Trump weakened environmental laws after BP lobbying | PB

BP successfully lobbied US policymakers to weaken a landmark environmental law, paving the way for major infrastructure projects to circumvent controls.

US government documents show BP America lobbied for Donald Trump’s decision to water down the legislation, which could make it easier for new projects, such as oil pipelines and power plants, to move forward with far less scrutiny federal government of their impact on the environment.

Many environmental groups fear that changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa) will increase greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the climate crisis.

The changes, unveiled by Trump this month, would narrow the list of projects requiring an environmental impact assessment and, in some cases, eliminate the need for federal agencies to consider the cumulative effects of projects, including the impact on the climate crisis.

Michael Wolff – Fire and Fury

Wolff’s sensational White House exposé paints Donald Trump as a childlike nonentity. It alleges the self-styled "very stable genius” has been described as an idiot by Rupert Murdoch and a moron by Rex Tillerson. Wolff says the thing that interests the US president most is watching himself on television. “I consider it to be fiction,” said Trump of the book. Many others were not so sure.

Read the review.

Sean Spicer – The Briefing

Sean Spicer's 182 days as press secretary yielded a book that tells of a White House where people would routinely bring in "burner phones" to avoid being caught leaking, He describes Trump as sometimes being his own worst enemy with his manic tweeting, and recalls his downfall essentially started on day one, when Spicer was responsible for attempts to spin the news on the president's dismal inauguration crowds. Perhaps, though, the highlight is when Spicer describes Trump as “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow'.

Read the review.

Omarosa Manigault Newman – Unhinged

The most prominent African American in the Trump White House before she was abruptly dismissed, Newman spread her criticism liberally. Her description of the vice-president, Mike Pence, as the "Stepford veep" is one of the kinder sideswipes.

Of the more jaw-dropping revelations, the suggestion Trump had initially asked to be sworn in over a copy of The Art of the Deal, instead of the Bible, is a hard image to shake.

Read the review.

Cliff Sims – Team of Vipers

Cliff Sims' book suggested he had made enemies and alienated people throughout the administration. He was particularly scathing about Sarah Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary. Her “gymnastics with the truth", he said, "would tax even the nimblest of prevaricators, and Sanders was not that”.

Read the review.

Anonymous – A Warning

From a senior official in the Trump administration – and so many have left and fallen out with the president – Trump is described as “like a 12-year-old in an air traffic control tower”.

The unknown author adds: “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pants-less across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him”

John Bolton - The Room Where It Happened

John Bolton’s damning indictment of the Trump presidency soared up the chart despite withering reviews describing it as “bloated with self-importance”, after the Trump administration made a last-ditch attempt to prevent its publication.

The book claimed that Trump pleaded with China to help win the 2020 election, he suggested he was open to serving more than two terms, offered favours to authoritarian leaders, praised Xi for China’s internment camps and thought Finland was part of Russia.

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Quick guide

Books that revealed the inner workings of Donald Trump’s White House

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Michael Wolff – Fire and Fury

Wolff’s sensational White House briefing paints Donald Trump as a childish nonentity. He alleges that the so-called “very stable genius” was described as an idiot by Rupert Murdoch and a moron by Rex Tillerson. Wolff says the thing the US president is most interested in is watching himself on TV. “I consider it fiction,” Trump said of the book. Many others weren’t so sure.

Read the review.

Sean Spicer – The Briefing

Sean Spicer’s 182 days as a press secretary produced a book that tells the story of a White House where people regularly brought “burner phones” to avoid being caught running away. He portrays Trump as his own worst enemy at times with his manic tweets, and recalls his downfall essentially starting on day one, when Spicer was responsible for trying to spread the news to the dismal crowds at the president’s inauguration. Perhaps the highlight, however, is when Spicer describes Trump as “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow.”

Read the review.

Omarosa Manigault Newman – Unbalanced

The most prominent African American in Trump’s White House before she was abruptly fired, Newman has spread her criticism widely. His description of Vice President Mike Pence as the “Stepford veep” is one of the nicest.

Among the more jaw-dropping revelations, the suggestion that Trump originally asked to be sworn on a copy of The Art of the Deal, instead of the Bible, is a tough image to shake.

Read the review.

Cliff Sims – Viper Squad

Cliff Sims’ book suggested he had made enemies and alienated people throughout the administration. He was particularly scathing about Sarah Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary. His “gymnastics with the truth”, he said, “would tax even the most nimble of prevaricators, and Sanders was not that”.

Read the review.

Anonymous – A warning

From a senior Trump administration official – and so many have left and argued with the president – ​​Trump is described as “like a 12-year-old kid in an air traffic control tower.”

The unknown author adds, “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at dawn to find your elderly uncle running around the yard without pants and swearing loudly about cafeteria food, while worried attendants were trying to catch him. »

John Bolton – The Room Where It Happened

John Bolton’s damning indictment of the Trump presidency has soared despite scathing critics describing it as “bloated with smugness”, after the Trump administration made a last-ditch attempt to block its publication.

Book claimed Trump pleaded with China to help win 2020 election, suggested he was willing to serve more than two terms, offered favors to authoritarian leaders, praised Xi for camps Chinese internment and thought Finland was part of Russia.

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BP said in a letter to the Environmental Quality Board (EQC) in August 2018 that streamlining the Nepa process would “directly benefit BP’s operations in the United States.” The letter was discovered by the Greenpeace investigation unit.

BP plans to expand its US business after agreeing to pay $10.5bn (£8bn) to buy BHP Billiton’s shale business last year.

Mel Evans, a Greenpeace UK campaigner, said BP’s support for the weakening of environmental controls was “despicable, but not surprising”.

The oil firm’s lobbying efforts have emerged amid reports that it plans to ‘surpass’ Royal Dutch Shell’s climate action with a set of new emissions targets.

Bernard Looney, BP’s new chief executive, is preparing to announce plans to expand its climate targets to include emissions produced by the fuels and products it sells and not just its own operations, according to Reuters.

The plans are likely to appear at odds with BP’s support for the American Petroleum Institute that it expresses in the CEQ letter. API, a trade body for oil and gas producers, told the CEQ that emissions from fossil fuels “should not be considered part of the ‘indirect’ effects” under future environmental controls.

Michael Sommers, who heads the API, took it upon himself to criticize the “endless and repetitive reviews” demanded by Nepa, saying the laws had been “abused to delay and derail development, which harms the creating jobs, reducing tax revenues and undermining investment”. in communities across the country.

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BP has also called for the removal of air quality controls and the limitation of changes that government agencies can require to help mitigate the environmental impact of major projects.

He said companies should be allowed to pay for their own environmental assessments as staffing constraints within some government agencies have had a significant impact on their ability to undertake the review “in a timely manner”.

In terms of air quality reviews, BP argued that third-party reviews were unnecessary and should be dropped in favor of a company-initiated review that relied on “the expertise of the project promoter.

His letter to the CEQ said BP supports more than 125,000 jobs in the United States and that the company’s operations contributed $85 billion to the US economy in 2017 alone.

A BP spokesperson said: “Neither BP nor API has advocated excluding all indirect greenhouse gas impacts from the Nepa analysis. In fact, BP believes that the Nepa analysis should include all direct impacts and many indirect impacts.

The company said it had worked alongside a US conservation group, The Nature Conservancy, to push only for changes “consistent with our strong support for the Paris [climate agreement] ambition “.