The Trump Administration has already begun the process of rolling back our climate, public health and environmental protections.

Below, you can see which rollbacks are already in process and
access talking points about those proposals.

You can see the status of Trump Administration rollback proposals
(planned, current and past) here.

Rollback of Air Pollution Standards for Methane and VOCs --  Oil and Gas Sector 

Comment period ended August 9, 2017

The Trump Administration wants to delay and weaken emission controls that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and asthma-inducing smog.  The public comment period is ongoing; comments must be received on or before 11:59 pm August 9.

EPA has proposed to delay key elements of methane air quality emissions standards for the oil and gas sector.  These air quality standards would protect public health while reducing greenhouse gas emission. Methane is a “super-pollutant” with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide.1

Methane also contributes to ozone in our breathing zone (ground-level ozone, or "smog").  Exposure to ozone is linked to a wide range of health effects, including severe asthma attacks, increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and premature death.

The oil and gas sector is the country’s largest emitter of methane. Many kinds of equipment used in the oil and gas sector leak methane. The oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a group of chemicals that also contribute to ground-level ozone (smog). In addition to forming smog, many VOCs are also toxic to humans.

EPA finalized air quality standards to control methane and VOC emissions from the oil and gas sector in May 2016. The Trump Administration wants to stop EPA and the States from implementing these methane pollution controls while it rolls back the air quality standards for methane emissions.

For information on the rule, the rollback proposal, and talking points, see Defending Air Pollution Standards for the Oil & Gas Sector.

1 Los Angeles Times, “Opinion: Methane is a 'super pollutant' that the federal government must help keep out of our air,” March 2, 2017.

Oil and Gas NSPS: Notices of Data Availability on Proposed 3-Month and 2-Year Stays

Oil and Gas NSPS: Notices of Data Availability
on the Proposed 3-Month Stay and 2-Year Stay

Public comment closed December 8, 2017

Find the NODAs and the new cost estimate here:

https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-industry/actions-and-notices-about-oil-and-natural-gas

In June 2017, the Trump Administration proposed to delay certain air pollution control requirements for the oil and natural gas industry while the EPA reconsiders issues associated with these requirements.  The standards at risk, called New Source Performance Standards or (NSPS), would control methane emissions and some related toxic air pollutants at new, reconstructed and modified oil and gas sources.  EPA finalized these requirements in May 2016.

The Trump Administration proposed two alternative delays -- a two-year stay, and a three-month stay, of the NSPS’s requirements. These proposed delays (or stays) would apply to the fugitive emissions requirements, well site pneumatic pump standards, and requirements that closed vent systems be certified by a professional engineer. The public comment period on the proposed stays closed on August 9, 2017; many of you may have commented on that proposal.  (For more information, see Defending Air Pollution Standards for the Oil & Gas Sector(Methane and VOCs).

In November 2017, EPA issued two notices of data availability, “NODAs,” inviting additional public comment on the two proposed stays. The NODAs identify concerns and suggestions from certain industry stakeholders. Public comment was invited in three categories:

  1. EPA’s legal authority to issue the stays
  2. Stakeholder concerns about the challenges of meeting the requirements of the 2016 NSPS within the timeframe of the stays
  3. An updated economic analysis that provides the costs and benefits of the two-year stay

For more information on the NODAs and how to comment, see: Notices of Data Availability: Defending Air Pollution Standards for the Oil & Gas Sector

 

Suspension of the BLM Methane and Waste Prevention Rule  

  Comment period ended on November 6, 2017  

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a rule in November 2016 to reduce waste of natural gas from flaring, venting and leaks from oil and gas production on public and tribal lands.  The requirements are designed to limit waste of federal natural gas resources and avoid loss of royalty payments to federal, state and tribal governments for the sale of their resources.  The rule has the additional benefit of reducing air pollutant emissions that drive smog and climate change.  The rule replaces old and ineffective regulations that had not been updated in 35 years.

The BLM is proposing to delay implementation of almost every substantive provision of the Waste Prevention Rule for 18 months, until January 17, 2019.  During this period, the Trump Administration will consider how it will modify or pull back the rule.

For more information and suggested talking points go to Defending the BLM Methane and Waste Prevention Rule.   

