States, Voters, Pushing Back on Trump Team’s Doomsday Agenda – and They Don’t Like it

May 23, 2017

Old enough to remember when conservatives advocated “states rights”.

Oh, wait. That’s only when they want to stop black people from voting.
It’s a slave-owner thing. Got it.

Nowadays, when states want to acknowledge science and fact – the administration has a problem. Fortunately, aroused voters, and mega-uprisings like the March for Science,  are helping science-savvy politicians push back.  (Above, 1 minute from California Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State in January)

New York Times:

LOS ANGELES — The environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco last month to sign a global pact — drafted largely by California — to lower planet-warming greenhouse pollution. Gov. Jerry Brown flies to China next month to meet with climate leaders there on a campaign to curb global warming. And a battery of state lawyers is preparing to battle any attempt by Washington to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.


As President Trump moves to reverse the Obama administration’s policies on climate change, California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment. The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.

In the process, California is not only fighting to protect its legacy of sweeping environmental protection, but also holding itself out as a model to other states — and to nations — on how to fight climate change.

“I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has,” said Mr. Brown, who has embraced this fight as he enters what is likely to be the final stretch of a 40-year career in California government. “We’re are looking to do everything we can to advance our program, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.”

The aggressive posture on the environment has set the stage for a confrontation between the Trump administration and the largest state in the nation. California has 39 million people, making it more populous than Canada and many other countries. And with an annual economic output of $2.4 trillion, the state is an economic powerhouse and has the sixth-largest economy in the world.

California’s efforts cross party lines. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served as governor from 2003 to 2011, and led the state in developing the most aggressive pollution-control programs in the nation, has emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s biggest Republican critics.

Mr. Trump and his advisers appear ready for the fight.

Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, whom Mr. Trump has charged with rolling back Obama-era environmental policies, speaks often of his belief in the importance of federalism and states’ rights, describing Mr. Trump’s proposals as a way to lift the oppressive yoke of federal regulations and return authority to the states. But of Mr. Brown’s push to expand California’s environmental policies to the country and the world, Mr. Pruitt said, “That’s not federalism — that’s a political agenda hiding behind federalism.”

“Is it federalism to impose your policy on other states?” Mr. Pruitt asked in a recent interview in his office. “It seems to me that Mr. Brown is being the aggressor here,” he said. “But we expect the law will show this.”

In one of his earliest strikes, Mr. Trump signed an executive order in March aimed at dismantling the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s signature climate policy change. Much of the plan, which Mr. Trump denounced as a “job killer,” was drawn from environmental policies pioneered in California.

Mr. Brown has long been an environmental advocate, including when he first served as governor in the 1970s. He has made this a central focus as he enters his final 18 months in office. In an interview, he said the president’s action was “a colossal mistake and defies science.”

“Erasing climate change may take place in Donald Trump’s mind, but nowhere else,” Mr. Brown said.

Efforts in states like California, Virginia, and across the midwest, are frustrating the Trump team’s anti-planet agenda – as one of its architects recently complained.


WASHINGTON The man who led President Donald Trump’s transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Myron Ebell, told a conservative conference last month that the new administration is moving too slowly to unravel climate change regulations.

In closed-door remarks to members of the conservative Jefferson Institute in Virginia on April 18, a recording of which was obtained by Reuters, Ebell said Trump’s administration had made a series of missteps, including delays in appointing key EPA officials, that could hamper efforts to cut red tape for industry.

“This is an impending disaster for the Trump administration,” Ebell, a prominent climate change doubter, said in the recording provided to the Center for Media and Democracy and shared with Reuters.

Ebell was chosen by Trump’s campaign to lead the EPA’s transition until the Jan. 20 inauguration, a choice that had reinforced expectations Trump would follow through on promises to rescind Obama-era green rules and pull the United States out of a global pact to fight climate change.

Ebell had been seen as a candidate for the EPA administrator job, a post that ultimately went to former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Ebell no longer works at the agency but remains influential within a faction of the U.S. conservative movement with ties to the Trump administration. His criticism reflects a broader disappointment by some conservatives about Pruitt’s focus and commitment to scrapping even more complex Obama-era regulations.

Since taking office, Trump and Pruitt have moved to unwind environmental regulations, including former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generators.

But his administration has frustrated some conservatives by entertaining the idea of remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement, and hesitating to tackle the Obama-era “endangerment finding” that concludes carbon dioxide is a public health threat and underlies many U.S. regulations governing emissions. Lawyers have said challenging that scientific finding could be time consuming and legally complex.

Pruitt has said he does not want the United States to remain in the Paris agreement but he has not yet decided to tackle the endangerment finding. At least three conservative groups have filed petitions asking the EPA to overturn the finding.

“Paris and the endangerment finding are the two big outstanding issues. It’s the first wave of things that are necessary to turn this country around, particularly in the heartland states,” Ebell said at the conference.

Ebell cited the slow pace of key EPA appointments, including deputy administrator and various assistant administrators, a lack of experienced personnel at the White House, deep ideological divisions between the president’s close advisers, and an “imperfect choice” of EPA administrator, as the main reasons Trump was not acting more aggressively on climate rules.

He said Trump strategists should have allowed his transition team to roll out the full de-regulatory agenda before Trump took office, instead of delaying. “The new president doesn’t have long before inertia sets in,” he said.

He also found fault in Trump’s choice of Pruitt to run the EPA, saying the former state attorney is a “clever lawyer” but his “political ambition” may distract him from taking-on time-consuming efforts like challenging the endangerment finding.


The Hill:

Under its mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city of Chicago is taking a shot at the new direction the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking under President Trump.

“Here in Chicago we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it,” reads a new climate change page on the website for the city. The page takes its information from an earlier version of the EPA website.

The page notes that “this information may not be readily available on the agency’s webpage right now.”

Late last month, the EPA removed several pages from its website, including those related to climate change, as part of an update to “reflect the agency’s new direction” under the president and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

The Chicago page says the city “wishes to acknowledge and attribute this information to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies for the decades of work that they have done to advance the fight against climate change.”

Emanuel said the Trump administration can try to “erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change,” according to Politico. “But burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem.”

EPA officials last month removed the page relating to the Obama administration’s main emissions regulation for power plants, which now directs to an article about an executive order Trump signed in March undoing Obama’s climate order.

The agency’s pages relating to climate changeclimate science, the impacts of climate change and what readers can do about climate change have been removed from from the live site.

2 Responses to “States, Voters, Pushing Back on Trump Team’s Doomsday Agenda – and They Don’t Like it”

  1. Brown would make a good climate President.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    “That’s not federalism — that’s a political agenda hiding behind federalism.”

    “Is it federalism to impose your policy on other states?” Mr. Pruitt asked in a recent interview in his office. “It seems to me that Mr. Brown is being the aggressor here,” he said. “But we expect the law will show this.”

    If it’s illegal for California to be a big state, thus influencing other states and corporations on climate, then it’s illegal for Texas to be a big state, influencing corporations that publish only one version of school textbooks that have to be dumbed down, anti-scienced and tilted to the right to meet Texas standards. What we should do is break up populous states into numerous small ones, each one equal to Wyoming in population. Of course that would mean the areas that used to be California would have 134 US Senators, and what used to be New York would have 66. Finally, proportional representation equal to Wyoming.

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