//  4/9/17  //  Topic Update


President Trump’s March 28th executive order revising President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is particularly concerning for its removal of rules to limit methane emissions from oil and gas sites, writes The Economist.

  • However, President Trump’s climate change executive order does not withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, nor does it start a process to repeal the EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon emissions, notes Jeremy Carl (National Review).
  • On the other hand, Niina Heikkinen writes that the Trump administration may attempt to reverse Obama-era regulations on the social cost of carbon and the “endangerment finding” covering carbon dioxide, but it will face obstacles.

Environmental groups have asked the D.C. Circuit to deny the Trump administration’s request that the court delay its decision in litigation on the legality of the Clean Power Plan (ClimateWireThe Hill).

The White House has denied reports that it is considering a carbon tax or value-added tax as part of its tax reform plan (The Hill).

  • However, surprise events may have a significant influence on climate policy during the Trump administration, writes Brad Plumer at Vox.

Environmental groups have filed two separate suits in federal court in Montana against President Trump’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (Reuters).

  • The Trump administration’s issuance of a permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will likely be held reviewable by courts, Eli Savit argues on Take Care.
  • In one suit, groups including the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity argue that approval of construction of the pipeline violates the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • In the other suit, the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance seeks injunctive relief to restrain TransCanada from taking any action that would harm the “physical environment in connection with the project pending a full hearing on the merits” (Reuters).

The Department of Energy has removed several pages related to climate change from its website (ClimateWire).

  • Further, experts expressed concern that climate change would not be discussed during this week’s meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China (ClimateWire).

Environmental groups filed suit Wednesday to challenge the EPA's decision not to ban a common pesticide linked to developmental problems in children (The HillIntercept).

The EPA is considering shifting the cost of vehicle emissions standards enforcement onto car manufacturers, in the face of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts (ClimateWire).

President Trump repealed regulations protecting bears hibernating in Alaska (The Hill).

President Trump donated his salary to the National Park Service, a move criticized as a publicity stunt by the Sierra Club (The Hill).

A collection of states, policy groups, and environmentalists sued President Trump over his decision to freeze a rule setting high-efficiency standards for appliances (The Hill).

It would be impossible for the federal government to abdicate regulatory responsibility for the environment to the states, Dan Farber argues (LegalPlanet).

The Office of the Inspector General and the Scientific Integrity Officer at the EPA are reviewing whether Administrator Scott Pruitt violated agency policy when he questioned whether carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, reports Max Greenwood (The Hill).

Despite President Trump’s promise to revitalize the coal industry, economic factors mean that demand for coal will likely continue to decrease in the coming years, according to Coral Davenport in the New York Times.


Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a unified national automobile emissions standard, which may preempt California's stricter standard. California is challenging the Interior Department's repeal of standards for fracking on federal land.

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

FERC unanimously rejects Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to support coal and nuclear power plants. The Trump Administration backs off of plans for new oil drilling off the Florida coast.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Update | The Week of November 27, 2017

12/4/17  //  Daily Update

The EPA finalized a rule that will maintain the biofuels quota.

Jeffrey Stein

Columbia Law School