Trump’s plan to dismember government


Trump’s plan to dismember government

  • Trump is looking to redefine the relationship between government and citizens
  • His budget will propose dramatic cuts in federal environmental and education programs

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump plans to dismember government one dollar at a time.

His first budget — expected to be unveiled later this week — will mark Trump’s most significant attempt yet to remold national life and the relationship between federal and state power.

It would codify an assault on regulatory regimes over the environment, business and education bequeathed by former President Barack Obama, and attempt to halt decades of steadily growing government reach. 

All presidential budgets are aspirational documents — and few emerge from Congress in the same shape as they arrived on Capitol Hill.

But Trump’s first budget will make more of a statement than most debut spending blueprints by other new presidents. The White House has made clear it intends to use the document to usher in the radical political changes that powered Trump’s upstart, anti-establishment campaign last year.

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Pruitt’s CO2 Comments Prompt Voicemail Jam, Rebuke from Scientists


Pruitt’s CO2 Comments Prompt Voicemail Jam, Rebuke from Scientists

A coal-fired power plant in West Virginia.

Late last week Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, appeared on the CNBC show “Squawk Box.” During his interview, he insisted that carbon emissions are not a primary cause of climate change.

“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 told host Joe Kernen.

To many, Pruitt’s comments are in line with the Donald Trump administration’s playbook. The idea is simple: Say something outrageous that will ignite a firestorm on social media and foment the launch of press releases and public statements from organizations that oppose the president’s agenda. Meanwhile, the White House is dishing out executive orders as it dismantles or delays rules implemented by the previous administration. Such changes in policy are not as fun to read and cannot be crammed in a 140-character tweet, but nonetheless they have far more impact.

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Trump Will Continue Obama’s Biggest Environmental Mistake: More Drilling


Trump Will Continue Obama’s Biggest Environmental Mistake: More Drilling

For all of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s positive moves on clean energy and environmental protection, one glaring black mark remains on his record: He oversaw a huge expansion in domestic oil drilling. Unfortunately, this is the only part of his legacy that incoming President Donald Trump wants to keep intact.

While Obama’s support for renewables and stricter regulations on dirty power plants is one reason that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped during his presidency, many say not enough was done to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Even the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster – from which the Gulf Coast is still recovering — did not dent drilling under Obama.

Oil production, which had been falling since the 1970s, grew under an astounding 72 percent during the Obama years. That is 3.6 million extra barrels a day from a president who promised to shift us to more environmentally-friendly policies. In 2013, the U.S. even became the world’s leading oil and gas producer. Remember how Republicans used to always call for energy independence? Under Obama, we got closer to that goal than ever before.

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Climate Change Complicates the Whole Dam Debate

Climate Change Complicates the Whole Dam Debate

Demolishing dams helps many fish but threatens waters where some native species shelter from drought and invasive predators

Oroville Dam in California. Credit: California National Guard Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

With California now on track to have the rainiest year in its history—on the heels of its worst drought in 500 years—the state has become a daily reminder that extreme weather events are on the rise. And the recent near-collapse of the spillway at California’s massive Oroville Dam put an exclamation point on the potentially catastrophic risks.

More than 4,000 dams in the U.S. are now rated unsafe because of structural or other deficiencies. Bringing the entire system of 90,000 dams up to current standards would cost about $79 billion, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. Hence, it has become increasingly common to demolish problematic dams, mainly for economic and public safety reasons, and less often to open up old habitats to native fish. About 700 dams have been taken down across the U.S. over the past decade, with overwhelmingly beneficial results for river species and ecosystems.

Now, however, a new study in Biological Conservation takes the science of dam removal in an unexpected direction. Although acknowledging that reopening rivers usually leads to “increased species richness, abundance and biomass,” a team of South African and Australian authors argues that in some cases threatened species may actually benefit from keeping existing dams intact.

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Trump budget will reportedly call for deep cuts to federal workforce


Trump budget will reportedly call for deep cuts to federal workforce

March 13, 2017 (Photo Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
More rumblings of the president’s anticipated budget cast a cloud of uncertainty for federal employees on March 13, as rumors of stark workforce cuts began to swirl.

A story from The Washington Post claims that the budget — which will be unveiled on March 16 — calls for “a historic contraction of the federal workforce,” in the form of steep cuts in discretionary spending.

Federal Times
Trump’s budget: $54B boost in defense spending at expense of civilian agencies

“This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II,” the story said.

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It’s the Golden Age of Climate Denial

It’s the Golden Age of Climate Denial

In Trump’s America, more CO2 in the atmosphere is actually good.


On the Friday afternoon of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, inside the hulking Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, a pair of men besuited in various shades of olive and brown discussed how the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (which they granted were up 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution) had led to a phenomenon called “global greening.” Plants need CO2 to grow, they told a captivated audience of a couple dozen people, and when there’s more of it, they grow faster, larger, and—since they need less water—in drier areas.

CPAC has long been a place for the outlandish and the absurd to make its way from the ideological bayou to the mainstream. This year, multiple seminars made the case that Actually, More CO2 in the Atmosphere Is Good. Because of increased CO2 levels, “the Earth is in a far better place today,” Craig Idso of CO2Science and the board of directors of the CO2 Coalition told his interviewer, James Delingpole of Breitbart, in a seminar sponsored by the coalition. Most of those assembled nodded vigorously. Later, they showcased a satellite map demonstrating the increased surface area of plant life in recent years.

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Trump’s Climate Agenda: Do Less, With Less


Trump’s Climate Agenda: Do Less, With Less

From the EPA to the White House, from the budget to the federal register, his administration is dismantling climate-change regulation and the science that supports it.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
 Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seems like a refined and intelligent man. Speaking in public, he has an easy manner, a winsome smirk, and a pleasant drawl. Even though Senator Susan Collins opposed his nomination to lead the agency, the Republican senator made sure to note that he is bright and enjoyable, and that she might support him elsewhere in government.
He seems reasonable and genteel—all you’d want in southern lawyer.

Yet on Thursday, Pruitt let slip an opinion that was ugly, and false, and ugly in its falsehood. Carbon dioxide, he said, is not a “primary contributor” to global warming. In his opinion, the topic requires more study and debate.

With this comment, Pruitt finally confirms what many had long suspected: that he broadly rejects the mainstream scientific consensus around climate change. As I wrote Thursday, decades of research have found that carbon dioxide is a primary driver of modern-day global warming. Pruitt’s comment is ugly because he is discarding all the work of discovery that got us there—all those decades of careful observation, onerous computation, and hard-won consensus—without providing an equivalent body of evidence. He is embracing the concept of “study and debate” as a stall, refusing to cede to what actual study and debate have found. It flies in the face of discovery, of curiosity, and of fact.

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New Trump Order Will Ask Agencies to Eliminate Waste, Workforce Redundancies


New Trump Order Will Ask Agencies to Eliminate Waste, Workforce Redundancies

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Trump on Monday will issue a new executive order tasking federal agencies with cutting waste through agency reevaluation and reorganization.

The order will require a “thorough examination” of every executive branch agency to identify “where money can be saved and services improved,” according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Part of the proposed solution could result in a federal workforce reduction, as Spicer said the review could determine there are “too many people performing a function.”

Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will ask agencies to “review themselves” to conduct the “long overdue reorganization,” Spicer said. There is no set number of programs or dollars the administration is seeking to eliminate, but the goal is to find government functions that are “bloated or duplicative or frankly just outdated or in need of technological advances.” The administration may ultimately recommend the elimination of wholesale agencies.

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