The skanner. (Portland, Or.) 1975-2014, April 05, 2017, Page Page 10, Image 10

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    Page 10 The Skanner April 5, 2017
Trump Plugs Away at His Central Goal: Undoing Obama’s Work
ACA repeal fails – but other attempts to undermine Obama’s legacy are working
WASHINGTON— Amid the turmoil
over staff shake-ups, blocked travel
bans and the Russia cloud hanging
overhead, President Donald Trump is
steadily plugging away at a major piece
of his agenda: Undoing Obama.
From abortion to energy to climate
change and personal investments,
Trump is keeping his promises in me-
thodically overturning regulations
and policies adopted when Barack
Obama was president.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
Trump recently failed to fulfill his
pledge to repeal and replace the Afford-
able Care Act, which continues to stand
as Obama’s most recognizable domestic
policy achievement. Trump and House
Speaker Paul Ryan couldn’t persuade
enough fellow Republicans to back
new health care legislation last month.
Ryan pulled the measure just before a
scheduled House vote.
Trump has had better outcomes in
other areas.
Trump signed an executive order last
week to deliver on his pledge to unrav-
el Obama’s efforts to curb global warm-
ing. The order launched a review of the
Clean Power Plan, Obama’s chief effort
to curb carbon emissions by restrict-
ing greenhouse gas emissions at coal-
fired power plants. Trump also lifted a
14-month-old halt on new coal leases on
federal lands. The Obama administra-
tion had imposed a three-year freeze
on such leases in January 2016.
The executive order covers a range
of other Obama-era rules, including
requirements to factor the “social cost”
of carbon emissions into all regulatory
actions and to crack down on methane
emissions at oil and gas wells. Business
groups had complained to Trump, him-
self a businessman, that the rules were
intrusive and expensive.
Trump is expected to sign a measure
soon to block online privacy regula-
tions the Federal Communications
Commission issued during Obama’s
final months in office. It’s a first step
toward allowing internet providers to
sell information about their custom-
ers’ browsing habits. The FCC rule was
designed to give consumers more con-
trol over how companies like Comcast,
AT&T and Verizon share information.
Critics complained that the rule would
have increased costs, stifled innovation
and picked winners and losers among
internet companies.
Trump is expected to sign legislation
erasing another Obama rule, one that
barred states from withholding federal
family planning funds from Planned
Parenthood affiliates and other clinics
that provide abortions. The rule was fi-
nalized shortly before Obama left office
in January.
The measure cleared the Senate last
week with Vice President Mike Pence,
who is also president of the Senate,
casting the tie-breaking 51st vote in the
100-member chamber.
Trump greenlighted the long-de-
layed project on March 24, reversing
Obama’s decision less than 18 months
earlier. After Trump invited TransCan-
ada, the Canadian company building
the $8 billion pipeline, to resubmit its
application, the State Department ap-
proved the project, saying it would ad-
vance U.S. national interests. Obama
had said the project would not.
Approval came nearly a decade after
TransCanada applied to complete the
Associated Press
In this March 24, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump announces the approval of a permit to build
the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the $8 billion project in the Oval Office of the White House
in Washington. From left are, TransCanada CEO Russell K. Girling, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and
Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Amid staff turmoil and shake-ups, travel bans blocked by federal courts
and the Russia cloud hanging overhead, Trump is plucking away at another piece of his agenda: undoing
1,700-mile (2,735 kilometers) pipeline
to carry oil from tar sands in Alberta,
Canada, to refineries along the Texas
Gulf Coast.
Trump says the project will reduce
costs and reliance on foreign oil, and
create thousands of jobs. Obama had
said it would undercut U.S. credibility
in international efforts to tackle cli-
mate change.
Under Obama, the Army Corps of En-
gineers had declined in December to al-
low pipeline construction under South
Dakota’s Lake Oahe on grounds that
alternate routes needed to be consid-
ered. Native American tribes had sued
to block construction, arguing that the
pipeline threatened their water supply
and cultural sites.
The project has moved forward again
under Trump, who acted shortly after
taking office. In February, the Army
Corps of Engineers abandoned further
study and granted an easement that
was needed to complete the pipeline.
Energy Transfer Partners immediately
began drilling under the lake.
The Trump administration is re-ex-
amining federal requirements gov-
erning the fuel efficiency of cars and
trucks. In 2012, the Obama adminis-
tration set fuel economy regulations
for model years 2017-2025 and agreed
to complete a midterm evaluation by
next year. Then, days before Obama left
office, the Environmental Protection
Agency decided to keep stringent re-
quirements it had set in place for model
years 2022-2025.
The auto industry balked. Trump an-
nounced in Michigan that he’s putting
the midterm review back on track. His
decision has no immediate effect but
requires the EPA to determine no later
than April 2018 whether the 2022-2025
standards are appropriate.
Obama was his administration’s
biggest cheerleader for the sweeping
agreement involving the U.S. and 11
other Pacific Rim nations. But the Sen-
ate needed to ratify it, and bipartisan
opposition basically doomed it before
he left office.
As a candidate, Trump railed against
the agreement and pledged to withdraw
from it, saying he was a better negotia-
tor and could strike better deals. Short-
ly after taking office, he directed the
U.S. trade representative to withdraw
and said he would pursue individual
deals with the other countries.
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