What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Trump Takes His Long-Awaited Swing at Obama Climate Change Regs, House Schedules Vote to Gut Internet Privacy Protections

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Trump Takes His Long-Awaited Swing at Obama Climate Change Regs

Flowers bloom outside the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters on March 16, 2017. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Donald Trump treks over to EPA –> He’ll be signing an executive order to overturn Obama’s climate change programs — specifically, the Clean Power Plan, which regulated power plant emissions. The move also targets climate change-related language that has been woven through other Obama-era laws at other agencies, including the Department of Defense, Rebecca Leber reports for Mother Jones. At Vox, Brad Plumer examines how the Clean Power Plan is likely to be killed — and finds that executive order or no, it won’t be an easy task.

Trump has not decided yet whether to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but scrapping the Clean Power Plan amounts to a decision to ignore the goals the US pledged to meet, Jennifer Dlouhy reports for Bloomberg.

Nonetheless, The New Republic’s Emily Atkin has an interesting report from a looking glass world: At an annual climate-denier confab hosted by the Heartland Institute, true believers, including Trump’s EPA transition team head Myron Ebell, argued that the administration’s anti-environmental agenda was, in fact, not going far enough because his administration was stocked with pro-environment “swamp creatures,” including Scott Pruitt, who questions climate science, and Rex Tillerson, who ran ExxonMobil.

The erosion of climate change in the public dialogue has already started. MediaMatters reports that in 2016, the major networks’ coverage of climate change dropped by two thirds compared to 2015 even as the year broke climate records. PBS, targeted for cuts in the proposed budget, was the network with the most coverage.

The House considers your internet privacy –> Following Senate approval on a party-line vote last week, Congress is scheduled to vote today on whether to roll back regulations that would prevent internet service providers from selling information about their customers, Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica.

“At the heart of the debate is the protection of sensitive customer information, such as precise geolocations, financial information, health information, children’s information, Social Security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history, and the content of communications,” Ben Dickson writes for The Daily Dot. “…The FCC rules, which are now on the chopping block, required broadband ISPs to obtain opt-in consent from customers before using or sharing such data.”

Turning up the anti-immigrant pressure –> At a press conference yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice would not award $4.1 billion in grants to sanctuary cities unless they changed their policies. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman challenged the move as unconstitutional.

As Gene Demby explained for NPR in January, sanctuary cities tend to embrace the policy not just on ideological grounds — they find it is easier to insure public safety when residents of a city aren’t afraid that calling the police to report a crime could lead to deportation.

Words mean nothing –> Eric Trump promised not to talk about the Trump Organization’s business with his father. But in an interview with Forbes, he walked back those assertions. “He concedes,” reporter Dan Alexander writes, “that he will continue to update his father on the business while he is in the presidency. ‘Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that, but you know, that’s about it.’ How often will those reports be, every quarter? ‘Depending, yeah, depending.’ Could be more, could be less? ‘Yeah, probably quarterly.’ One thing is clear: ‘My father and I are very close,’ Eric Trump says. ‘I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.’ ”

RIP –> “Roger W. Wilkins, a ranking Justice Department official during the 1960s who later composed Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials about the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post and wrote unsparingly about the conflicts and burdens he experienced as a black man in positions of influence, died March 26 at a nursing home in Kensington, Maryland. He was 85.” Adam Bernstein writes for The Washington Post.

Help wanted –> A man has been posting fliers around New York City reading: “Hi, I’m Alex. I’m a liberal. All of my friends are liberal. My newsfeed is one-sided. Are you conservative and dealing with the same issue? If so I’d like to talk. We’ll take things slow at first and see where it goes from there.” Ben Fractenberg reports for the local news site DNAinfo.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Kristin Miller.

 


 

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