire has already burned nearly a hundred thousand acres of land, and as of last week had burned 400 structures alone. President Trump criticized the Fire Management Department, citing them to blame for the wildfires both on Twitter and on Fox News. Public officials and civilians expressed upset over this.

Analysis
PG&E is currently suspected of foul play in the role of the wildfire, and a woman living in Pulga, California, the site where the fire began, says that the utility giant only got in touch with her the day before the fires started to rage. The Camp fire has not only impacted the community to the point of being unrecognizable, with an entire town of Paradise, California burned to the ground, but has also transformed California temporarily. As of now, California’s air quality has climbed to new heights as the worst in the world, with school cancelled all over the Bay Area due to unsafe air quality, and many being asked to stay home from work. The hazards facing health are manifold, and many suspect that the worst is yet to come for California’s wildfires.

Resistance Resources

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

Photo by Joanne Francis

Pipelines

Pipelines

Brief #47—Environment

Summary
The oil and gas industry is starting to face some blowback at the legal level. A Federal Circuit Judge in Montana recently rejected the Trump administration’s demand to build a Keystone XL pipeline, marking a new wave of environmentally charged legal decision-making. And in Pennsylvania, locals are resisting the construction of an approved pipeline, believed to cost tax-payers a fortune for virtually no benefit. These actions, however, come amidst other chaos throughout the country. In New Mexico, unaddressed oil and gas violations on public lands have become widespread, as the Bureau of Land Management has been encouraging fossil fuel production at a rapid rate. And fracking on public lands is ramping up under the Trump Administration. More still, unmanaged gas leaks have taken the lives of hundreds in recent years, prompting uproar from people but silence from local governments and industry.    

Analysis
Demands for greater opposition to environmental hazard are starting to come on The Hill. New Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, joined in with 200 youth climate protestors in an effort to encourage a Green New Deal, which would encourage renewable industry. Elsewhere, the EPA has decided to consider new rules that would limit emissions on heavy-duty trucks, a progressive measure out of the Obama era. Meanwhile, renewable energy is making huge leaps globally, but significant policy change is necessary in order for the industry’s potential to materialize, giving rise to the Green New Deal. The fight however, might be just what is needed, as a new field of psychology has emerged to help those dealing with the embittered struggle against climate change—it’s called ecopsychology.

Resistance Resources

 This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

Zinke Questioned…Again

Zinke Questioned…Again

Brief #46—Environment


Policy Summary
Scandals are swirling again for DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke, who just days ago compared Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King Jr. to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Now, however, the Department of Justice is considering the potential prosecution of Ryan Zinke over his questionable behavior in his Department of the Interior role. The Agency currently has three open investigations into the secretary including questionable business deals with the chairman of oil firm, Halliburton and another regarding a mixture of lobbying and casino construction. The number of ethics violations Zinke is facing, is bearing a closer resemblance to those which former-EPA head, Scott Pruitt, was subjected to, as well. Though the probe is still in its beginning stage. Zinke, however is not giving much rise to the probe, and is calling it, “politically motivated.”

Analysis
The Zinke probe comes amidst a flurry of other political moments for the environment. In a televised interview, President Trump disavowed both the science and the government that has legitimized information about climate change, but said that he believed climate change existed, though it fluctuated. And the EPA has planned to “accelerate” ozone pollution limits. But with elections coming up, many American environmental activists are trying to encourage some states to swing green. More still, in a surprising move, The Supreme Court has decided to hear the case brought before them by 21 youth, who are suing the government about climate change. 

Engagement Resources

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

Photo by unsplash-logoCole Keister

Michael’s Aftermath

Michael’s Aftermath

Brief #45—Environment

Summary
The official death toll from Hurricane Michael is at 26 and counting as of last week, as rescuers continue to find bodies, and reports say many are still missing. The future looks tenuous for the Florida area that was devastated by the hurricane, with many concerned about their future housing security in demolished towns. The hurricane also indiscriminately destroyed an Air Force Base in a Florida city, which is raising concerns that climate change could also become a matter of national security.

While the man-made disaster has been devastating, it has almost done the impossible: convince some Republicans that climate change is real. Republicans living in areas that are experiencing changing weather patterns are starting to believe, and minds are beginning to change. Though, farmers in nearby Georgia are still debating whether or not the hurricane was caused by climate change or bad luck.

Analysis
Hurricanes such as Michael may be a hit to American democracy, as well. With at least 200,000 people affected in this area, concerns have risen that those needing to participate in the November 6th election will face difficulties. Those living in affected counties may be able to have access to slightly more lenient voting practices in order to ensure the right restored. This all happens as the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court for the second time, to halt a Youth Climate Lawsuit. 21 young people are suing the federal government for their failure to act on climate change. The Supreme Court had previously denied the stay request, as well as the petition to overrule the case being moved far enough to be viewed before the supreme court, though this was before the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Engagement Resources

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

Photo by John Fowler

What is Happening to the Environmental Protection Agency?

What is Happening to the Environmental Protection Agency?

