Interior Dept Rushes To Finish Major Regulations Before Trump Takes Control

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell sent a note to agency staff telling pledging to “to complete as much work as possible in the coming weeks” before President Obama leaves office in January.

Jewell told Interior employees senior officials would “meet with the Trump transition team in the coming days,” but that the agency would work to push through as much as they can before President-Elect Donald Trump’s team takes over, according to Politico.

New of Jewell’s note comes the day after Interior officials released new rule to fast-track green energy development on public lands. It’s one of at least five major regulations the department is expected to release before Obama leaves office.

The Wall Street Journal reports Interior “is working to finish an offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan; methane standards for oil and gas wells on public lands; and a stream protection rule for coal mining.” The Department also released new rules for oil and gas wells in wildlife refuges.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy made a similar pledge to agency employees after the election results, telling them the agency is “running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency.”

EPA still needs to finalize biofuel blending requirements for refiners, which is part of the federal ethanol mandate, or Renewable Fuel Standard.

Obama’s “midnight” regulations may be short-lived, however, since Trump has promised to undo many of the major regulations imposed in the last eight years, including the Clean Power Plan rule for power plants.

Trump’s team has also promised to get rid of Interior’s yet-to-be-finalized Stream Protection Rule, which is expected make it harder to mine coal. In fact, Interior said the rule could leave billions of dollars worth of “stranded reserves.”

Environmentalists are concerned Trump will undo key environmental protections and rules meant to curb global warming, but Trump said he’d work to make sure Americans have clean air and water.

Trump said he’d pay for environmental programs by stopping “global warming payments” to the United Nations.

“We will also cancel billions in global warming payments to the United Nations, and use that money to support America’s vital environmental infrastructure and natural resources,” Trump told supporters before the election.

It’s unclear who exactly Trump will pick to head Interior or EPA, but media outlets put forward lists of names supposedly from sources within the transition effort.

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