New Yorkers worried that global warming might flood the city should get mops, President Trump says.
The Queens native — famed for supporting walls that keep immigrants out — on Saturday ripped the idea of a seawall to protect the city from calamities like 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive devastation.
“A massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway,” Trump tweeted. “It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!”
A seawall is one of five proposals considered by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the greatest city in the world from storms that could become more frequent with climate change.
The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled significant changes to the nation’s landmark environmental law that would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change.
Many of the White House’s proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act have been supported by business groups that contend the law has delayed or blocked projects like laying out oil pipelines and building dams and mines, among other things.
Environmentalists said that the rules would endanger wildlife and lead to more carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and contend that the regulations should be strengthened not weakened as the world copes with global warming.
If the proposals are enacted, it would be the first overhaul of NEPA in more than 40 years.
The plan, released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, would no longer require any form of federal environmental review of construction projects that lack substantial government funding. The change would also widen the category of projects that will be exempt from NEPA regulations.
“We want to build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways, bigger, better fast and we want to build them at less cost,” President Donald Trump said at the White House on Thursday.
The changes are expected to be published in the Federal Register on Friday. There will be a 60-day comment period and two open hearings before the final regulation is delivered.
The administration has argued that the law can increase costs for builders, block construction projects and threaten jobs for American workers and labor union members.
“The step we’re taking today, which will ultimately lead to final regulations, I believe will hit a home run in delivering better results to the American people by cutting red tape that has paralyzed common sense decision making for a generation,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Thursday.
Jay Timmons, president and chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, said that the president’s plan is exactly what his group wanted.
“Our efforts should be used for building the infrastructure Americans desperately need, not wasted on mountains of paperwork and endless delay,” he said.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, argued that the changes prioritize polluters and corporations over the environment.
“This NEPA rewrite favors big polluters and corporate profits over balanced, science-based decision making and would prevent Washingtonians from voicing their views on proposals ranging from siting a new fossil fuel pipeline in their backyard to building an open-pit mine that could destroy the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery,” she said in a statement.
“We need to make smarter environmental decisions, not roll back the safeguards we already have,” Cantwell said.
The administration’s proposed changes might not make it through court, according to Bruce Huber, an environmental law professor at Notre Dame Law School.
“The law requires federal agencies to report the environmental impacts of their actions that significantly affect ‘the quality of the human environment,’” he said. “If the regulations announced today drive agencies to diminish the extent or quality of their reporting, federal courts may very well conclude that their reports do not comply with the law.”
William Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the White House’s proposal is consistent with other environmental regulation rollbacks.
“This is all about the election and Trump getting out there and shoring up his base,” Snape said. “The Trump administration has been losing more cases than it’s winning in oil and gas – and this is a chance to blame someone else.”
During a press gathering today, President Donald Trumpunexpectedly backtracked on his previous, stated belief that climate changes is a “hoax” and instead called it a “very serious subject” and claimed that he had a book about the topic he was going to read.
In the midst of massive, cataclysmic wildfires ravaging Australia, the devastating impacts of climate change have become a worldwide news topic. So, Trump’s apparent reversal on the issue, noted by New York Times’ climate change reporter, Lisa Friedman, seemed to have the potential for a breakthrough moment.
But as Trump expounded on the book referenced, it became clear he was not discussing one based on scientific research.
After a follow-up, the Times’ Friedman confirmed the book that Trump, who is notoriously averse to reading long news articles or briefing folders let alone books, plans to read is a hagiographic, self-published book written by his former New Jersey golf course consultant during the 2016 campaign. Russo worked for Trump for 17 years and is not a climate scientist.
President Trump lashed out at a familiar foe during a speech on Saturday, calling windmills “monsters” that “kill many bald eagles,” ruin the visual appeal of “magnificent” farms and fields, and “look like hell” after 10 years.
“I never understood wind,” Trump said at the start of the lengthy tangent, days after he became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. “You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere.”
He continued: “You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right?”
The president’s latest attack on wind turbines came as he kicked off his holiday stay in Florida with an appearance at Turning Point USA’s annual summit. The event by the conservative student group was staged in West Palm Beach, near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, presenting an opportunity for him to, as Politico put it, “bask in the love of some of his fiercest supporters, with scores of 20-somethings donning ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and rhinestone ‘TRUMP’ hair clips.”
In an address that stretched to more than an hour, Trump cycled through some of his greatest hits, saying that he brought back the expression “Merry Christmas” and that his administration “achieved more in this month alone than almost any president has achieved in eight years in office.” He took aim at “Crazy Nancy” Pelosi, “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, Hunter Biden, the “almost totally corrupt” media, the “Washington swamp,” the “illegal, unconstitutional and hyperpartisan impeachment” — and wind turbines.