Brief #44—Environment

Policy Summary
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is changing shape. In the last week, the EPA has decided to change its rules on how it uses scientific studies, effectively deregulating public exposure to harmful toxins. Meanwhile, the Agency has announced that it will liquidate a key scientific review panel of 20 experts, in order to make room for a Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). The panel of experts previously advised on particulate matter in the atmosphere, and out of the five new nominees to the CASAC, only one is a scientist. And the rest of the nominees are reported to have fairly anti-science perspectives. More still, the EPA’s director of the Office of Children’s Health Protection was suspended last month for reasons that have yet to be disclosed to her. The director views her suspension as an attack on children’s health, saying, “my sense is that the government has absolutely no intention of taking any action toward seriously changing lead in children’s environments…It basically means that our kids will continue to be poisoned. It basically means that kids are disposable, they don’t matter.”

Analysis
In the wake of Hurricane Michael, one of the most devastating hurricanes to have pummeled the Florida coastline thus far, President Trump went on 60 Minutes to discuss climate change. In the interview the president said that he no longer thinks of climate change as a “hoax” but is unsure if it is manmade and alleged that scientists “have a very big political agenda.” The magnitude of such allegations is large, given the disarray and anti-science bureaucratic changes taking place within the EPA. And the GOP is now positioning itself as aggressively anti-environment, recently coming down on an EPA provision that protects water, arguing that it makes it too easy to “stop fossil fuel production in some states.” The warning signs are now blaring louder for many Americans, as the GOP dismissed the recent IPCC report regarding the fate of the planet, with Trunp even going so far as to say that the climate is currently “fabulous.” It is unclear how much restructuring the EPA will face under the supervision of former coal-lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, but given the GOP’s environmental record, the fate of the EPA looks grim.

Engagement Resources

  • Save the US EPA: National campaign that was started by the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 in order to stop the dissolution of the EPA.

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

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Bad News

Bad News

Policy Summary
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met this past week in order to discuss the global effects of climate change. According to the new reports, gathered from over 6,000 scientific papers with almost 100 authors from 40 different countries, new evidence suggests that the impacts of climate change at a 2 degree Celcius temperature change will be far worse than previously expected. As of now,  climate change has warmed the planet at about 1 degree Celsius above preindustrial levels, and according to the IPCC, the climate cannot increase any more than 1.5 degree Celsius if we want to avoid catastrophe. The IPCC has made it specifically clear that the real challenge put forward by the report is to hold politicians, political systems and corporations accountable for their efforts to address climate change.

Analysis
Experts say that as of now, without drastic changes in corporate and political management, the climate will warm to 2 degrees Celcius, which would be far worse than what was previously predicted.  With a 2 degree increase, scientists predicted that 99% of the world’s corals could wane, the Arctic could have ice-free summers at least once per decade (as opposed to once per century). Should it be possible to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the numbers of those at risk would still remain at several hundred million by 2050, but is a far better scenario than how many would be affected at a 2 degree rate of change. As a result, the IPCC, which is overseen by the UN, called for a $2.4 trillion fossil fuel shift, and requested putting high prices on carbon via high taxes or cap-and-trade programs. At the same time, US Economist William Nordhaus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research on the link between the economy and climate change, and his estimates of the costs and benefits of cutting emissions. Nordhaus has been outspoken about how the Trump administration has impaired the process to fight climate change, saying that, “It’s hard to be optimistic. And we’re actually going backward in the United States with the disastrous policies of the Trump administration.” This comes as deadly hurricanes like the ones that have just hit North Carolina and Florida have gotten extensive media attention, and the subject of climate change been overwhelmingly absent from its coverage.

Engagement Resources

  • Climate Defense Project: Helps assign lawyers and legal aid to communities and campaigns fighting against climate change.

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

Methane Cutbacks and What it Means

Brief #41—Environment

Policy Summary
Rollbacks appear to be the defining characteristic of the Trump administration, particularly with relation to environmental oversight. Last week, the Department of the Interior in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management decided to ease restrictions on leaking, venting and flaring methane from fossil fuel drilling on public lands, ostensibly saving the fossil fuel industry approximately $1.01 billion over the next 10 years. By contrast, the Obama era regulations, which have since been nixed, would have reduced methane emissions by 35%. The new policy put forth by the Department of the Interior revokes mandates for companies to reduce gas pollution.  Energy companies have alleged that the Obama-era regulations were, “too intrusive.” “We’re for clean air and water, but at the same time, we’re for reasonable regulations,” the Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told reporters shortly after the decision was passed. The decision also comes at the heels of another methane-related restriction put forward by the EPA, that would cut leak inspections to once per year for most wells, and twice per year for less potent ones.

Analysis
Methane contributes more to climate change than even Carbon Dioxide by even 100-fold. Immediately after the decision was made public, California and New Mexico both sued the Trump administration, claiming that they did not properly justify their reasons for the repeal. Such bureaucratic advocacy is much needed, as climate scientists are terrified by the implications of the new regulation, explaining that, “reducing methane emissions is an exceptionally cost effective way to slow climate change.”  In a surprise move, a coalition of big oil companies, such as ExxonMobil and Chevron have responded to Trump’s move to roll back emissions by pledging efforts to reduce methane emissions 20% by 2025. However, many fear that this may be far too little too late. Within the last few days, methane lakes in Alaska have been bubbling to the surface with permafrost, and researchers worry that this demonstrates geologic thawing of previously-unidentified fossil fuels.

Engagement Resources

  • CREDO Action: Activist organization that creates advocacy opportunities for progressive issues.

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Zoe Stricker. Contact: zoe@usresistnews.org

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