Donald Trump's Plans for Planet Earth

Tracking President Trump's actions on the environment and climate change.

by Kastalia Medrano
Flickr / Dreaming in the deep south

When he took office on January 20, 2017, President Donald J. Trump became the world’s most powerful figure on climate change policy. This regularly updated timeline seeks to comprehensively document the actions he and the Republican Party, which he leads, take in that capacity. As his administration has been marked by censorship, conflicting press releases, and a lack of transparency, this page might not comprise his complete record of environmental action but will always be updated to reflect all the information we have at this time.

Updated March 16, 2017

Trump releases “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” which recommends that the Environmental Protection Agency be slashed by nearly a third, with 20 percent of jobs eliminated.

Major cuts include $427 million for restoration of the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, and the anticipated elimination of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which seeks to rein in carbon pollution from fossil fuel burning.

Congress must approve a final budget in October.

*Updated March 14, 2010&&&

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman states that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an alias email address when discussing climate matters. Tillerson used the alias - “Wayne Tracker” - for more than seven years.

Updated March 9, 2017

EPA head Scott Pruitt states he does not believe human activity contributes to global warming.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “But we don’t know that yet … [w]e need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

He also questions whether it is within the EPA’s purview to regulate carbon emissions (it is). Pruitt, whose appointment to the EPA was widely contested, has been cited for his conflicts of interests and ties to the oil industry before, but this statement marks one of the most public Trump administration moves to date in the attempt to normalize climate-change denial. Commenting on the ensuing backlash, Press Secretary Sean Spicer also pushes the false narrative that we do not have enough scientific basis to say for certain that humans are accelerating climate change.

Updated March 7, 2017

In possibly the most extreme manifestation yet of climate-change language disappearing from government websites since Trump took office, the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology Policy mission statement no longer includes the word “science.” The New Republic reports on the changes:

Updated March 6, 2017 (4:30 p.m. EST)

The White House plagiarizes ExxonMobil in a statement congratulating ExxonMobil. Setting the obvious problems with that decision aside, many felt that Trump was attempting to take credit for actions the oil company had set in motion long before he took office. ExxonMobil claimed that over the next decade it will create 45,000 jobs.

Updated March 6, 2017

An early draft of a White House proposal includes slashing the budget and eliminating federal leadership for the EPA’s Energy Star, a program which facilitates labeling of energy-efficient products. The remaining budget - $5 million - would be left essentially to tie up loose ends as the program is shuttered r transitioned to non-government leadership.

“EPA should begin developing legislative options and associated groundwork for transferring ownership and implementation of Energy Star to a non-governmental entity,” E&E News’s ClimateWire reported the draft as reading via an anonymous source. “EPA should also explore similar transfer opportunities for the remaining partnership programs as well.”

It’s worth noting here that while the GOP’s explanation for the spree of defunding and eliminating environmental protection programs is almost unilaterally that doing so will save money and create jobs, Energy Star already does that.

“Some of the most successful programs, mandatory and voluntary, like [the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act] and Energy Star, are slated for elimination notwithstanding their bipartisan and significant support among stakeholders,” Bill Becker, head of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, told ClimateWire.

Updated March 3, 2017 (9:00 p.m. EST)

The Washington Post reports that, according to a budget memo it has obtained, the Trump administration plans to cut the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget by 17 percent. Research appears to be the organization’s hardest-hit area — one proposed cut would eliminate the university coastal research program Sea Grant, while the NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research also stands to lose more than one-quarter of its budget. The White House reportedly justified the cuts by via the resources that could subsequently be allocated to the military.

Updated March 3, 2017 (7:30 p.m. EST)

The Los Angeles Times reports that according to sources familiar with the matter, Trump is considering an executive order that will revoke the state of California’s ability to determine fuel-efficiency standards for its cars. California is the only state with the power to do so at this time, per an Obama-era deal under the Clean Air Act.

Updated March 3, 2017

The Trump administration and the EPA are expected to make a joint announcement rolling back Obama-era regulations on car pollution — specifically, tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions. The New York Times reports that sources familiar with the effort say the announcement will come within the next few days, alongside the erasure of the Clean Power Plan. The rollbacks will directly hamstring the nation’s progress in increasing the number of electric cars on the road.

