I wonder if Lake Erie will die again

Donald Trump has decided that fossil fuels trump the environment:

The far-reaching order he unveiled Tuesday instructs federal regulators to rewrite key Obama-era rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions — namely the Clean Power Plan, which was intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s electric plants. It also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.

In sum, it amounts to a wholesale rebuke of Obama’s environmental efforts.

Several of the measures could take years to implement and are unlikely to change broader economic trends that are pushing the nation toward cleaner sources of energy than coal. But the order sent an unmistakable message about the direction in which Trump wants to take the country — toward unfettered oil and gas production, with an apathetic eye to worries over global warming.

This is stupid in terms of jobs because the number of jobs in the renewable energy is increasing:

Clean energy jobs have seen incredible growth in recent years, with solar and wind jobs growing at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. According to a 2015 report from the Environmental Defense Fund, renewable energy jobs in the United States enjoyed a 6 percent compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2015. Fossil fuel jobs, by contrast, had a negative 4.5 percent compound annual growth rate over the same time period. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s fastest growing profession over the next decade is likely to be a wind turbine technician.

so this statement is true but in a stupid way:

“This is an important moment for EPA,” chief of staff Ryan Jackson wrote. “As the Administrator has mentioned many times, we do not have to choose between environmental protection and economic development.”

The Trump administration didn’t want to choose which, the environment or economic development, to make worse so it chose both.

EPA’s new rule on Clean Water bothers groups that want to pollute

The EPA under the Obama administration has passed new rules on what waterways the Clean Water Act applies to:

The Clean Water Rule, drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, extends the Clean Water Act’s protections to all tributaries with signs of flowing water. These streams and wetlands can have a crucial effect on the health of downstream waters, agency officials say. For “drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.

This restores protections that the waterways had until rulings by the Supreme Court:

The uncertainty stems from a 2006 Supreme Court decision that concluded the act protects against illegal discharges into streams and wetlands that connect to navigable waters, but that did not define what qualified as a connection.

Republicans, of course, are against the expansion:

“The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs,” House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said in a statement.

Let’s be clear what this is about:

Granta Nakayama, who served as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the EPA until 2009, found that between July 2006 and March 2008 the agency had decided not to pursue formal enforcement in 304 cases because of jurisdictional uncertainty.

In 2008, in an internal memo, Nakayama wrote that the uncertainty “results in delays in enforcement and increases the resources needed to bring enforcement cases.”

And so in 2007, when an oil company discharged thousands of gallons of crude oil into Edwards Creek in Titus County, Texas, the EPA did not issue a fine, pursue legal action or even require clean up. Similarly, after a farming operation dumped manure into tributaries that fed Lake Blackshear in Georgia, the EPA did not seek to hold the polluting company responsible — despite the fact that tests showed unsafe levels of bacteria and viruses in the lake, which was regularly used for waterskiing and other recreation.

Businesses and large farmers want to be able to save money by polluting, that’s what Boehner and the Republicans are supporting.

Bad news

15 years ago NASA launched a satellite to measure Earth and it shows explicitly the terrible work the EPA has done. First, here’s a picture of the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the US (Credit:

NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/T. Schindler):
You might be thinking that this is good news since nitrogen dioxide is a poison, but since this is a result of policies set by the EPA it must be bad news.
The second picture looks at the level of carbon monoxide over the globe (Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory):
Scientists have found that levels have been dropping at a rate of 1% per year since 2000. You might again think this is good news since carbon monoxide is one of the main ingredients in smog and is also a poison, but again this has come about mostly from government regulations so must be bad.

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