Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Executive Order

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Roosevelt Room

2:23 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, everybody. We appreciate you being here. Thank you very much. First of all, I want to congratulate Scott Pruitt, who’s here someplace. Where’s Scott? (Applause.) So important. We’re going to free up our country, and it’s going be done in a very environmental and positive environmental way, I will tell you that, but create millions of jobs. So many jobs are delayed for so many years, and it’s unfair to everybody. So I want congratulate Scott.

I want to thank everyone for being here today. We have a great group of farmers, homebuilders, and county commissioners. They’re all represented. They’re standing alongside of me. I’d also like to thank Jim Inhofe, who’s been so terrific in so many different ways, beyond even this. So I want thank Jim and also the leadership in the Senate on the issue, a friend of mine — a great friend of mine — John Barrasso.

The EPA’s so-called “Waters of the United States” rule is one of the worst examples of federal regulation, and it has truly run amok, and is one of the rules most strongly opposed by farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers all across our land. It’s prohibiting them from being allowed to do what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s been a disaster.

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Trump’s Budget Will Require 10 Percent Spending Cuts at Non-Defense Agencies

Trump’s Budget Will Require 10 Percent Spending Cuts at Non-Defense Agencies

President Donald Trump speaks to a meeting of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at the White House.
President Donald Trump speaks to a meeting of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at the White House. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Trump administration will require $54 billion in cuts at non-national security federal agencies in its preliminary fiscal 2018 budget proposal, an Office of Management and Budget official said Monday. Nearly every domestic agency will shoulder a share of the reductions.

The spending decreases will offset an equal increase in spending at the Defense Department, which the official said will primarily be given to the Pentagon to spend as it sees fit. The proposed boost, which still must go through the congressional appropriations process, would represent about a 10 percent increase to the Defense budget. The White House will propose that foreign aid be cut to partially offset the new spending.

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Trump’s speech to Congress to touch on tax cuts, health plan

Trump’s speech to Congress to touch on tax cuts, health plan

Published: Feb 26, 2017 4:57 p.m. ET

No cuts planned for Social Security, Medicare, White House says
Reuters President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on Feb. 16.

By KRISTINAPETERSON

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump is expected to emphasize two of his top legislative priorities, simplifying the tax code and dismantling the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with something else.

But Trump won’t push for curbing spending on Social Security and Medicare, two federal safety-net programs that Republicans have said for years must be overhauled to reduce the budget deficit.

We are not touching those now. So don’t expect to see that as part of this budget,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

Gaetz: The EPA cannot be saved

Gaetz: The EPA cannot be saved

“What is a watershed assessment?” That’s what Edwin Henry wondered after the EPA suddenly and unexpectedly appeared on his farm in Blackman, Tennessee. His “environmental impact” was simply widening his cows’ drinking pond on his own property. No animals were harmed in the making of that pond — but Mr. Henry sure was. The damage: hundreds of thousands of dollars in compliance costs that didn’t help a single species or restore an acre of habitat. What a waste!

This happens every day across America. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, EPA compliance costs total more than $300 billion dollars annually. More and more money is being spent in order to address smaller and smaller risks. The Office of Management and Budget rated the 30 least cost-effective regulations — the EPA created 17 of them.

Unlike our environment, the EPA cannot be saved. One deputy stole nearly a million dollars. Others were busted for misusing funds to hire public relations consultants. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office found that the EPA was showing favoritism in awarding grants, not managing the performance of grants, and misappropriating funds intended for environmental restoration. Stanford fellow Dr. Henry Miller referred to the EPA as “relentlessly ideological, politicized, corrupt and incompetent.”

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The EPA’s social-media accounts have been silent since the inauguration

 

February 16 at 3:30 PM

Nearly a month after the presidential inauguration — and after being subject to temporary media blackout shortly thereafter — the Environmental Protection Agency has remained silent on social media, even while other federal agencies have gone on communicating as usual. In fact, the agency has posted nothing on its official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts since Jan. 19, the day before President Trump was sworn into office.

According to an agency spokesman, the social-media hiatus will continue until an EPA administrator has been officially confirmed. But the reasons for the freeze in the meantime remain unclear.

Last month’s media restrictions were instituted by Trump administration officials within days of the inauguration. The order instructed employees of the EPA, along with other agencies including the Interior and Agriculture departments, to restrict their communications with the public via news releases and official social-media accounts. A memo to EPA staff members, sent on Jan. 23, noted that a digital strategist would be coming on board to oversee social-media accounts, some of which it said may become “more centrally controlled.”

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GOP Races Against Time to Roll Back Clock on EPA, Other Rules

 

GOP Races Against Time to Roll Back Clock on EPA, Other Rules

By Dean Scott

Republicans long supportive of rolling back regulations are making good on their threat to quash Obama era rules after the GOP scored a trifecta by winning the White House and holding control of Congress.