Updated March 2, 2017 (7:30 p.m. EST)

At a D.C. gathering of the United States Conference of Mayors, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says he intends to protect certain elements of the agency following a number of legislative moves targeting its budget, scope, and workforce. Specifically, he cites the value of the Superfund program, which manages hazardous waste, and the brownfields program, through which the EPA facilitates restoration of abandoned industrial sites.

“I want to be able to share those [victories] with the White House,” the Washington Post reports Pruitt as saying. “We need stories. We need illustrations about how important the brownfields program is to creating jobs and the environmental benefits that have been achieved.”

Updated March 2, 2017 (6:30 p.m. EST)

The EPA releases a statement announcing it’s backing off a transparency endeavor for oil and gas companies that was intended to curb methane emissions. The Obama-era request for owners of oil and natural gas resources to disclose information about the emissions levels and equipment is being withdrawn effective immediately.

“By taking this step, EPA is signaling that we take these concerns seriously and are committed to strengthening our partnership with the states,”the press release reported EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as saying. “Today’s action will reduce burdens on businesses while we take a closer look at the need for additional information from this industry.”

Updated March 2, 2017

The New York Times reports that according to unnamed energy and government officials, both Rex Tillerson and Ivanka Trump are urging the president to preserve the Paris Agreement. This puts them in direct opposition to Steve Bannon, as well as Trump’s own numerous promises to dismantle it.

Updated March 1, 2017 (6:00 p.m. EST)

The Washington Post reports that according to a newly obtained document, Trump’s much-speculated about plans for the EPA include not only the termination of dozens of individual programs, but a reducing the workforce from 15,000 to 12,000 - all within his first year.

“The administration’s 2018 budget blueprint will prioritize rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation’s security. It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path,” the Post reported the document as reading. “Your [funding] level highlights the trade-offs and choices inherent in pursuing these goals.”

“[The cuts] also can serve as catalyst for how the agency functions in the next 10 or 20 years or beyond. By looking ahead and focusing on clean water, clean air and other core responsibilities, rather than activities that are not required by law, EPA will be able to effectively achieve its mission.”

Updated March 1, 2017

Reuters reports that Trump will announce an executive order killing a number of Obama-era environmental regulations within the week. Carbon emission restrictions are expected to be targeted, as is a federal coal mining ban.

“Rescinding the federal coal leasing moratorium is part of that executive order, which has lots of different components, including the Clean Power Plan,” an anonymous White House official told Reuters.

Updated February 27, 2017

Following weeks of speculation around him as a front-runner, the EPA confirms that Ryan Jackson will be Scott Pruitt’s chief of staff. Jackson is a top aide to Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), whom you may remember as the man who disproved climate change with a snowball.

Updated February 26, 2017 (7:00 p.m. EST)

The New York Times breaks the news that the outline of Trump’s forthcoming plan for the next fiscal year includes a massive budget decrease for the EPA. Meanwhile, the Defense Department is expected to see an increase.

Updated February 26, 2017

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt meets with the Western Governors Association to discuss various state-level environmental issues. Pruitt has spent the week meeting with more than a dozen governors. No word yet if the recent massive plea to the WGA on behalf of the Endangered Species Act was on the agenda.

Updated February 25, 2017 (8:00 p.m. EST)

Acting on one of Trump’s new executive orders, EPA head Scott Pruitt puts a four-month delay on an order that would have required mining companies to prove they have the financial means to clean up after themselves. Without it, there’s little preventing those companies from simply declaring bankruptcy when they find themselves unable to foot the bill, leaving residue from hard-rock mining to permeate nearby waterways. Pruitt says the delay will give interested parties more time to comment.

Updated February 25, 2017

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. After touching on a number of non-environmental issues, he begins to criticize the practices of the agency he now leads for acting “outside” the law under former President Barack Obama and focusing so heavily on climate change. He vows to bring change, particularly on a state level.

“The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA,” he tells a cheering crowd several times. “We as Republicans don’t have anything to be apologetic about with respect to the environment. Nothing. We have always believed that you can grow jobs, grow an economy, while also doing what? Being a good steward of the environment.”

Updated February 24, 2017 (7:00 p.m. EST)

Following widespread suspicion that newly appointed EPA Scott Pruitt previously used his personal email address for government business, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office confirms he did indeed do so. Pruitt had testified under oath during his confirmation hearing that he did not use his personal account. Meanwhile, the investigation into his recently released emails continues.

