Las Vegas Sun

March 22, 2018

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How 2018 is faring for environmental policy


J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In this Jan. 18, 2017, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator nominee Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

If it seems like the Environmental Protection Agency has been in the news more often than usual, well, that’s because it has. Here’s your primer to stay up to date on the latest 2018 happenings.

• Climate change. Early this month, EPA head Scott Pruitt told News 3 LV that climate change is a thing and humans have contributed to it, but it might not be a bad thing. “We know that humans have most flourished in times of what — warming. … It’s fairly arrogant for us to think we know the ideal [global temperature] in 2100.”

• Travel scandals. Pruitt has faced a lot of static for expensive travel — first-class plane tickets and luxury hotels so as to avoid the disgruntled coach class. During his three-day Nevada visit this month, he kept his travel low-key, but now The Washington Post is reporting that Pruitt just canceled a planned Israel visit because of the backlash.

• Mining rules. During his time in Nevada, Pruitt visited several mines with the purpose of extolling state measures over federal ones. According to a newspaper report, Pruitt avoided a Superfund designation for one abandoned mine, letting the state bat cleanup. He also extolled the end of an Obama-era regulation that requires mines to save money for cleanup, saying that Nevada already has such a regulation.

• A truce on fossil fuels. Trump and Pruitt have “ended the war on fossil fuels,” but with Nevada set to lead on solar energy production, it might not be great for us.

• EPA is leaving Las Vegas. The EPA’s research offices, which are now at UNLV, will be shuttered in September, which is earlier than expected.

• Nevada received an EPA grant to reduce diesel emissions. In January, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection was awarded a $348,002 grant to replace six old diesel public works trucks and six old diesel school buses with new vehicles with new engines.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.