Friday, March 3, 2017

Environment | Week Highlights

02/24/2017 - 03/02/2017

Environmental Issues Summary

02/25/17. EPA chief promises "aggressive" rollback of regulations soon. "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 and grow the economy while also ... being a good steward of the environment." Pruitt hinted at big action this week to start rolling back controversial environmental regulations.
02/27/17. New EPA head takes action — delaying a mining clean-up rule. In one of his first acts of business, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt directed his new staff to delay a initiative that would require mining companies to prove they can clean up after themselves.
02/28/17. Trump pulled another executive order out of his deregulation pocket, one that is a threat to drinking water. As well as it is a threat to wetlands and endangered species. Trump's executive order fulfills a campaign promise to undo the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule, but does not immediately eliminate the measure. Instead, Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to "review and reconsider" the rule. That process may take multiple years and touch off a legal fight that could last even longer.
03/01/17. White House eyes plan to cut EPA staff by one-fifth, eliminating key programs.“The administration’s 2018 budget blueprint will prioritize rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation’s security,” the document says. “It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path.”
03/01/17. Senate approves Trump's nominee for Interior.* Ryan Zinke has been confirmed as the incoming Secretary of Interior, a position that oversees management of a substantial amount of the nation’s public lands, wildlife and industrial development. And what you should know is that Ryan Zinke has consistently voted to weaken clean air standards, dismantle environmental regulations, and expand fossil fuel exploration on public lands...
03/02/17. Rick Perry has been confirmed as the secretary of Energy. What you should know about this man is that Perry was an outspoken climate denier while he was governor of Texas and repeatedly sued the Environmental Protection Agency over regulations involving the fossil fuel industry. When he ran for president, Perry once said he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy but then forgot the name of the agency. Read more about the recent anti-environmental nominations of Perry and Zinke.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts


Mass Pipeline. Catching up with what is going on state-wise: A Berkshire Superior Court judge said this month that he intends to authorize a $640,000 negotiated settlement between the state and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. for a six-acre easement through the Otis State Forest. Tennessee plans to route its 13-mile Connecticut Expansion project through the state-owned conservation land. The pipeline has faced stiff opposition [Read more...].
Few more facts about the New England’s Big Pipeline Myth.

Local Environmental Conferences-Trainings-Events

02/26/17 & 03/05/17 (Sundays) 
The Sierra Club hosted an activist training this past Sunday Feb 26th (and also hosted again free of charge this March 5th) in Boston, providing an overview of Clean Energy and the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) –a legal mandate setting the lower limit of renewable energy that electric utilities are required to purchase.
⇨ People should consider supporting the State bill - Clean Energy Purchasing Requirement HD.2103 (still a docket at this time). Sponsor: Rep. Kay Khan. Bill that would increase the rate of increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), from the current 1% to at least 2% a year, and require municipal electric utilities – currently exempt - to begin complying with the RPS. Our state wants to reach a target of a decrease of green house emission by 80% by 2050 (w/ 25% by 2020). We are not on target, and increasing our RPS would contribute greatly to meet this goal.
The second part of the training comprised of a few lectures informing on how to best reach your State legislators and prepare for meeting with them.
03/05/17 (Sunday) 
For those interested there is also the Local Environmental Action 2017 Conference happening this Sunday at Northeastern (03/05/17). Join me there: this is a great opportunity to understand our local environmental issues, to meet with local activists and to learn how to organize with experts activist in the field.
03/11/17 (Saturday) 
How about joining the Charles River Conservancy Clean-up event. The plan? Pruning trees and shrubs, removing litter and leaves in Herter Park. A great way to be involved and meet alike people.

State Legislative Actions

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