Updated February 24, 2017

Trump issues an executive order requiring all federal agencies to assemble task forces to fine and “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.” While the EO’s language did not call out climate science specifically, a number of environmental organizations were quick to point out that it will likely be used to undo Obama-era environmental protections and promote the oil and gas industries. In a statement, the American Petroleum Institute Applauded the move, saying it would help create jobs. This also by and large remains the GOP’s sole argument for the continued rollbacks of environmental safety regulations.

Updated February 23, 2017

As the investigation of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s recently released emails continues, the volume of redacted domain names raises questions about whether Pruitt was using his personal email address for government business. Pruitt has previously testified under oath during his confirmation hearing that he uses only his government email for work. Per BuzzFeed:

“Have you ever conducted business using your personal email accounts, nonofficial Oklahoma Attorney General email accounts, text messages, instant messenger, voicemails, or any other medium?” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a Democrat on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, asked Pruitt in writing as part of his confirmation.
“I use only my official OAG [Office of the Attorney General] email address and government issued phone to conduct official business,” Pruitt replied.

Updated February 22, 2017

The Center for Media and Democracy begins poring through the Pruitt emails and finds the following:

• The oil and gas lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) coordinated opposition in 2013 to both the Renewable Fuel Standard Program and ozone limits with Pruitt’s office. While AFPM was making its own case against the RFS with the American Petroleum Institute, it provided Pruitt with a template language for an Oklahoma petition, noting “this argument is more credible coming from a State.” Later that year, Pruitt did file opposition to both the RFS and ozone limits.
• In a groundbreaking New York Times Pulitzer winning series in 2014, Eric Lipton exposed the close relationship between Devon Energy and Scott Pruitt, and highlighted examples where Devon Energy drafted letters that were sent by Pruitt under his own name. These new emails reveal more of the same close relationship with Devon Energy. In one email, Devon Energy helped draft language that was later sent by Pruitt to the EPA about the limiting of methane from oil and gas fracking.
• In 2013, Devon Energy organized a meeting between Scott Pruitt, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society and coal industry lawyer Paul Seby to plan the creation of a “clearinghouse” that would “assist AGs in addressing federalism issues.” Melissa Houston, then Pruitt’s chief of staff emailed Devon Energy saying “this will be an amazing resource for the AGs and for industry.”

Updated February 22, 2017 (12:00 p.m. EST)

A Senate committee votes to disband a Kentucky-based environmental watchdog group on the grounds that it was no longer productive and a drain on an already strapped budget. The Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission, described by the Courier-Journal as long in decline and additionally unsupported by the administration of Governor Matt Bevin, went unanimously undefended. The bill to dismantle it will now move to the full Senate.

Updated February 21, 2017 (11:00 p.m. EST)

Scott Pruitt begins disclosing the 7,564 pages of emails that could potentially prove him unfit to lead the EPA. The watchdog group that originally filed the lawsuit demanding he release them, the Center for Media and Democracy, said they’ve been told they’ll receive the first batch - about 2,600 emails. Pruitt was required to release them after the Oklahoma County Court ruled him to be in violation of the Open Records Act. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office was under intense pressure to release the emails before his confirmation last week, but to no avail.

Updated February 21, 2017

Newly confirmed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt addresses the agency for the first time. Rather than discussing specific policy plans, his speech seems to address the tension between himself and the employees he now leads, many of whom vocally opposed him.

“We ought to be able to get together and wrestle through some very difficult issues and do so in a civil manner. We ought to be able to be thoughtful and exchange ideas and engage in debate and make sure we do find answers to these problems,” he said. “I seek to be a good listener. You can’t lead if you don’t listen.”

He also references the agency as a “toxic environment,” verbally reprimands the workforce, and fails to mention climate change.

Updated February 20, 2017

The Washington Post reports that according to sources familiar with the legislation, Trump is preparing two executive orders targeting environmental protections established during the Obama Administration: one on climate change and one on water pollution. The first will require the EPA to revise a regulation limiting greenhouse gas output; the second will require the EPA, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, to revise a portion of the Clean Water Act that prevents farmers from polluting minor bodies of water that eventually flow into major ones (about 60 percent, nationwide). As with pretty much every rollback to this effect, the GOP’s argument is that such restrictions unfairly hinder economic growth.

