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.”
While the Democratic presidential candidates debated in Houston on Thursday night about environmental policy, the role of racism in American society, health care access, and other issues, President Donald Trump gave a speech to a House Republican retreat in Baltimore. The contrast between the president and the Democrats who are vying to take his job was remarkable.
Perhaps the clearest distinction came as Trump resurrected his fake middle-class tax cuts while Democrats had a detailed conversation about how to provide affordable health care to more people without dramatically raising taxes — within minutes of each other.
“We’re now working on a tax cut for middle-income people that is going to be very, very inspirational,” he told House Republicans, bringing up an idea he hyped just before last November’s midterm elections, only to forget about it as soon as it came and went. “It’s going to be something that I think it’s what everybody is looking for. We’ll be announcing it sometime in the next year.”
While one can pick holes in the tax plans offered by Democrats, at least they’re coherent plans. Trump, on the other hand, is offering soundbites that he thinks will play well with voters without seemingly having any intention of following through.
But Trump has a long history of this sort of thing. On Tuesday, for instance, he vowed that Republicans “will always protect patients with preexisting conditions,” despite the fact that two years ago he wholeheartedly embraced health care legislation that would’ve resulted in millions of people losing coverage. Trump even mocked the late Sen. John McCain during his speech for voting against it.
That was par for the course in Trump’s more than hour-long speech, during which he made a number of outlandish and self-refuting claims. He began by bragging about the move his administration made earlier in the day to repeal an Obama-era rule meant to limit pollution in America’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. But a short time later, he seemed to accidentally admit that rules of that sort have helped the country’s water remain relatively clean.
“The Clean Waters act didn’t give you clean waters — by the way, today we have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water that we’ve ever had in the history of our country,” Trump said, falsely, combining two statements that directly contradict each other.
When he wasn’t contradicting himself or gaslighting, Trump offered hyperbolic commentary about MS-13 (“They take young women. They slice them up with a knife. They slice them up — beautiful, young.”), Democratic presidential candidates (“They’re gonna take your money, they’re gonna take — and very much hurt — your families.), and expressed his now-familiar ignorance about wind energy.
“If you happen to be watching the Democrat debate and the wind isn’t blowing, you’re not going to see the debate … ‘the goddamn windmill stopped!’” he said.
Trump even took aim at the city that was hosting the House Republican retreat, characterizing Baltimore as a city that has “been destroyed by decades of failed and corrupt rule.” He closed by promising some sort of major federal action unless Los Angeles and San Francisco take quick action to clean up homelessness.
The spectacle was dark, and at times brutal. Republicans, as they have mostly done since Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, cheered.
Meanwhile, in Houston, Democratic presidential candidates took a few potshots at each other and, of course, at Trump — but they also got deep into the weeds of policy and outlined their respective visions of an America where immigrants are treated with respect, the climate crisis is taken seriously, and claims about health care proposals are backed up with actual plans.
The difference couldn’t have been clearer. Then again, it was just as clear in 2016.
The federal agency that oversees the National Weather Service has sided with President Trump over its own scientists in the ongoing controversy over whether Alabama was at risk of a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time Trump tweeted Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”
Referencing archived hurricane advisories, the NOAA statement said that information provided to the president and the public between Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 “demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama.”
In an unusual move, the statement also admonished the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., which had released a tweet contradicting Trump’s claim and stating, “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”
The NOAA statement said: “The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”
Released six days after Trump’s first tweet on the matter, the NOAA statement was unsigned, neither from the acting head of the agency nor any particular spokesman. It also came a day after the president’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser released a statement justifying Trump’s claims of the Alabama threat.
The NOAA statement Friday makes no reference to the fact that when Trump tweeted that Alabama was at risk, it was not in the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty,” which is where forecasters determine the storm is most likely to track. Alabama also had not appeared in the cone in days earlier, and no Hurricane Center text product ever mentioned the state.
Trump’s tweet that Alabama would be affected by the storm gained national attention Wednesday when he presented a modified version of the forecast cone from Aug. 29, extended into Alabama — hand-drawn using a Sharpie. The crudely altered map appeared to represent an effort to retroactively justify the original Alabama tweet.
The doctored map went viral, becoming a source of ridicule among political pundits and late-night talk show hosts, who accused the president of dishonesty.
The Trump administration is rolling back requirements for new, energy-efficient lightbulbs. The Energy Department announced the move on Wednesday, withdrawing standards that were to be put in place to make commonly used bulbs more efficient.
