Republicans and Democrats argued over the best way to rebuild U.S. infrastructure – a high priority of President Donald Trump – with no agreement in sight following skirmishes on Tuesday between the two parties.
Daring Mr. Trump to make good on his grand infrastructure promises, Senate Democrats on Tuesday will unveil a trillion-dollar plan to rebuild the nation’s roads, railways, airports, waterways and sewer systems over 10 years. The plan dedicates $180 billion to rail and bus systems, $65 billion to ports, airports and waterways, $110 billion for water and sewer systems, $100 billion for energy infrastructure, and $20 billion for public and tribal lands.
The election of President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress has upended the order for California Democrats, who have pursued aggressive greenhouse gas-reduction policies that had backing from the previous administration. The state also embraced the federal health care law and has committed billions to expanding Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor.
With President Trump in the Oval Office, California officials are bracing for the possibility that the new administration will undermine the state’s landmark policies on climate change. But the more immediate threat isn’t coming from Washington; it lies in a lawsuit that has been slowly winding its way through state courts. The 4-year-old legal challenge pursued by the California Chamber of Commerce and a collection of business interests argues that the cap-and-trade program represents an unconstitutional tax. The system, intended to create a financial incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, requires companies to purchase permits to pollute.
A change in who receives taxes from wind farms is being called an attack on the wind energy industry by one North Dakota legislator. Senate Bill 2209, as introduced, would take 70 percent of the taxes paid by wind farms and deposit it into the state’s general fund. The remaining portion of the taxes would be paid to the local governments where the wind farm is located.
Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin voiced support for keeping the federal tax credit for wind intact during the first several years of the Trump administration. At his confirmation hearing, Mnuchin was asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) whether he supported the current phaseout of the production tax credit for wind, which is not supposed to expire entirely until 2020. “As we discussed, Congress has effectively put in place transition rules for some alternative energy, including wind,” Grassley said to Mnuchin in front of the Senate Finance Committee. “Based on our conversation, I believe we are in agreement that you would support the current phaseout. Mnuchin responded, “I absolutely agree with you that we do need to have phaseout rules when we change things. … I support the phaseout of that as you suggested.”
Nearly simultaneously with President Trump’s oath of office Friday, the White House website shifted to remove climate change related content from the Obama administration and supplant it with a new statement of Trump’s energy policy — one focused, it said, reducing “burdensome regulations on our energy industry.” Those are just words — but an action hours later by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had more teeth. Priebus’s memorandum, issuing a governmentwide freeze on new or pending regulations, would appear to have the effect of sweeping up four very nearly finished Energy Department energy efficiency standards, affecting an array of products, including portable air conditioners and commercial boilers. The standards are designed to reduce energy use, and, in the process, consumer bills and greenhouse gas emissions
Donald Trump’s advisers have prepared a short list of energy and environmental policy changes he can take now that he has been sworn in as president, including steps to limit the role that climate change plays in government decisions and speed the review of cross-border pipelines. The list of actions Trump can take imminently includes nullifying former President Barack Obama’s guidelines that federal agencies weigh climate change when approving pipelines, deciding what areas to open for drilling or taking other major actions, two people familiar with Trump’s transition planning say.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks to build its landing team for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a list of the newly introduced 10-member team seen by Reuters on Monday. The email lists at least three former researchers from think-tanks funded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch and at least one former lobbyist for the mining industry. Several members of the team have also publicly argued against U.S. efforts to combat climate change, a key function of the EPA under former President Barack Obama. The team’s make-up has reinforced expectations that Trump will follow through on his promise to slash U.S. environmental regulation as a way to promote drilling and mining.
California released new measures to fight climate change within minutes of Donald Trump being sworn in as U.S. president on Friday, signaling the state’s commitment to be the nation’s environmental steward under an administration that has questioned the reality of global warming. California officials said it was a coincidence that the plan was released 37 minutes after the inauguration. The state outlined how it would achieve its goal of cutting output of heat-trapping greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.