Updated February 17, 2017 (9:00 p.m. EST)

The Atlantic reports that the United States Energy Information Administration has removed climate-change references from its kids page, “Energy Kids.” The updated language also represents coal energy in a subtly more positive way. A page titled “Where Greenhouse Gases Come From” was deleted.

Updated February 17, 2017 (3:30 p.m. EST)

The Senate confirms Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA. Pruitt is perhaps most widely known for his numerous extensive lawsuits against the agency itself - more than a dozen - as well as for his desire to dismantle it. His confirmation arrives in the midst of outcry about potentially disqualifying emails that have yet to be released.

Updated February 16, 2017 (1:30 p.m. EST)

“I want regulations because I want safety,” Trump told reporters during a press conference. “I want all environmental problems taken care of, but you don’t need four or five or six regulations to take care of the same thing.”

Updated February 15, 2017 (6:00 p.m. EST)

Maine Senator Susan Collins becomes the first and so far only Senate Republican to publicly oppose the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to lead the EPA. Collins told Maine Public Radio that after meeting with Pruitt and speaking with him at length, she intends to vote against him.

“Specifically, I have significant concerns that Mr. Pruitt has actively opposed and sued the EPA on numerous issues that are of great importance to the state of Maine, including mercury controls for coal-fired power plants and efforts to reduce cross-state air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” she says. “His actions leave me with considerable doubts about whether his vision for the EPA is consistent with the agency’s critical mission to protect human health and the environment.”

Updated February 14, 2017 (6:30 p.m. EST)

Congressional Republicans investigate the use of encrypted messaging app Signal among EPA employees. The House Science Committee’s Republican representatives brought the issue to the EPA inspector general - POLITICO previously broke the news of how EPA personnel were using encryption technology to safely communicate without fear of reprisal from the Trump administration.

Updated February 14, 2017 (2:00 p.m. EST)

Members of the Iowa House Education Committee vote to excise all references to climate change from the updated statewide K-12 curriculum.

“This is not about curriculum,” Republican Rep. Ryan Kerby, of New Plymouth, who voted in favor of the amended rules, told the Idaho Statesman. “If a school district wants to teach the dickens out of global warming, have at it.”

In addition to global warming, references to the origin of the universe were also removed.

Updated February 14, 2017

Trump signs a resolution undoing a requirement for oil and gas companies to report payments they make to governments when commercializing those resources. The joint resolution was part of Dodd-Frank and was rolled back on the grounds that it “imposed unreasonable compliance costs.” From the Wall Street Journal:

The president said of the move Tuesday: “It’s a big deal. The energy jobs are coming back. Lots of people going back to work now.”
He also turned to Mr. Ryan and said: “We’re working on Obamacare.”

Updated February 13, 2017

Breaking from tradition of the U.S. president and Canadian prime minister discussing climate change when they meet, Trump and Justin Trudeau appear not to have discussed climate change during their discussion today. This time last year, Obama and Trudeau famously agreed to work together to tangibly reduce methane emissions by 2025.

Updated February 11, 2017

The House passes a bill restricting the scope of National Science Foundation research grants. The bill, titled “Scientific Research in the National Interest Act,” is seen by many on the left as an attack on climate change research by essentially giving the NSF unnecessary and perhaps unrealistic hoops to jump through, making scientists less able to pursue necessary higher-risk research, and that the essence of science is not being able to guarantee results before the actual research is undertaken. Conservative supporters, on the other hand, say the bill enforces greater accountability and transparency to taxpayers. Votes fell predominately along party lines.

Updated February 9, 2017

Trump is named as a defendant in a federal climate lawsuit best-known for being driven by adolescent activists. Juliana et al v. United States of America et al goes back to 2015, when a group of 21 plaintiffs made a case that government officials (Obama included) had failed to protect them from the onslaught of man-made climate change.

“President Trump benefits financially from the fossil fuel industry, but his benefit comes at a heavy cost for the rest of us,” said plaintiff Kiran Oommen in a statement. “The policies of the U.S. government that ignore the threat of climate change are only going to get worse under the new presidency, based on Trump’s apparent lack of understanding of climate science and his plans to invest further in the fossil fuel industry.”

The Trump administration has not responded to the lawsuit at this time.

*Updated February 8, 2017 (9:00 p.m. EST)

Reuters reports that it has read a leaked draft of a Trump administration directive that would suspend a regulation under the Dodd-Frank rule requiring companies to disclose whether they obtained natural resources from war-torn parts of Africa. The suspension, which would undo substantial human rights work on what are known as “conflict minerals,” would last for the next two years.

