Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* Oregon is a state to watch because it is an indicator of how or what individual states might do as federal energy and environmental policies likely change, particularly regarding CO2/greenhouse gases and climate change. In February, OR’s state environmental agency completed its outline of how CO2 cap and trade could start in Oregon. And indeed, cap and trade bills have since been introduced in both the OR House and Senate; committee hearings start this week. In addition, legislators will consider a tax on fuels and energy, with the tax dependent on the “carbon intensity” of the fuel.

* Dams, reservoirs and human-made water systems have been at the top of the scary news list over the last few weeks. Oroville in California is most well-known but related questions of water and water policy are pressing through many regions of the country. The Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works holds a hearing this Wednesday on “Flood Control Infrastructure: Safety Questions Raised by Current Events.”

* The Energy Information Administration (EIA) had to push back regarding politicized charges from two national web publications. EIA writes no-way regarding reports by ProPublica (Child’s Play: Team Trump Rewrites a Department of Energy Website for Kids, February 17, 2017) and republished by The Atlantic (A Government Website for Kids Scrubbed Its Climate Warnings). The web sites allege that EIA changed information as a result of political pressure from the new administration. EIA denies this and it is seeking retractions. “Contrary to the headlines and content of the articles, EIA has never been contacted by anyone in the new administration regarding the content of any part of EIA’s website,” said EIA Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht, who also currently serves as the Acting Administrator. Read the full press release here.

Tom Ewing