TrumpWrap: Army Corps ‘Reneges’, NRDC Sues, Cabinet Picks Disappoint, and DeSmog Suggests Transition Team Conflict Over Atlantic Pipeline
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final easement for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline led the TrumpWrap news this week, after the U.S. president ordered the agency to “expedite the project despite opposition from Native American tribes and climate activists,” Reuters reports.
“In a court filing on Tuesday, the Army said it would allow the final section of the line to tunnel under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system,” the news agency states. “This could enable the $3.8 billion pipeline to begin operation as soon as June.” Former interior secretary Sally Jewell accused the Army Corps of “reneging” on its previous promise to conduct a thorough environmental review of the project, while protesters held last-ditch rallies in at least 53 U.S. cities in 26 states, according to the #NoDAPL 2017 Action Hub.
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The Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, and the Communications Workers of America filed what the Washington Post calls a “sweeping federal lawsuit” Wednesday, opposing Trump’s executive order requiring officials to identify two existing regulations for elimination for every new one they introduce. “The Executive Order exceeds the President’s authority under the Constitution, usurps Congress’s Article I legislative authority, and violates the President’s obligation to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’” the lawsuit states. Reuters reports, meanwhile, that Trump is expected to issue a new executive order rescinding requirements that companies disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals.
DeSmog Blog revealed that “several members of Trump’s transition team, landing team, and current White House operation” have personal connections to the Atlantic Coast pipeline, a priority project singled out in a White House infrastructure announcement January 25. “The natural gas pipeline, currently under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has faced staunch opposition from environmental activists and residents along its 550-mile-long path stretching from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina. It will carry natural gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing,” DeSmog reports. “Among other things, detractors argue that the pipeline will have adverse effects on sensitive habitats, reduce property values, and introduce dangerous precedents for the seizure of private property through eminent domain.”
Confirmation hearings for Trump’s cabinet nominees continued, with nearly 450 former Environmental Protection Agency employees urging Congress to reject Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator. “We retirees, we tend to like to lay low,” said EPA enforcement veteran Bruce Buckheit. “But this has gotten a bunch of us quite concerned.” EPA staff rallied in Chicago with much the same message. InsideClimate news reports that Trump’s nominee for agriculture sector, ex-Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, has a history of ignoring the climate implications of forest loss and offering a sympathetic ear to timber industry interests. And more than 420 environmental sociologists decried Trump’s own denial of humanity’s role in climate change.
“As professional environmental sociologists who have dedicated our careers to the study of the interaction of social systems with ecosystems, we condemn President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and his nomination of a series of climate-denying anti-environmentalists to key cabinet positions,” the sociologists said.