Rollback of Climate Pollution and Fuel Economy Standards for Cars, SUVs and Light Trucks

The Trump Administration has opened the door to weakening the climate pollution and fuel economy standards for cars, SUVs, and light trucks for model years 2021-2025.  These standards are a main pillar of U.S. efforts to combat climate change.  Cars, SUVs, and light trucks are responsible for nearly 20% of climate pollution in the U.S.1

In recent years EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have conducted parallel rulemakings to set greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards and fuel economy standards for 2012 and later model year cars and light trucks.  Lowering emissions of carbon dioxide, the most pervasive GHG pollutant, and improving fuel economy are closely linked.

The Trump Administration is reconsidering what the GHG pollution standards and fuel economy standards should be for model year 2021-2025 cars, SUVs and light trucks.  There are two separate actions: a joint EPA/NHTSA request for comment on re-evaluating the vehicle GHG pollution standards, and a preliminary NHTSA notice of intent on corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards.

Action 1: Comment Period Closed September 25, 2017

The public comment period recently closed on the preliminary NHTSA notice on fuel economy standards.   The notice is a preparatory step for a rule establishing binding fuel economy standards for 2022-2025, and notes that NHTSA also may re-evaluate the existing 2021 fuel economy standards.

For more information on fuel economy standards, see Defending Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards for Cars & Light Trucks.

Action 2: Comment Period Closed October 5, 2017

A separate August 2017 joint EPA/NHTSA notice invited comment on whether the GHG pollution standards for model year 2022-2025 cars and light-trucks are appropriate, and also on whether 2021 standards remain appropriate.  EPA completed an exhaustive re-evaluation of the 2022-2025 standards during the prior Administration, and determined that that the standards remain technically feasible at reasonable cost.  Those standards are a critical component of U.S. efforts to limit climate pollution.

For more information on the standards and the re-evaluation, see Defending Climate Pollution Standards for Cars, SUVs and Light Trucks.

1 EPA, Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions, p. 1 (2015).

_______________________________________________________________________________

Defending Pollution Controls for Super-Polluting Trucks

Proposed Reopening of Loophole for Super-Polluting Trucks

Public Comment Closed January 5, 2018; Public Hearing Held December 4, 2017

The Trump Administration proposed to reopen a loophole in truck pollution standards that has allowed companies to install old engines in new truck chassis without meeting modern pollution standards.   Old truck engines emit high large amounts of air pollutants linked to premature death, cancer, heart attacks, exacerbation of respiratory diseases such as asthma and other health problems.

For information on the EPA’s clean truck standards, the Trump Administration rollback proposal, talking points, and what you can do,  see Defending Pollution Controls for Super-Polluting Trucks

Opposing Subsidies for Coal & Nuclear Power Plants: Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule

Comment period ended October 23, 2017

The Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finalize a rule that would subsidize generation of electricity by coal and nuclear power plants by paying them for the costs of all the electricity they generate regardless of whether the electricity is needed.  This would disadvantage electricity from natural gas and renewable resources.  DOE advocates this on grounds that the subsidy is needed for grid reliability, a claim that cannot be supported.  The proposal would have an adverse effect on consumer electricity prices, the economy, and the environment.  Yet no analysis of these impacts is offered by DOE.

For information on the proposal -- including suggested talking points -- see Opposing Subsidies for Coal and Nuclear Power Plants.

Rollback of Control on Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) on Federal and Indian Lands -- Oil and Gas Sector

Comment period ended September 25, 2017

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed to rescind a 2015 rule that would have imposed federal requirements to protect our water supplies from fracking on federal and Indian lands. This rule would also provide information to the public on what harmful chemicals are being used in these operations. The rule is currently the subject of litigation and has not yet gone into effect.

The 2015 rule  was issued in response to growing public concerns about the impacts of fracking on groundwater drinking water supplies.  The Trump Administration now argues that the rule would be too costly, and that the rule is unnecessary because states are already regulating the oil and gas industry, and that many companies are disclosing the chemicals used voluntarily or under state law.

For information on the rule, the rollback proposal, and talking points, see BLM Fracking.


Weakening of Proposed Groundwater Contamination Limits for Uranium Mining

Comment period ended October 16

The Trump Administration is considering standards the Obama Administration proposed in January to prevent, monitor and remedy groundwater contamination from uranium extraction operations -- standards weaker than originally proposed in 2015.  Radionuclide contamination of drinking water aquifers has been documented at a number of uranium mines in recent years.

For information on the two proposals – including suggested talking points -- see Defending Limits on Uranium Mining Contaminants in Groundwater.

Withdrawal of Clean Water Act Protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska (Pebble Mine) 

Comment period ended October 17

The Trump Administration wants to withdraw proposed restrictions on discharge of mining wastes in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, the largest sockeye salmon spawning area in the world.  