Updated February 8, 2017

White House officials including Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump meet with former Secretary of State James A. Baker III to hear the latter’s “conservative climate solution.” The proposed plan would replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan with a carbon tax. The concept of a carbon tax itself generally has some bipartisan support, but the reception of this particular plan is difficult to predict at this time. The authors of the proposal, the full title of which is “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends,” acknowledge the need to take action against climate change, though they do not acknowledge that the crisis is man-made. This marks the first time top Republican brass has introduced a detailed plan to fight climate change.

“It’s really important that we Republicans have a seat at the table when people start talking about climate change,” Baker told The New York Times. “I don’t accept the idea that it’s all man-made … but I do accept that the risks are sufficiently great that we need to have an insurance policy … I have no idea what the prospects [for the White House approving the plan] are.”

Updated February 6, 2017

Fusion reports that Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, appeared to lie under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. Pruitt claimed he had filed briefs in an ongoing case against poultry companies that had been disposing of their industrial waste in the Illinois River. Despite the case having dragged on for seven years, Fusion’s review of the federal records found that Pruitt, who has filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the EPA, had filed no such briefs on this case’s behalf.

“I have taken no action to undermine that case,” Pruitt told Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the hearing, during which he also memorably addressed the senator as ‘your honor.’ “I have done nothing but file briefs in support of the court making a decision.”

Updated February 2, 2017

The House uses the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation’ rule, sometimes called the methane waste prevention rule. It prohibited natural gas from being vented on public and tribal lands. Per the White House statement of administration policy:

“The bill disapproves an expensive rule that would require oil and gas producers to reduce natural gas waste and emissions, regardless of whether or not it is economically viable to do so. The majority of affected oil and gas operators are small businesses, and productive wells could be unnecessarily shut in to meet the requirements of this rule. While minimizing waste remains an important component of responsible energy development, the Administration is committed to reducing regulatory burdens on American businesses, supporting energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans, maximizing the use of American resources, and freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.”

Updated February 2, 2017

The Trump administration continues to scrub Obama-era climate change references from the Environmental Protection Agency website. As reported by Climate Central, a group of scientists tracking the updates found the following changes, including erasure of references to Federal climate plans, carbon pollution, and tribal assistance programs.

EDGI/Climate Central

Updated February 2, 2017

Head of the House Science Committee Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) convenes a hearing called “Make the EPA Great Again.” Smith, a long-time climate change denier, was the sponsor of the failed 2015 Secret Science Reform Act legislation, which stated that the Environmental Protection Agency used “hidden and flawed science.” This hearing is expected to follow a similar agenda in terms of crippling the organization’s funding and access.

Updated February 2, 2017

The House votes to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, a safety measure established under the Obama Administration that prohibits companies from dumping mining waste — coal dust, basically — into local waterways. The ruling, which was pushed through via the Congressional Review Act, came after several days of rumors that the measure was being targeted. The Stream Protection Rule was one of a number of last-ditch efforts in the final days of the previous administration to shore up environmental protections before Trump took office; GOP opposition has centered on the argument that the safety regulation was a job-killer.

Updated February 1, 2017

The House votes to kill a transparency standard for oil companies lobbied against by newly appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he was still CEO of Exxon-Mobil. The rule previously required oil and gas companies to disclose any payments they made to foreign governments. It’s relevant here to note Tillerson’s history of ties to foreign regimes, especially Russia’s, and that he openly side-stepped U.S. and Iraqi interests to sign an oil deal with the Kurdish government.

The ruling was pushed through via the Congressional Review Act, which the GOP has been using to target efforts made by the Obama Administration in its final days.

Updated February 1, 2017

Trump confirms Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state. Tillerson is a former CEO of ExxonMobil with a history of pushing for U.S. oil companies to operate with decreasing transparency. He is strongly against the Paris Agreement, and his closely contested appointment was particularly opposed by environmentalists.

Updated January 31, 2017

The Huffington Post obtains an email from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) indicating that he planned to introduce a bill to “completely abolish” the Environmental Protection Agency by December 31, 2018. Gaetz, who has a long track record of opposing environmental sanctions, called the EPA “abusive” and an “extraordinary offender” against the American people. The emails asks fora co-sponsor to come forward by noon on February 3, 2017.

