The following is an excerpt from an article from Politico by M. Scott Mahaskey
4. The rollback of Obama’s environmental legacy continues
While the Clean Power Plan and the Paris deal garnered most of the headlines, Obama’s environmental legacy touched all corners of the government, from offshore drilling leases to energy efficiency policies. But under Trump, a new environmental regime is underway, quickly reversing those policies.
This week brought two such efforts. First, on Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was accepting comments on its proposal to rescind a ban on mining in Alaska’s Pebble Mine. Under Obama, the EPA refused to issue permits for gold and copper mining in Pebble and instead officially restricted mining in the area. The decision was the subject of a fierce legal battle, with developers arguing that the EPA’s determination violated the law and environmentalists arguing that pollution from the mining would threaten a nearby wild salmon fishery, the world’s largest. In May, the EPA, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, announced a deal with the owner of the Pebble Mine to withdraw an ongoing lawsuit, repeal the mining restrictions and allow Pebble a fair process to apply for a permit. Tuesday’s move is the first step in implementing that agreement and allowing drilling in Pebble.
On Thursday, the Interior Department announced its first oil and gas lease sale since Trump took office, offering 75.9 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico—more than the agency offered in the Gulf of Mexico during all of 2016, in part due to a lack of demand. Secretary Ryan Zinke also announced that he was lowering royalty rates—the government’s share of the take—on shallow-water leases, an effort to encourage oil companies to drill despite the fact that oil prices remain depressed. The lease sale is scheduled for August 16.