TrumpWrap: Mattis Soothes Iraq While Pruitt Lands at EPA
While one new U.S. cabinet appointee flew to the Mideast to reassure skittish Iraqis that his boss didn’t mean what he’d said about taking their oil, another assured the Wall Street Journal that he meant every word about scrapping his predecessor’s signature climate legislation.
Last month, Donald Trump told an audience of CIA employees that the United States ” should have kept [Iraq’s] oil” when its troops occupied the country for more than a decade after 2003. “But okay,” he added. “Maybe you’ll have another chance.”
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Iraqi officials at a meeting in Baghdad on Monday that “the U.S. military is not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” Reuters reports.
But on a parallel track, Scott Pruitt, confirmed late last week as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, made it plain that President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a favourite Trump target during last year’s election campaign, is very much in his sights.
“Pruitt told the Wall Street Journal that he expects to quickly withdraw both the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States Rule, the Obama administration’s attempt at clarifying the EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act,” ThinkProgress reports.
Pruitt, who has repeatedly challenged the scientific consensus on climate change, dodged the question when asked whether the EPA should regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
“There will be a rule-making process to withdraw those rules,” Pruitt told the Journal. “And part of that process is a very careful review of a fundamental question: Does EPA even possess the tools, under the Clean Air Act, to address this? It’s a fair question to ask if we do, or whether there in fact needs to be a congressional response to the climate issue.”
In legal, if not alt-, fact, the United Supreme Court settled that question a decade ago, “ruling in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the EPA does, in fact, possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases as air pollutants,” ThinkProgress notes.
Meanwhile the Washington Post reports that the Trump White House was preparing two new executive orders to put Pruitt’s agenda items into action.
“One will instruct the [EPA] to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse gas emissions from existing electric utilities,” the paper states. The Obama-era regulation, part of the Clean Power Plan, would have forced utilities to reduce their use of coal as a fuel.
In his campaign, Trump adopted the industry’s rhetoric that this constituted a “war” on the highly polluting mineral. The same order is expected to “instruct the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing,” the Post says. The other anticipated executive order would remove federal protection from wetlands, rivers, and streams that feed federal waterways.