President Barack Obama talking on the phone

Photo via Obama White House/Flickr (Public Domain)

Trump’s new executive order targets Obama’s climate change protections

Activists have promised to fight the order.


David Gilmour


President Donald Trump is expected to sign on Tuesday an executive order that serves as the first step in a long-promised assault on Obama-era environmental and climate protections.

The comprehensive directive will root out climate restraints on federal decision making across the board, free up emissions rules for industry, and reintroduce federal coal leasing.

What does that look like? Well, several major initiatives could face the ax, and the Clean Power Plan, a measure to cut industrial and power plant emissions by a third before 2030, will undergo a review—prior to being replaced by a more moderate plan.

“This policy is in keeping with President Trump’s desire to make the United States energy independent,” a senior administration official told reporters on Monday night. “When it comes to climate change, we want to take our course and do it in our own form and fashion.”

The drive aims to boost jobs and domestic fossil fuel energy production, meeting two of Trump’s big campaign promises. Already, to the same end, the president has approved the construction of two large pipelines—the Dakota Access and Keystone XL, both of which the Obama administration sidelined amid protests.

Trump has always been an outspoken critic of the “job-crushing” regulations that combat global warming, also having conspiratorially described climate change science as a “hoax” invented by the Chinese.

Former President Barack Obama’s second term in office focused efforts that would infuse regulation throughout the federal government. Pete Souza, Obama’s official White House photographer, spoke out via Instagram on Tuesday ahead of the order signing with a photo captioned “climate change is not a hoax.”

While the executive order is a sweeping and dramatic start, the regulatory measures will take the Trump administration years to undo as they realign the government’s entire policy. Added to that, activists won’t give in to the regressive policy changes without a fight. Some measures can’t be undone completely, while others will likely face legal challenges. In the end, the bid may prove long and expensive.

“The good news is that the safeguards Trump wants to shred—like the Clean Power Plan—are on a strong legal footing and the public will have the chance to voice its objections as the Trump administration tries to roll them back,” Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

“Trump can’t reverse our clean energy and climate progress with the stroke of a pen, and we’ll fight Trump in the courts, in the streets, and at the state and local level across America to protect the health of every community.”

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