Trump Resurrects Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline
Mother Jones – Environmentalists and social justice advocates scored long-shot victories during the Obama years when they successfully pressured the administration to block construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. But it turns out those victories may be short-lived.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order and several presidential memorandums to move along the two projects.
The executive order lays out a process by which the administration will identify “high priority infrastructure projects” and undertake an expedited review. The Keystone memorandum invites TransCanada, the pipeline operator, to resubmit its application for approval and promises an expeditious review by the State Department. Trump told reporters at the White House, “We are going to renegotiate some of the terms” of the Keystone XL project, such as requiring that the steel be made in the United States.
Four More Journalist Get Felony Charges For Covering Inauguration Unrest
The Guardian – Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
A documentary producer, a photojournalist, a live-streamer and a freelance reporter were each charged with the most serious level of offense under Washington DC’s law against rioting, after being caught up in the police action against demonstrators.
Trump Silences Government Scientist With Gag Orders
The Verge – Less than a week after the inauguration, the Trump administration has already gagged employees at two federal agencies. Memos obtained by various media outlets show that scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture are now blocked from communicating with the public and the press.
At the EPA, whose grants and contract budget have also been frozen, employees are not allowed to talk about this change to reporters or on social media. The EPA is responsible for passing and upholding regulations on issues such as clean air and water and the carbon emissions responsible for global warming. The nominee for EPA head, Scott Pruitt, has made a career out of suing the EPA and trying to weaken its environmental regulations.
UPDATE: The order was rescinded later Tuesday, January 24, 2017 (see below)
BuzzFeed – The US Department of Agriculture rescinded an order stopping scientists and other employees at its main research division from publishing documents meant to explain science to the public.
In an email sent to scientists on Tuesday evening and obtained by BuzzFeed News, Chavonda Jacobs-Young, administrator of the department’s science arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), told researchers the original order should not have been issued and “is hereby rescinded.”
Warren Backs Carson For HUD Secretary
The Hill – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Tuesday she will support Ben Carson’s nomination for secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), changing her tune after a harsh confirmation hearing.
Warren lamented Carson’s “inexperience in the field,” but said she would not stand in the way of his confirmation. The former Republican presidential candidate was advanced by the Senate Banking Committee earlier in the day and is expected to be confirmed by the upper chamber in the near future.
Nikki Haley Confirmed By Senate As Ambassador To The U.N.
CBS News – The Senate on Tuesday evening confirmed Nikki Haley as the next ambassador to the United Nations, giving President Donald Trump his fourth official Cabinet member.
Haley, the current governor of South Carolina, was confirmed almost unanimously: 96 senators voted for her Tuesday night, compared with just four — Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) who voted against her.
The vote by the full Senate follows the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote earlier Tuesday to recommend Haley’s nomination.