By Chris Adams
The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress could quickly dismantle parts of the Obama agenda on environmental and energy policy.
From the Clean Power Plan to the Clean Water Rule, Republicans in Congress and the White House are already moving to reverse through rulemaking and perhaps legislation some of President Barack Obama’s chief accomplishments.
“The next four years and perhaps eight will be spent undoing what has been done over the previous eight years,” said Amy Harder, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau.
Harder led NPF Paul Miller fellows through a description of pivotal environmental regulations that are under scrutiny, as well as a description of how to cover such issues in Washington. The items top-of-the-agenda: The Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Rule, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the Dakota Access pipeline.
Harder detailed the various avenues available for Trump to undo what Obama has done. Those are:
_The Capitol Hill route, or working with GOP-controlled Congress to repeal recently completed rules;
_The bureaucratic route, or writing new rules that eliminate existing ones;
_The legal route, or not defending rules the Obama administration is trying to proect from legal challenge;
_The money route, or restricting funding to certain policies.
Those routes could be applied, for example, to the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants nationwide, and the Clean Water Rule, which specifies which ponds, streams, wetlands and other waterways should be covered by the Clean Water Act. Both of the regulations were put into place by the Obama administration but could be pulled back by Trump.
Harder also detailed for reporters the ways she keeps track of the dizzying number of rules in process at any one time; she showed the Excel spreadsheet she built to monitor when rules were proposed, when they are expected to be finalized, and so forth.
Other resources she uses to stay on top of the beat:
__The White House Office of Management and Budget regulatory tracker;
__The Energy Information Administration, a statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy;
__A Congressional Research Service report on the Congressional Review Act, which could be used to dismantle the regulations finalized during the final months of Obama’s tenure.