Trump’s disdain for wind energy can be traced to about a decade ago, when he bought property for a luxury golf resort in Scotland and found out that a wind farm was planned nearby. Concerned that it would detract from his course’s views, he mounted a vigorous campaign against wind energy. Over the years, he has suggested that wind turbines threaten schoolchildren and even cause cancer — a claim not grounded in any robust evidence.
He has also tweeted about them.
On Saturday, Trump arrived at the topic by way of complaining about the Green New Deal, climate change legislation championed by liberal Democrats. After talking about the “tremendous fumes” generated by wind turbines, he moved on to complaints that wind turbines are ugly and kill birds. (They do kill birds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, although collision with glass buildings, communication towers, electrical lines and vehicles are by far the worst offenders.)
“You want to see a bird graveyard?” he asked. “You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life.”
There was laughter and scattered applause in the crowd.
“You know, in California, they were killing the bald eagle,” Trump continued. “If you shoot a bald eagle, they want to put you in jail for 10 years. A windmill will kill many bald eagles. It’s true. And you know what? After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off. That’s true, by the way. This is — they make you turn it off after you — and yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That’s okay. But why is it okay for these windmills to destroy the bird population? And that’s what they’re doing.”
Someone yelled, “Because they’re idiots!”
“Okay,” Trump said, laughing. “This is a conservative group, Dan. No, but it’s true. Am I right?” He had referenced Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) earlier in the program.
Then: “I’ll tell you another thing about windmills. And I’m not — look, I like all forms of energy. And I think in — really, they’re okay in industrial areas. Like you have an industrial plant, you put up a windmill — you know, et cetera, et cetera.
“I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up. And sometimes they’re made by different companies. You know, I’m like a perfectionist; I really built good stuff. And so you’ll see like a few windmills made by one company: General Electric. And then you’ll see a few made by Siemens, and you’ll see a few made by some other guy that doesn’t have 10 cents, so it looks like a — so you see all these windows, they’re all different shades of color. They’re like sort of white, but one is like an orange-white. It’s my favorite color: orange.”
That line drew a wave of applause. But Trump wasn’t done with the turbines.
“No, but — and you see these magnificent fields, and they’re owned — and you know what they don’t tell you about windmills?” he asked. “After 10 years, they look like hell. You know, they start to get tired, old. You got to replace them. A lot of times, people don’t replace them. They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it. It’s really a terrible thing.”
President Donald Trump mocked teen climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter on Thursday after she was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, calling her win “ridiculous” and suggesting she take anger management classes.
“So ridiculous,” Trump tweeted. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
In September, after she made an emotional speech at the United Nations, Trump appeared to mock the 16-year-old by tweeting that she “seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Thunberg did not respond directly to the president but hours later updated her Twitter bio to mimic his tweet.
Thunberg, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was asked to speak on climate change in front of several high-profile entities, such as the United Nations and Congress.
“I shouldn’t be up here,” she said in her September U.N. speech.
“I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” the teen from Sweden said. “Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Democrats responded to Trump’s barb throughout the day, criticizing him for taking aim at the teenager.
“What kind of president bullies a teenager?” tweeted former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic contender, adding that Trump “could learn a few things from Greta on what it means to be a leader.”
“Does the President really not have anything better to do today than attack a 16 year old?” tweeted Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Trump’s tweet even came up at Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against the president.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., mentioned Trump’s mocking of Thunberg while listing individuals who Trump has blasted.
“Are you here to defend that as well?” Jeffries asked Republicans of Trump’s post.
President Trump on Monday began the yearlong process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
The official announcement cements a promise Trump made in the White House Rose Garden in 2017 when he first announced his intention to withdraw from the global climate change agreement signed by every other country in the world.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in a statement.
“President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement,” Pompeo said. “The United States has reduced all types of emissions, even as we grow our economy and ensure our citizens’ access to affordable energy.”
“The U.S. approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix,” he added, arguing “innovation and open markets” will drive emissions reductions.
Trump’s views on the deal have been widely criticized by Democrats, environmentalists and even some Republicans, who say the U.S. is abdicating global leadership at a time when urgent action is required to stem the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
“It is shameful. It is cowardly when we need to be brave and act boldly. Long after the rest of us are gone, future generations will remember this president’s failure to lead on the greatest environmental challenge of our time,” said Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“By breaking America’s commitment to the Paris Accord, President Trump is reducing America’s standing in the world,” Carper added.
The president has repeatedly boasted about already withdrawing the U.S. from the deal, despite the rigid timelines required by the agreement for nations seeking to leave it.
The agreement allowed the U.S. to begin the process to withdraw on Monday and finalize the U.S. exit from the agreement on Nov. 4, 2020 — just one day after the presidential election.
The process will kick off just weeks ahead of a United Nations summit in Spain, where leaders will hammer out final details for complying with the agreement.