For information on the proposed restrictions and the proposed rollback -- including suggested talking points -- see Defending Bristol Bay.

Rollback of Clean Water Act Protections

The Trump Administration wants to remove Clean Water Act protections from two million miles of waterways and millions of acres of wetlands. Rollback of this rule would put drinking water at risk for 117 million Americans. 

The Clean Water Rule (“Waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS rule) was issued in 2015 to more clearly define which “waters” are protected under the Clean Water Act.  The Rule’s definition of protected waters is based on hydrologic science. It recognizes the real-world connections that exist between large volume, “navigable” waters and smaller non-navigable streams and wetlands.   The Clean Water Rule protects tributary streams that can greatly impact downstream water.

Part 1: Rollback of the Clean Water Rule

Comment Period Ended September 27, 2017

This propossal would eliminate the scientific definition of "waters of the U.S." created in the 2015 Clean Water Rule and revert to an old, unclear definition. 

Part 2: Changing the Definition of "Waters of the U.S."

Fall 2017 stakeholder events held; pre-proposal public comment closed November 28, 2017

A second rule-making will be required to propose the Trump Administration’s preferred definition of "waters of the U.S." 

The Trump Administration has posted a notice to begin the public process to re-define "Waters of the U.S."  As expected, the Administration has signaled its intent to redefine "waters of the US" to include only navigable waters.

The process outlined by the Trump Administration for Part 2 is underway. The agencies have not proposed a rule and it’s not clear when they will do so. However, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers held ten “outreach” teleconferences and one in-person meeting to gather public comments in fall 2017.  Also, EPA invited written pre-proposal comments to be included in the administrative record of the regulation to revise the definition of "Waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act.

For information on the Clean Water Rule, the rollback proposal, talking points and what you can do, see Defending Our Waters.


Two-year Delay of Clean Water Act Protections

The Trump Administration has now proposed to delay implementation of the Clean Water Rule (WOTUS) by two years (until ~mid-2020, based on a Pruitt statement reported by Politico).

This is the latest move in a series of proposals aimed at removing Clean Water Act protections from two million miles of waterways and millions of acres of wetlands. Delay (and, ultimately, rollback) of this rule puts drinking water at risk for 117 million Americans. 

The Clean Water Rule (“Waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS rule) was issued in 2015 to more clearly define which “waters” are protected under the Clean Water Act.  The Rule’s definition of protected waters is based on hydrologic science. It recognizes the real-world connections that exist between large volume, “navigable” waters and smaller non-navigable streams and wetlands.   The Clean Water Rule protects tributary streams that can greatly impact downstream water.

In related congressional action: Spending bills threaten the Clean Water Rule.

Washington Post Energy 202 reported on 12/01/2017:

"Both House and Senate Republicans have inserted language into spending bills aimed at blocking legal challenges to the Trump administration’s effort to repeal the so-called Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The 2015 rule granted two federal agencies, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, broad leeway in regulating activities that could affect streams and tributaries.

Republicans, including Pruitt as Oklahoma's attorney general, challenged the rule in federal court and made repeal a priority. Now, they appear intent on blocking that same path for environmentalists interested in suing the Trump administration as it repeals the rule."

Public comment on 2-year delay closed December 13, 2017

Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0644

Docket information @ https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0644-0001 

For talking points specific to the Clean Water Rule delay proposal, go to Defending Our Waters: Two Year Delay

For more information about  the proposed rollback and redefinition of the Clean Water Rule see our earlier talking points at Defending Our Waters



Compliance Delay: Toxic Water Rule (Coal Ash) for Power Plants

Comment period ended July 6, 2017

EPA established federal water quality limits on levels of toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from power plants.  On an annual basis, the rule is projected to reduce the amount of toxic metals, nutrients, and other pollutants that steam electric power plants are allowed to discharge by 1.4 billion pounds and reduce water withdrawal by 57 billion gallons.

In response to industry petitions for reconsideration, the Trump EPA on June 6 proposed to postpone certain compliance dates in these effluent limitations guidelines and standards for power plants.

EPA info on the rule: https://www.epa.gov/eg/steam-electric-power-generating-effluent-guidelines-2015-final-rule

Background information from Clean Water Action:

http://www.cleanwateraction.org/campaign/cleaning-coal-ash-and-power-plant-pollution

http://www.cleanwateraction.org/releases/groups-sue-block-trump-rollback-safeguards


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