The Republican-controlled House is moving at a rapid clip, voting over the last two weeks to nullify a half-dozen rules issued in the waning months of President Barack Obama’s presidency—three of them energy or environment related—under a rarely used 1996 law, the Congressional Review Act.

The Senate also is proving surprisingly agile given its traditionally lumbering pace, voting to nullify two of the regulations the House voted down. Both chambers have passed a resolution that would nullify the Interior Department’s stream buffer rule, the coal mining industry’s top regulatory target. And any resolutions nullifying regulations that pass Congress will almost certainly be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

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Eliminating the EPA: Can it be done, and would we regret it?

 

Eliminating the EPA: Can it be done, and would we regret it?

 When the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency was taking its first steps under Administrator William Ruckelshaus, leadership needed a way to measure whether or not they were making good policy decisions.

Because right from its start, said A. James Barnes, former chief of staff for Ruckelshaus,  environmental groups and industry were attacking the agency.

“We all often thought if Ruckleshaus made a decision and both General Motors and Ralph Nader squealed, maybe you’d cut it about right,” Barnes said. “If only one of them squealed, you wondered maybe did I miss something.”

The EPA turns 46 this December. What started as an executive order under President Richard Nixon, a $1 billion budget, 4,000 employees, and a goal of making American air clean again, the agency today boasts a workforce of more than 15,000 people, a budget of $8 billion and oversees everything from mercury spills in high school science labs to nuclear waste.

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Federal workers stay mum on Trump and turn to unions

Federal workers stay mum on Trump and turn to unions

President Donald Trump ordered a government hiring freeze for all departments but the military in his first week in office. 
President Donald Trump ordered a government hiring freeze for all departments but the military in his first week in office.  – Ron Sachs – Pool/Getty Images

The election of Donald Trump is bringing lots of changes to Washington — many federal workers are contending with a hiring freeze and limits on what they say to the public. 

It’s very hard to interview federal workers right now, because they’re afraid of getting reprimanded – even fired. The Environmental Protection Agency told employees to send press inquiries to management, and it froze social media activity. The White House said there’s no official gag order. Still, there’s a lot of fear.

“We’re living in an apprentice reality – you’re fired!” said John O’Grady, a 30-year EPA employee and president of the American Federation of Government Employees’ EPA Council. “Yeah – people are scared, so they’re not going to talk.”

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Agencies Could See Deeper, Faster Cuts Than Previously Contemplated

Agencies Could See Deeper, Faster Cuts Than Previously Contemplated

Most years, even in a Presidential transition, federal agencies have a pretty decent sense of where their budgets are headed. And in transition years, they are typically in overdrive trying to build a budget reflecting directions issued by the new administration. Not so this year. With no director of the Office of Management and Budget yet on board and no specific budget instructions coming from the White House, there are at least three possible budget scenarios in play. With the continuing resolution set to expire in eight weeks, agencies face tremendous uncertainty. And it’s likely to be awhile before they have much clarity.

Here’s where we stand. The CR expires in early April. Most initial expectations were that it would essentially be extended through the rest of the fiscal year, with a few adjustments, while the administration and Congress work toward a fiscal 2018 budget plan. But given the pace and expansiveness of the earliest Trump administration actions, it is not unreasonable to expect the White House to push for significant, immediate budget adjustments and actions.

Meanwhile, there are three budget proposals on the table that need to be taken seriously. The so-called “Ryan Budget” is the one most see as the baseline for congressional Republicans. That budget would significantly boost defense spending and reduce non-defense spending to its lowest proportional level in some 50 years. But lurking in the background is the House Republican Study Conference budget proposal, fashioned by the serious deficit hawks. Their proposal would cut spending even deeper than the Ryan plan, to the tune of some $800 billion, including reductions in some entitlement programs.

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An Eroding Mission at EPA

An Eroding Mission at EPA

The Bush administration has weakened the agency charged with safeguarding health and the environment.

Updated: DECEMBER 7, 2008 — 3:01 AM EST

WASHINGTON – On Dec. 5, 2007, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson prepared to send the White House an extraordinary document. It declared that climate change imperiled the public welfare – a decision that would trigger the nation’s first mandatory global-warming regulations.

Johnson, a career scientist, knew that his draft would meet with resistance from antiregulatory ideologues at the White House, but he believed the science was solid.

According to confidential records reviewed by The Inquirer, Johnson cited strong evidence: rises in sea level, extreme hot and cold days, ecosystem changes, melting glaciers, and more. Minor doubts about long-term effects, he wrote, were not enough to alter his conclusion.

Two sentences in Johnson’s draft stood out. In sum: The U.S. emits more greenhouse gases from cars than most countries do from all pollution sources. This fact is so compelling that it alone supports The Administrator’s finding.

At 2:10 p.m., Associate Deputy Administrator Jason Burnett e-mailed the climate-change draft to the White House as an attachment.

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