Democrats have already asked U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft to recuse herself from the withdrawal process, given her financial and personal ties to the fossil fuel industry. Craft’s husband, Joe Craft, is CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, one of the largest coal companies in the U.S.
Recommitting the U.S. to the Paris climate accord has become a box to tick for Democrats running for president in 2020, most of whom have said they would do so their very first day in office.
While some Republicans may have changed their rhetoric on the realities of climate change, many remain opposed to the deal, arguing the U.S. should not have to make efforts to curb emissions without more efforts from other countries first.
House Democrats have taken steps aimed at preventing Trump from leaving the climate pact, passing a resolution in May that would block the move.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately said the bill “will go nowhere” in the Senate.
Climate experts have called the Paris deal the price of admission to the climate conversation, but warn that even the near-global effort may fall short of the action necessary to limit rising temperatures.
The landmark 2015 agreement signed by former President Obama requires the U.S. to reduce emissions about 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
The withdrawal kickoff earned harsh rebuke from environmental groups.
“Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water. Long after Trump is out of office, his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error. Trump has once again demonstrated that he is more interested in catering to the interests of the world’s worst polluters than he is in listening to the American people,” the Sierra Club said in a statement.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) called the move a “grave and reckless mistake.”
“Climate change won’t be solved without a global effort. It won’t happen without U.S. leadership. It won’t happen as long as the world’s second-largest climate polluter is backsliding on the climate pledge it has made to the rest of the world,” NRDC President Mitch Bernard said in a statement.
Just days after Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the federal government for its response to catastrophic wildfires and power outages affecting millions, President Donald Trump on Sunday slammed the California Democrat — and threatened to cut off future federal funding to the fire-battered state.
Trump, in a spate of postings on Twitter, lambasted what he called Newsom’s “terrible job” regarding the state’s forest management practices, saying the governor should stop listening to environmentalist “bosses” and “clean” the forest floors. He also slammed Newsom for state water-management practices, suggesting that California must open up what he called “ridiculously closed water lanes.”
Saying Newsom had repeatedly requested federal funds, Trump threatened to cut him off.
“Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing—and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more,” the president tweeted.
He then tweaked Newsom’s leadership: “Get your act together Governor.”
The governor responded a short time later.
“We’re successfully waging war against thousands of fires started across the state in the last few weeks due to extreme weather created by climate change while Trump is conducting a full on assault against the antidotes,” he told POLITICO in a statement.
His office also pushed back hard against Trump, noting that the governor’s fire prevention and management projects included an investment of $225.8 million to help streamline programs specifically aimed at “reducing fuels in the forest, increasing forest health, and defensible space around homes.’’ The governor’s office in addition said there are currently 35 priority projects in addition to the redeployment of National Guard personnel to assist the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in controlling the fires.
Newsom in recent weeks has laid into PG&E, the investor-owned utility that has been blamed for sparking catastrophic fires because of its outdated equipment and failed infrastructure. He has said he may explore a takeover of the utility unless it emerges from bankruptcy with a solid plan to protect California homeowners and consumers and avoid widespread outages before the 2020 fire season.
Sunday was not the first time the president has vowed to withdraw federal funding from the state — though he has never made good on the threat. He did so in January, saying that “unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money.”
After that tweet, following the Paradise-based Camp Fire, which killed more than 80 people, Newsom responded that “disasters and recovery are no time for politics,’’ and said the state was working hard to “modernize and manage our forest and emergency responses.”
Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, cited the governor’s leadership in directing the agency to pursue 35 priority projects to reduce wildfire risk in vulnerable communities. That’s in addition to Cal Fire’s regularly scheduled prescribed burns and fuel reductions, he added.
“We are in a good place, and we’re very active,” McLean said.
He added that California experienced one of its “best winters in a long time,” meaning that state firefighters now had enough water access to combat blazes. McLean also noted that oversight of the state’s land was divided between local governments, Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service — meaning the Trump-controlled federal agency had some responsibility for the current situation, too.
Trump’s string of tweets on California kicked off Sunday with: “ The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers.”
He finished: “But our teams are working well together in….. … putting these massive, and many, fires out. Great firefighters! Also, open up the ridiculously closed water lanes coming down from the North. Don’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean. Should be done immediately. California desperately needs water, and you can have it now!”
The Trump administration is proposing to exempt Alaska’s Tongass
National Forest from long-standing protections against logging and
development, opening the door for potential timber harvesting on 165,000
acres of old-growth forest.
The proposal, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
comes in response to a request from the state, which wants to be fully
exempted from a Clinton-era rule that limits road construction and
timber harvesting in tens of millions of acres of national forest.
officials, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), have asked the
Trump administration for a “full exemption” from the 2001 Roadless Rule,
which limits road construction and timber harvests. They argue that
the protections are stifling the local economy.
