Trump allies map out ways to block EPA
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t played coy when it comes to how he feels about the Environmental Protection Agency.
He vowed to dismantle the EPA’s powers numerous times on the campaign trail. What isn’t clear is the strategy the Trump administration plans to use to hamstring the federal agency in charge of enforcing regulations intended to safeguard against pollution and climate change.
A new report authored by libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute may be the best clue yet of what’s to come under a Trump administration. CEI Director Myron Ebell is also on the Trump transition team staffing the new EPA.
The report by Ebell’s organization could become the blueprint for the new administration to undermine key environmental regulations. The report, which has already been emailed to members of Congress, reads like a how-to guide. It instructs lawmakers to defund oversight of carbon emissions from power plants, strip the EPA of its power to impact climate policy by changing the language in the Clean Air Act and make it harder to add animals to the endangered species list, which CEI says creates too many restrictions on private land owners.
“Conservatives want clean air and water but this is about how to accomplish it,” said Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation, which supports the proposals in the new report.
Loris frames the desire to see regulation rollback within the EPA as about rolling back the federal government’s power grab.
“For example, we don’t want people to die on the highways by driving but you don’t necessarily want to implement a regulation that would require everyone to drive 5 mph,” Loris said. ” I think it’s more about having sensible regulations that actually mitigate risks.”
Ebell isn’t the think tank’s only Trump connection. CEI has been funded by ExxonMobil, whose CEO, Rex Tillerson, has been tapped to become Trump’s secretary of state.
The current head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, said in an interview with the Financial Times Monday the policies she helped create can’t be undone without scientific proof.
“They have to figure out why the climate science isn’t overwhelming and go back all the way to the Supreme Court to explain why decisions we’ve already made are no longer correct, and I wouldn’t want to have that burden myself,” she said.