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While most of the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are in a seemingly endless shutdown limbo, the priorities of the Trump Administration go on without a hitch. Two high profile examples came to light over the weekend — the preparation for newly nominated Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing and the busiest offices of the Bureau of Land Management are opening today to process oil and gas drilling permits.
The Hill reported on Friday that Acting Administrator Wheeler, whose nomination was only formally sent to the Senate on Wednesday of last week, will have a confirmation hearing in the Senate on the 16th, even as Dems protest that his hearing prep is being considered essential business at EPA.
And, the Casper Star-Tribune reported on Friday that the four busiest field offices of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — those in Wyoming — will open so that they can process applications for permits to drill, but with with a small staff and limits on what they can do, according to memo the Petroleum Association of Wyoming cited by the paper.
Bloomberg News reported last week that Interior Department is still issuing permits for oil companies to drill wells on federal land and in the Gulf of Mexico and is moving forward on oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other parts of Alaska.
But Bloomberg reported that fishing boats are unable to get permits in Alaska, and the public meeting for a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts is on hold.
Why This Matters: The shutdown is inherently unfair. The Trump Administration is politicizing the determination of what is an “essential” government function — which is the key for what activities go on and which do not — in ways that favor oil and gas and other special interests close to the President and other political appointees. It is government “for” only certain favored people and businesses — like oil and gas. The only upside to Wheeler getting his hearing during the shutdown is that at least Democratic Senators can grill him about it.
To Go Deeper: Watch the CBS News video below about the hardship the shutdown is causing for individual employees at EPA and the Interior Department.
Forget biofuels for aviation. A small Canadian airline, Harbour Air, made a huge leap forward earlier this month by making the first commercial airline flight powered by an electric engine. It only remained in the air for a few minutes but that was long enough for the 63-year-old seaplane to claim this important first. The […]
According to a new Ipsos poll, Americans want to take individual actions to combat climate change, but only 30% were willing to buy an electric vehicle. According to a larger global survey on battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the reasons for the lack of consumer uptake were concerns about the higher cost of BEVs, their limited […]
Numerous progressive utilities such as Xcel, which have pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, are struggling to get there without expanding the use of natural gas and this is fueling a broader and divisive debate around gas’s future, according to Inside Climate News. The plan drawn up by Xcel, which serves 3.6 million customers […]