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Ep. 45: Brett Kavanaugh is Trump's Pick. Should Environmentalists Be Worried?

Less than a week after the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy would retire, President Trump nominated DC Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Kennedy’s replacement. In this episode, we learn more about Kavanaugh's environmental record and what cases he'd be weighing in on if confirmed. Our guest is Melissa Powers, a law professor and director of the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School in Oregon. Professor Powers also talks about Justice Kennedy’s environmental...


Ep. 44: Goodbye Scott Pruitt, Hello Andrew Wheeler

For months on end, Pruitt seemed to defy the laws of gravity at the EPA, maintaining his job through more than a dozen scandals. But Pruitt’s term has ended after it was reported that President Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly--presumably at the president’s behest--asked Pruitt for his resignation. So the big question is--why now? And, importantly, what happens next? On this episode Reid Frazier talks with Zack Colman, a reporter with E&E News.


Ep. 43: Could the Endangered Species Act go Extinct?

When Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act on December 28, 1973, it made the United States the only nation on Earth to declare a basic right of existence for species other than our own. Currently, the Act protects more than 1,600 species across the country. Now, the landmark legislation is being targeted by industry, with support from the GOP. What happens next could determine the fate of hundreds of endangered species. On this episode, we talk about the future of the Endangered...


Ep. 42: Read the Label: Chemical Safety Under the EPA

The way EPA regulates chemicals is changing. Here’s what you need to know.


Ep. 41: The Making of Scott Pruitt

Before he was EPA administrator, before he was Oklahoma's attorney general, before he was even a state senator, Scott Pruitt was an unknown attorney in the suburbs of Tulsa, Oklahoma. What do Scott Pruitt's early days in public life tell us about his beliefs and motivations as he sets about dismantling EPA regulations? On this episode, we talk to two reporters who dug into this question to find out more about the man President Donald Trump picked to lead the EPA. Joe Wertz is a reporter for...


Ep. 40: Pruitt’s Transparency Problem (and it's not his ethics scandals)

From its inception, science has been at the core of the EPA’s mission. It’s used science about the health effects of industrial pollution to make our air and water cleaner. But EPA administrator Scott Pruitt wants to limit what kinds of research the agency can use when making regulations. To that end, he has introduced the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule. Transparency--sounds pretty good, right? But with this new rule, the agency would limit what kinds of research it...


Ep. 39: Will He Stay Or Will He Go?

First class flights, pricey office furniture, a soundproof booth and a security detail the size of a small police department. And don’t forget a rented room inside a condo owned by a lobbyist’s wife. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is embroiled in a series of concentric ethics scandals, and it’s led to speculation about his future there. Today we ask how Scott Pruitt got into his current situation, why he still has a job at EPA, and whether the scandals will impede his attempts to dismantle...


Trump's Next Frontier

The Trump administration says it wants to open up nearly all of the country’s oceans to oil and gas drilling. So what will this mean for communities around the country that depend on our coasts for their livelihood? What will this mean for our oceans?


Alaska: Open for Business

More than 60 percent of Alaska is owned by the federal government. That's 225 million acres; a plot of land bigger than Texas. So if any state is going to be impacted by environmental decisions made in Washington D.C., it's Alaska. On this episode, we talk about those decisions being made in D.C. and their impacts on the 49th state with two of its experts. Elizabeth Harball is a public radio reporter with Alaska's energy desk in Anchorage, and Liz Ruskin is the D.C. correspondent for...


Ep. 36: One Down, Three to Go.

There have been lots of presidential orders and proclamations, and many proposals are in the works. But just how effective has Trump been in changing environmental policy during his first year in office? To answer that we spoke with Dan Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He also blogs about these issues at


Ep. 35: Do Regulations Kill Jobs? Or Save Lives?

Rolling back regulations is fundamental to the philosophy of the Trump administration. And a lot of the action has been directed towards environmental regulations. According to a review done by the Washington Post, 63 environmental rules have been targeted across all agencies. That’s more than other policy area. So what’s the case for environmental regulations? Do they work? Do they make our lives better in any measurable way? We hear a lot from the Trump administration about how...


Ep. 34: Inside the EPA's Regulatory Rollback Machine

The Trump administration has rolled back 60 environmental policies at last count. ProPublica reporter Talia Buford dug into the overturning of one of EPA rules that took the agency a decade to craft and the Trump administration just months to undo. The rule was meant to keep toxic waste out of rivers and streams. Now it's in limbo as the EPA has decided to open it back up for review. The story of what happened with this rule is a case study in how the EPA operates under the Trump...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...