“For those concerned, don’t panic! For those excited, don’t get too euphoric.”
These were the words spoken by Washington, DC lobbyist and Republican insider Darrell Henry at the November 2016 E2Tech Expo, less than two weeks after a historic national election that catapulted real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump into the role of Leader of the Free World.
We are approaching the halfway point of President Trump’s first year in office. Where are we now?
Henry, a partner at a Capitol Hill lobby shop, was making the point that global market forces will continue to drive energy and environmental activities, and any changes to environmental and energy policy will be gradual and measured. In other words, “there will be no return to ‘Drill, baby, drill,’ a reference to a 2008 Republican campaign slogan popularized by then Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. Here are some of the main energy and environmental changes made by the current administration in its first 180 days:
President Trump has issued six energy and environmental Executive Orders addressing agency regulations, expediting environmental reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects, offshore energy, national monument designations, energy independence and economic growth, and reviewing the "Waters of the United States." He has also issued two Presidential Memoranda on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.
The United States became one of only three countries to not participate in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Green Climate Fund and Global Climate Change Initiative programs are both facing elimination in the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development FY 2018 presidential budget.
The Trump Budget:
President Trump announced his fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, with all agencies except the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Veteran Affairs experiencing funding cuts.
- Proposed Department of Energy (DOE) program eliminations include the Office of Weatherization & Intergovernmental Programs, the U.S. State Energy Program (which is currently funding the development of Maine’s Energy Roadmap through the Governor’s Energy Office and E2Tech), and the Weatherization Assistance Program.
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helped heat 37,192 households in Maine in 2015, is facing elimination within the Department of Health and Human Services.
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed budget includes defunding multiple federal grant programs, including Beaches Protection, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Underground Storage Tanks, Water Quality Research and Support Grants, and Pollution Prevention, along with the Beach/Fish Programs, the Endocrine Disruptors Program, the Environmental Education Program, the Environmental Justice Program, the Marine Pollution Program, the National Estuary Program/Coastal Waterways, the Pollution Prevention Program, the RCRA: Waste Minimization & Recycling Program, the Science Policy and Biotechnology Program, and the Lead Risk Reduction Program. Multiple projects within the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (Energy Star, Combined Heat & Power Partnership, Responsible Appliance Disposal Program, etc.) are facing elimination, along with the Global Change Research program, and the Surface Water Protection program. The Brownfields grant program has a proposed 30% decrease in funding which is currently funding the redevelopment of several Maine industrial and paper mill sites.
- The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration is facing, among others, the elimination of the Coastal Zone Management Grants Program, the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Grants, the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, the National Sea Grant College Program, the Marine Aquaculture Program, and the Office of Education. These NOAA programs provide federal funding for Maine departments, projects, programs, and industries.
- Within the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed program cuts for every division except Energy and Minerals Management, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has proposed cuts to regulations, while the U.S. Geological Survey receives an overall 13% cut, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receives an overall 5% cut, and the National Park Service receives an overall 5% cut, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has a proposed 45% increase and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has a proposed 5% increase. These budget changes reflect the administration’s goals to increase resource extraction on public lands and offshore energy production to become “energy-dominant”.
The Trump Administration highlighted their energy-dominance plan during June 26-30 "Energy Week." Plans include increasing fossil fuel production through pipelines and harvesting on public lands to become a net exporter in fossil fuels, creating electricity with "clean" coal, increasing nuclear power, reducing energy regulations, and creating an "all of the above" energy portfolio. Read the full Energy Week message from Secretary Perry, Secretary Zinke, and Administrator Pruitt here.
Trump's Major Energy & Environmental Appointees
|| President's Budget
| Environmental Protection Agency
|| Confirmed: Scott Pruit
| Department of Energy
|| Confirmed: Rick Perry
| Department of Interior
|| Confirmed: Ryan Zinke
| Department of Commerce
|| Confirmed: Wilbur Ross
| Department of Agriculture
|| Confirmed: George Perdue
| National Aeronautics & Space Administration
|| Acting: Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr.
| National Science Foundation
|| France Cordova (on year 3 of 6 year appointment)