Interior Department scraps climate change and mitigation policies

Credit: Bureau of Reclamation

David Bernhardt, the Department of the Interior’s deputy secretary who also happens to be a former energy lobbyist, has ordered the elimination of four internal DOI policies relating to climate change and mitigation. Among other things, the Obama-era guidelines encouraged employees to minimize the environmental impacts of activities on federal lands and waters. Bernhardt declared that they “potentially burden” the development of domestic energy, while DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke has referred to the very concept of mitigation, or the idea that companies should pay to offset their negative impacts, as “un-American” and “extortion.” Well, Bernhardt is not wrong—concern for the effects of climate change is indeed “inconsistent” with President Trump’s energy policy. But he’s going to have a tough time also eliminating logic, economics, and public opinion from his decision-making.

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