The new standards were included in energy legislation implemented under President George W. Bush and finalized under the Obama administration. They were set to go into effect in January 2020 and gradually phase out incandescent and halogen bulbs. This includes the everyday pear-shaped bulbs as well as bulbs used for items such as bathroom vanities, recessed lighting and candle-shape lights, to be replaced with energy-efficient, LED versions, which are illuminated by light-emitting diodes.
In its announcement of the rollback, the Energy Department says the new lightbulb standards were established in 2017 “in a manner that is not consistent with the best reading of the statute.”
Last March, NPR’s Jeff Brady reported, “Thanks to a 2007 law signed by President George W. Bush, shelves these days are largely stocked with LED bulbs that look more like the traditional pear-shape incandescent version but use just one-fifth the energy. A second wave of lightbulb changes was set to happen. But now the Trump administration wants to undo an Obama-era regulation designed to make a wide array of specialty lightbulbs more energy-efficient.”
Critics of the reversal say it will mean higher energy bills and more pollution. “The rollback will eliminate energy-efficient standards for lightbulbs that were slated to take effect in January that would save consumers billions of dollars and reduce millions of tons of climate change carbon dioxide emissions,” says Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
“The Trump administration is trying to protect technology that was first invented in the 1800s. It’s like trying to protect the horse and buggy from the automobile technology. It makes no sense to go back to technology from two centuries ago, when we have new technology today which saves consumers money and helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of power that we need,” deLaski said.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the affected bulbs account for billions of light sockets that are currently in use in the U.S.
“The rollback will lead to higher energy bills for homes and businesses, plus significantly more pollution harming our health and the environment due to all the extra electricity that will need to be generated,” the NRDC said in a statement.
Some companies that manufacture lightbulbs opposed the expansion to higher standards of energy efficiency.
DeLaski says, “Every time a consumer shifts to an LED, that lightbulb is going to last 10 years or longer. So the lightbulb manufacturers are trying to save technology that keeps the consumer coming back to buy another bulb every year, but still wastes a lot of energy.”
The rollback is likely to face legal challenges from environmental groups, which said they would sue if the standards were reversed.
President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign posted an edited video in order to lie about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren‘s remarks at a CNN climate change town hall, falsely insisting that she and the Democrats are coming for “Americans’ straws, cheeseburgers, and light bulbs.”
In a tweet that was flagged by Politico’s Alex Thompson, the so-called “Trump War Room” posted a clip of Warren that cuts off in mid-answer, along with their claim that “Elizabeth Warren and the radical Green New Deal Democrats have their eyes set on Americans’ straws, cheeseburgers, and light bulbs to ‘change our energy consumption.’ And that’s just the beginning!”
But the full exchange makes clear that Warren was saying the opposite, that while she supports individual action on those issues, they are distractions from policies aimed at carbon pollution.
On Wednesday night, moderator Chris Cuomo told Warren “Today the president announced plans to roll back energy-saving lightbulbs, and he wants to reintroduce four different kinds, which I’m not going to burden you with, but one of them is the candle-shaped ones, and those are a favorite for a lot of people, by the way,” and asked “But do you think that the government should be in the business of telling you what kind of lightbulb you can have?”
“Oh, come on, give me a break,” Warren began, as Cuomo asked “Is that a yes?”
“No,” Warren replied, adding that “there are a lot of ways that we try to change our energy consumption, and our pollution, and God bless all of those ways. Some of it is with lightbulbs, some of it is on straws, some of it, dang, is on cheeseburgers, right? There are a lot of different pieces to this. And I get that people are trying to find the part that they can work on and what can they do. And I’m in favor of that. And I’m going to help and I’m going to support.”
In a Wednesday afternoon tweet, President Trump shared a week-old hurricane graphic showing the various model runs for Dorian before it had even slammed into the Bahamas.
“This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!” Trump said in the tweet, referencing the flak he has taken for having warned Alabama against the hurricane.
As the South Florida Water Management District plot shows, the president is correct to say early forecasts did acknowledge Dorian could have swept across the Florida Peninsula toward southeast Alabama.
However, meteorologists, journalists, and politicians have condemned the president for providing outdated information. He first warned Alabama could be hit “harder than anticipated” on Sunday, days after it became clear Dorian would instead ride along the East Coast away from Alabama.
The National Weather Station in Birmingham even put out a tweet after Trump first mentioned Alabama, asserting the state would not see “any impacts” from Dorian because it was projected to remain too far east.
As for his latest tweet, Trump did not mention that the hurricane model plot was dated Aug. 28 and his first warning for Alabama was on Sept. 1.
And what’s more, below the graphic is a disclaimer that says, “NHC Advisories and County Emergency Management Statements supersede this product. This graphic should compliment, not replace, NHC discussions. If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”