Articles on US environmental policy

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Rather than fade into the night, coal plants could stick around longer under Trump’s proposal. Duke Energy

Trump’s coal plan – neither clean nor affordable

Trump's energy plan may meet the letter of the law but the Affordable Clean Energy Plan reflects the administration's clear agenda to move slowly or not at all on climate change.
Protesters at a rally on the state of the EPA organized by the American Federation of Government Employees union, April 25, 2018, in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

EPA staff say the Trump administration is changing their mission from protecting human health and the environment to protecting industry

Government agencies are supposed to listen to the industries they regulate, but what if they tune out everyone else? Scholars call this regulatory capture, and some staffers see it happening at EPA.
A streamlined NEPA review of replacing New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River, which would normally take 3-5 years, was completed in 1.5 years. Jim Henderson

Trump proposal to weaken project reviews threatens the ‘Magna Carta of environmental law’

Do environmental reviews delay large-scale projects? The Trump administration says yes, but studies show that these reviews lead to better results and can even save time and money.
False-color image of ozone concentrations above Antarctica on Oct. 2, 2015. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Is Earth’s ozone layer still at risk? 5 questions answered

Earth's ozone layer shields us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Nations have been working to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals since the 1980s, but recent studies show that there is still work to do.
One of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s signature moves has been to put the brakes on stringent fuel economy rules. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

I’m suing Scott Pruitt’s broken EPA - here’s how to fix it

An academic suing the EPA over its decision to bar certain scientists from serving on advisory boards says the EPA needs to address legitimate criticisms to rebuild after Pruitt.
Healthy aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay. Cassie Gurbisz/University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Cutting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay has helped underwater grasses rebound

An ambitious plan to cut the flow of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay has produced historic regrowth of underwater seagrasses. These results offer hope for other polluted water bodies.
Coal stockpile at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin power plant, 2011. Michael Pereckas

Even when it’s sitting in storage, coal threatens human health

A recent study shows that large piles of coal produce measurable quantities of fine particulate air pollution within a 25-mile radius. Covering coal trains and storage piles could reduce the problem.
To comply with air pollution laws, midwest energy companies built tall smokestacks to displace pollutants. This one at Indiana’s Rockport Generating Station is 1,038 feet high, just 25 feet shorter than the Eiffel Tower. Don Sniegowski

Why shifting regulatory power to the states won’t improve the environment

Trump administration officials argue that states can regulate more effectively than the federal government. But without leadership from the top, federalism may allow red states to avoid acting.
Snow geese settle on a wetland in North Dakota. If the Trump administration successfully rescinds the Clean Water Rule, many wetlands might lose federal protection. Krista Lundgren USFWS/Flickr

Does Scott Pruitt have a solid case for repealing the Clean Water Rule?

The Clean Water Rule spells out which streams, wetlands and other water bodies receive federal protection. The Trump administration wants to repeal it, but will face high hurdles in court.
Heavy gray smog blankets northeastern China, including Beijing and Tianjin, on Dec. 18, 2016 during a five-day air pollution ‘red alert.’ NASA Earth Observatory

When some US firms move production overseas, they also offshore their pollution

New research shows that importing goods from low-wage countries has helped US manufacturers shift production to less-polluting industries, produce less waste and spend less on pollution control.

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