TrumpWatch, Day 85: Trump To Withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement?

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, a doubter of human-led climate change

EPA head Pruitt: “Paris Accord is a bad deal for America”

Developments on Day 85 of the Trump Administration:

EPA Head Calls for Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

Environment Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt calls for “exit” from Paris Accord to fight climate change.

Speaking on Fox News, Pruitt said of the 2015 agreement by nearly 200 countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, “Paris is something that we need to really look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion.” He continued:

It’s a bad deal for America. It was an America second, third, or fourth kind of approach. China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030. We front-loaded all of our costs.

Pruitt, a foe of the EPA when he was Oklahoma Attorney, recently denied that carbon dioxide emissions cause climate change, an opinion at odds with the scientific community.

The Trump Administration is still non-committal on its position towards the agreement, but its draft budget strips funding for climate change research and agencies have been told not to refer to the issue.

“You might’ve read in the media that there was much discussion about U.S. energy policy and the fact that we’re undergoing a review of many of those policies,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday. “It’s true, we are and it’s the right thing to do.”

The Obama Administration had promised a reduction of emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by the year 2025. According to the US Energy Information Administration, emissions declined by 14% from 2005 to 2016, largely because of more use of natural gas and renewable energy sources.

TOP PHOTO: EPA Head Scott Pruitt Susan Walsh/AP

Trump Administration Withholds Visitor Logs

The Trump Administration confirms that it will not disclose White House visitor logs, suspending the practice established under President Obama.

White House Communications Director Michael Dubke gave the reasons as “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually”.

The Obama Administration argued that its disclosure was not required by law but was voluntary. It frequently redacting names from the list, including those of celebrities and donors.

During the Obama Administration, conservative watchdog groups sued the Secret Service, which maintains the records, to make unredacted copies available. A liberal group filed a lawsuit on Monday demanding the Trump Administration’s records.

Democrats in Congress have filed legislation to force the administration to release visitor logs from Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate where he has spent most weekends since the inauguration.

DeVos Halts Obama-Era Plan to Revamp Management of Student Loans

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos scraps an Obama Administration plan to revamp the management of student loans seeking to make the system more efficient.

The Education Department was on the verge of selecting a single vendor to build a system for servicing of the $1.3 trillion in loans to nearly 43 million borrowers.

But a Department statement said implementation of the Obama-era plan would involve moving deadlines and changing requirements and would result in a lack of consistent objectives. It did not specify what changes, if any, it will now make.

There are widespread complaints about poor service from the current system of nine loan servicing companies.

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