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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.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer This week, Poland announced it will close the coal-fired Belchatow power plant by the end of 2036. The country’s national energy group opted not to develop an open-pit coal mine to power the plant after deciding it would not make financial sense. The decision comes as Poland’s Lodz region […]
Thousands of protesters gathered near the headwaters of the Mississippi River from around the country, including actresses Jane Fonda and Patricia Arquette, in an attempt to disrupt the construction of a major pipeline through northern Minnesota, the Duluth Tribune reported.
Why This Matters: The Line 3 pipeline, at a cost of $4B, will carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of dirty Canadian tar-sands oil through the U.S. across at least 200 bodies of water and sensitive watersheds.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The Department of Energy has announced a new initiative to dramatically lower the costs of clean energy by 2030. The Energy Earthshots initiative intends to accelerate breakthroughs in affordable, reliable, clean energy and boost the nation’s progress toward its 2050 net-zero goal. The first “shot,” if successful, will reduce the cost of clean […]
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