A bipartisan group of Western governors met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in a push to improve relations between the federal government and the states on matters of energy and environmental policy. “The Western Governors Association wants a better state and federal partnership,” Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), chairman of the WGA, said after the meeting. Winning back the trust of states after eight years of the Obama administration is a major priority for Pruitt, who formerly served as Oklahoma’s attorney general.
A New York Times story that contradicted claims of wrongdoing against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was quietly edited after publication to remove lines that challenged the talking points of environmental activist groups. Two key sentences from the story, which said the e-mails are unlikely to cause problems for Pruitt, were deleted without explanation. But not before other news outlets had included those lines in their own coverage.
The Colorado Petroleum Council today urged federal lawmakers to repeal a last-minute Obama administration rule targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands. The rule, aimed at restricting methane emissions, has angered tribal, business and local officials from across the state. The Republican majority in the Colorado State Senate has also endorsed the repeal effort.
The stakes are high for Eddy County and its biggest city, Carlsbad. The county is located on the Western side of the Permian Basin, which stretches across Southeast New Mexico and West Texas. After several years of falling oil prices, the region’s energy sector is starting to rebound, with companies seeking hundreds of new workers on the New Mexico side of the Permian Basin, according to recent press reports.
It’s important that states “see us as partners in this very important mission we have as an agency, and not adversaries,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a speech to agency employees. During the Obama administration, Pruitt emerged as a leading critic of the EPA in his former role as Oklahoma attorney general. He joined with other states, business groups, labor unions and other stakeholders in challenging the Obama EPA in court for overstepping its authority.
Two major institutions in Western Colorado, Club 20 and the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, are speaking out against a methane regulation imposed during the final months of the Obama administration. And their criticism of the last-minute “venting and flaring” rule is getting support from an unlikely source: Federal environmental regulators.
Anti-pipeline protestors have left a huge mess of garbage, human waste, abandoned vehicles and more in a flood plain next to the Missouri River in North Dakota. As they struggle to keep all this pollution out of the river, officials want the world to know who caused this problem: Activists from out of state. “When we take a look at the figures and pull out where people are from … you definitely notice that not a lot of North Dakotans are in that group,” Rob Keller, public information officer for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, told Western Wire.