Updated January 30, 2017

Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency and has since returned to his role with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told reporters in London that the new administration “will definitely” pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.

“The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy. Trump has made it clear he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package,” he said.

Ebell suggested the “cleanest way” out of the deal would be to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change itself. The UNFCCC is an international treaty signed in 1992 that has been ratified by all member states of the United Nations and provides a legal framework for global negotiations on climate change action.

Updated January 26, 2017

Following reports that Trump would be cutting both budget and staff from the Environmental Protection Agency, ex-transition team leader Myron Ebell confirms the news to the Associated Press. Ebell says he is not at liberty to divulge specifics, but speculates that the EPA’s $8 million budget would be reduced to $7 billion and expresses a personal wish that the workforce be reduced by half.

Myron is a climate change denier who has expressed a desire to see the Paris Agreement shredded. He is not a scientist, but a former employee of the ExxonMobil-funded “Frontiers of Science” and the author of an article titled “Love Global Warming” that begins by asking “What’s wrong with mild winters, anyway?”

Updated January 25, 2017

David Gelernter, recently revealed as the favorite to become Trump’s science advisor, gives an interview to the Yale Daily News that makes clear his skepticism about man-made climate change.

“For human beings to change the climate of the planet is a monstrously enormous undertaking,” Gelernter said. I haven’t seen convincing evidence of it.”

Updated January 25, 2017

Trump issues a mandate that all Environmental Protection Agency data and research must be approved by his staff before it can be released to the public.

Updated January 24, 2017

Trump orders the Environmental Protection Agency to delete its climate change web page. The order is walked back later that evening; its future remains unclear among conflicting reports.

Updated January 24, 2017

Nine Wyoming GOP senators and representatives submit a Senate bill to penalize industrial wind and solar energy production across the state. Small-scale, individual operations like roof-top solar panels would be unaffected, but beginning in 2018 any large-scale electric utility or electricity-generating resource would have to derive 95 percent of its energy sales from “eligible generating resources” - coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, net metering, nuclear, or oil - or else face a fine.

Updated January 24, 2017

The Trump administration bans the United States Department of Agriculture from sharing scientific research with the public; the order is rescinded later that evening. The administration also censors the National Parks Service official twitter account, causing various other government parks accounts to go rogue and spawning a number of viral parody accounts.

Updated January 24, 2017

Trump freezes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. This could immediately impact the agency’s ability to combat environmental catastrophes besides climate change — like cleaning up toxic waste.

Updated January 24, 2017

Trump signs executive orders to move both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines forward. If executed, the orders will be in violation of the government’s requirement to negotiate any such permits with the Standing Rock Sioux, and will force the tribe to live with 570,000 barrels of crude oil tunneling directly under its primary drinking water supply - each day. Construction would also cut through one of the Sioux’s sacred burial grounds.

The Standing Rock Sioux pledges legal action in the wake of the news.

Halting of the DAPL construction in December 2016 was viewed as a massive victory for the Standing Rock Sioux, for environmentalism, and for the act of political protest. Thousands of members of the Standing Rock tribe and their allies had camped at the site for months to block the pipeline’s construction, resulting in hundreds of arrests.

Trump, who has advocated for coal and fossil fuels to be the nation’s primary sources of energy, personally owned stake in Energy Transfer Partners - the company to which DAPL construction is contracted — when the protests were taking place in the fall. Whether or not he still owns shares is unclear.

Updated January 23, 2017

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cancel an upcoming conference on climate change, purportedly out of fear of reprisal from the Trump administration. While not a direct action of the administration itself, it reflects the atmosphere of censorship that has spread over various entities working to fight climate change in the days since the inauguration. In an interview with PBS NewsHour, the executive director of the American Public Health Association calls the decision a strategic retreat.”

Updated January 20, 2017

At noon, as Donald Trump is sworn in on two bibles as the 45th president of the United States, all references to climate change are simultaneously purged from the White House website. The only remaining reference to climate is under the new page for the Trump administration’s America First energy plan:

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

The deleted pages originally appeared like this:

And have since been updated to loop back to this:

The new energy plan vows to embrace the shale oil and gas revolution.

Of importance: The $30 billion figure cited in the excerpt above is patently false. As Climate Central points out, it was pulled from a 2015 paper that was a) not peer-reviewed and b) written on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

This story was originally published on January 20, 2017.

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