Checks and balances
27 January 2017
A few weeks after his inauguration, it is clear President Trump has no intention of backpedalling on the pronouncements he made during his election campaign with regard to the energy and environment sectors. As an example, the new administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the main climate change page from its website.
Staff at the EPA have also been told to freeze all grants funding research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education ahead of Trump nominee Scott Pruitt taking control of the agency.
Pruitt, a former Oklahoma Attorney General, is a noted climate change sceptic who has built his career on suing the EPA over its attempts to restrict pollution.
On January 24 Trump ordered the reinstatement and rapid completion of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, two controversial infrastructure projects that will make it easier to transport oil across North America. The move tries to fulfill his promise to weaken the regulatory procedures blocking the pipelines.
“The regulatory processes in this country have become a tangled-up mess, and very unfair,” he said as he signed the order. The document itself says: “I believe that construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest.”
It is Trump’s first major attempt to dismantle former President Obama’s energy and environmental record. Whether it will be a successful is another story. The Atlantic, and many other publications, point to the long court battles he is likely to face as he seeks to impose a radically different set of priorities over the next four years.
And the lack of candidates lined up by Trump to fill the Obama administration's departing senior functionaries means it might be some time before any effective task force is in place to carry forward his vision.
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