Trump on Earth Trump on Earth is a new podcast exploring the environment in the Trump era.
Trump on Earth

Trump on Earth

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Trump on Earth is a new podcast exploring the environment in the Trump era.More from Trump on Earth »

Most Recent Episodes

Ep. 33: The Crux of Coal

The whole concept of "clean coal" is wonky. Real technical, real complicated. Not as simple as President Trump would have you believe. But what does the term actually mean? In truth, it can mean a lot of different things. When many people talk about clean coal, they are talking about cleaning up carbon dioxide out of coal emissions. In Wyoming, where the majority of this country's coal is still mined, clean coal is looked at as a possible economic savior. It's a big deal for a lot of other people, too. Forty percent of the world still depends on coal for electricity, and it's still one of the cheapest and most abundant fuels. But CO2 from coal and other fossil fuels is causing global warming. So it would be nice if we didn't produce so much of it from burning coal. On this episode, Inside Energy's Madelyn Beck takes us on a 360 degree view of clean coal to answer some of our questions.

Ep. 32: Who Will Pay for Trump's Plan to Bail Out Coal?

We all remember the financial and auto bailouts during the Great Recession. They arguably saved significant parts of the economy from even further damage. The Trump administration says the federal government now needs to step in to save the coal and nuclear industries. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has proposed a rule that will force the electric grids in some parts of the country to basically guarantee profits for coal and nuclear plants. But who will pay for that guarantee? Anyone who gets an electric bill. On this episode, we pick through this plan with someone who's been following it closely. Ben Storrow is a reporter for E&E News and he says the most important thing to understand is that the grid, like so many aspects of our economy, is changing because of new technology.

Ep 31: The Incredible Shrinking Monuments

A few weeks ago, President Trump approved the largest rollback of federal land protection in our country's history. Trump's announcement to drastically slash the size of two national monuments in Utah - Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante among additional changes to other national monuments- was not a surprise. But it has indeed been controversial.The day after Trump signed the order, the outdoor recreation company Patagonia posted a message on its website under the headline, "The President Stole Your Land." Patagonia has joined a flurry of lawsuits challenging whether President Trump has the authority to undo or change monuments created by past presidents. So does the Antiquities Act allow presidents to roll back national monuments? On this episode, we hear from John Ruple, associate professor of law at the Wallace Stegner Center for Land Resources and the Environment at the University of Utah. He's also a member of Friends of Cedar Mesa, one of the groups that is suing President Trump over his revisions to Bears Ears.

Ep. 30: Meet the Scientist Standing Up to Scott Pruitt

Can scientists who get grant money from the Environmental protection agency be objective enough to serve on its advisory boards? According to Administrator Scott Pruitt, the answer is "no." Today's episode examines one aspect of the sweeping changes taking place at EPA: Scott Pruitt's bar on scientists who've taken money from the agency also serving on its scientific advisory boards. These are the scientists who help EPA evaluate the science behind its regulations. Some people who weren't included in this new policy: people who've taken money from industries the EPA regulates. But scientists who receive grant money from the agency had to choose between keeping their funding or serving as advisors. We talk Robyn Wilson, a researcher from Ohio State University, who says it's a false choice and is refusing to step down.

Ep. 29: Living With Oil and Gas

The Trump administration has been pulling back federal environmental regulations as fast as it can. The legal argument is that states should be the ones to decide what level of environmental protection and regulation is right for them. In practice, many regulations related to oil and gas development are already in the hands of states, and even local governments. On this episode, we look at how one state is handling one of those regulations, a pretty basic-sounding rule that says how far oil and gas wells must be from someone's house. What should this number be? What is a safe distance? That is a big, contentious question in places where oil and gas drilling is happening near people. With help from our friends at Inside Energy, we find out how that issue is playing out on the ground.

Ep. 28: A Profound Shift in Environmental Protection

In October, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt ordered scientists who receive EPA grants to either end their grants or get off EPA scientific advisory boards. What about industry-backed scientists? They can stay In this episode of Trump on Earth, we talk with Washington Post Environmental Reporter Brady Dennis about industry influence at EPA as well as latest climate-denying nominees to top environmental posts and the U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

Is Ryan Zinke *really* a 'Teddy Roosevelt Guy'?

About three quarters of the 640 million acres of land that the federal government owns is managed by the Department of the Interior. And under the leadership of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Department of Interior is poised to shrink the borders of at least four national monuments, potentially opening up hundreds of thousands of acres to development. On this episode, we try to find out who Ryan Zinke is by learning about the man Zinke calls his biggest inspiration. Teddy Roosevelt basically invented the national parks system, and has arguably done more for conservation than anyone else in U.S. history. So if the top steward of public lands is modeling himself after a conservationist, why is he making headlines for rolling back land protections? Opening up federal land for more oil and gas development? We find out with the help from our friends at Inside Energy.

Roads, Bridges and the Future of Civilization

As Congress pays out more than 36 billion dollars in disaster relief, the General Accounting Office recommends that the federal government find ways to minimize the economic impacts of climate change. President Obama started moving in this direction. He signed an executive order requiring infrastructure like roads and bridges be designed to survive flooding and other consequences of climate change. But President Trump issued an executive order that pretty much undid it. Our guest is Daniel Kreeger. He's the executive director of the Association of Climate Change Officers. which helps businesses and others plan for climate change. Kreeger says we built infrastructure - like highways and sewers - based on the weather we've had over the last century. But that's changing.

Ep. 25: Global Warming: How Bad Could it Be?

The NY Magazine article "The Uninhabitable Earth" presents a portrait of a worst case scenario of climate change in which the planet gets so hot, humans can no longer live there. It imagines a future so grim, it spawned response articles like "Are we as doomed as that New York Magazine Article Says?" In this episode, we talk to the author of the article, David Wallace-Wells, to find out — is it really as bad as all that? And does fear motivate people to action or acceptance?

Ep. 24: A Clean Power Postmortem

Ep. 24: A Clean Power Postmortem

On Tuesday, administrator Scott Pruitt signed the paperwork to revoke the Clean Power Plan. But what is the case for its repeal? And what happens next in the search to rein in carbon dioxide pollution?We've heard from many of the proponents of the Clean Power Plan over the past few months, but on this week's episode, we talk to someone who opposed it and hear why he thought it should have never been written in the first place. Jeff Holmstead has worked on environmental issues for previous Republican administrations, including a stint as assistant administrator for air and radiation at the EPA under George W. Bush.

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