“We have to be able to have a plan that is specific to us,” Murkowski told Alaska Public Radio in August, explaining that she spoke with the Trump administration early on about addressing the Roadless Rule.
Owen Graham, President of Alaska Forest Association, tells Alaska’s Energy Desk that Tuesday’s announcement a “great thing.”
“What we want is year-round manufacturing jobs and a lot more stability,” he says.
he says, this is just one step in the right direction. Retaliation
tariffs placed on logs shipped to China have been hitting some sectors
of the small industry hard. Graham is uncertain how long it will take to
see big systemic changes in how the Tongass National Forest is managed.
now the industry’s just crumbling apart. There’s hardly anybody left,”
he says. “Every year we lose more of our loggers because there’s not
enough to keep everyone going.”
But conservation groups say
that removing protections would hurt the region’s fishing and tourism
industries, while also worsening the effects of climate change.
The Tongass National Forest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America. Temperate rainforests sequester huge amounts of carbon dioxide, keeping the climate-warming gas out of the atmosphere.
seeking to weaken the Roadless Rule’s protections, the Forest Service
is prioritizing one forest use — harmful logging — over mitigating
climate change, protecting wildlife habitat, and offering unmatched
sight-seeing and recreation opportunities found only in southeast
Alaska,” said Josh Hicks of The Wilderness Society in a statement.
Tribal governments in Alaska also oppose lifting protections against logging.
Jackson is President of the Organized Village of Kake, a remote village
that depends on the wild food the Tongass provides. Historically,
large-scale industrial logging damaged salmon streams.
know it’s sad that we have to continue to fight our own government to
protect our forests and streams,” Jackson tells Alaska’s Energy Desk.
says the Organized Village of Kake is considering filing a lawsuit
against the Forest Service. “We don’t throw our hands up in the air,” he
says. “We just buckle down and start talking [about] what’s the next
The Forest Service’s proposal outlines six potential
paths forward for the Tongass National Forest, ranging from doing
nothing to removing protections for all of the forests 9.2 million acres
of roadless area.
The agency says it prefers the latter, more
extreme option. It would convert 165,000 acres of old-growth forest and
20,000 acres of young-growth that had been “previously identified as
unsuitable timber lands to suitable timber lands.”
A formal notice is expected to be published in the Federal Register later this week.
The Forest Service says it will hold a series of public meetings on the proposal and open it to public comment through Dec. 17, with a final decision by 2020.
President Donald Trump is using his Twitter account to once again attack teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, this time to amplify a snide dismissal of her public appearances as “acting.”
The commander-in-chief on Thursday jabbed at the Swedish 16-year-old: He retweeted and praised a Twitter user who criticized the passionate speech Thunberg gave at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City late last month.
A user by the name of @Opinion8dKellie shared video of Thunberg’s speech, in which the teen slammed world leaders for what she said was more interest in making money than in saving the planet by reducing carbon emissions.
“What an actress!” the user, @Opinion8dKellie, tweeted, adding, “I won’t be held hostage by someone who just got a learner’s permit. Sorry kiddo!”
Though the tweet was written on Sept. 23, Trump, 73, retweeted it Thursday morning.
“Keep up the great work Kellie!” he wrote.
In the original tweet, @Opinion8dKellie also referred dismissively to when a visibly aggrieved Thunberg said at the U.N.: “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”
President Donald Trump mocked Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter late Monday night after the 16-year-old excoriated world leaders for not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Trump posted on Twitter, replying to a video of Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations climate action summit earlier in the day.
Trump’s penchant for Twitter insults and online confrontations with people he sees as political adversaries is well known, though Monday’s tweet is a striking display of the President teasing a child.
Thunberg appeared to take Trump’s slight in stride. By late Tuesday morning, she had updated her Twitter bio to read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
In the video shared by Trump of her speech, Thunberg is visibly frustrated and at times appears to be holding back tears of anger as she dresses down the UN General Assembly.
“People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” Thunberg said.
She did not name Trump or any other world leaders in her speech, but her message was pointed.
“How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight,” she said. “You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe.”
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who recently withdrew his support for Trump, criticized the President for his comment about Thunberg.
“Parents in America and around the world: he went after a 16 year old girl yesterday. @realDonaldTrump unfit to serve,” Scaramucci tweeted on Tuesday.
Trump briefly attended the UN climate summit on Monday in an impromptu stop on his way to his administration’s priority event on religious freedom. But the US did not speak at the event and Trump — who has repeatedly said he thinks climate change is a hoax — left after 15 minutes.
Thunberg, who has helped galvanize a global movement demanding more action to address climate change, crossed paths with Trump at the UN General Assembly. Video captured her staring down the US President.
“My diagnosis has definitely helped me keep this focus. When you are interested about something you just continue to read about it and you get super focused,” she told CNN’s Bill Weir in an interview this month.