Environmental Headlines – March 2017

The following are headlines to watch as the administration begins to cut protections to the environment:

Rollbacks on Obama-era environmental Protections: A sweeping new Executive Order passed on Tuesday March 28 includes rollbacks on emissions rules for power plants, limits on methane leaks, a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and the use of the social cost of carbon to guide government actions.

EPA Budget Cuts: The Hill reports that the new administration seeks to cut the Environmental Protection Agency budget by up to 31%.

Undoing the Clean Water Rule: On February 28, President Trump signed an Executive Order instructing the EPA to reconsider the Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule, currently blocked by an appeals court, protects smaller creeks and wetlands under the Clean Water Act of 1972. Here’s more on the Clean Water Rule EO from The Hill.

Rollbacks on Bans of Known Neurotoxins: National Public Radio reported that the new administration decided not to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos (see here for coverage by NYTimes), despite EPA’s own documentation of significant risks. The Pesticide Action Network reports that chlorpyrifos is moderately persistent in soil and can take weeks to years to break down. The insecticide can also reach rivers, lakes and streams, where it concentrates in the fatty tissue of fish. According to the National Water Quality Assessment Program, chlorpyrifos contaminated surface water in urban and agricultural streams at levels potentially harmful to aquatic life.


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