The media has been a bit distracted recently by shakeups in the White House, Congress' fight over health care, the ongoing Russia investigation, and President Trump's explosive tweets. These are all newsworthy issues, but while the focus has been there, the Trump administration has been making sweeping changes to environmental regulations under the radar. Experts expect some of President Obama's landmark environmental regulations will be repealed in the coming weeks on favor of big business and the coal and auto industries.
Here's five examples:
1. Repealing the Clean Power plan
The White House is reviewing the plan, which was the crowning jewel in Obama's climate agenda. The Clean Power plan sought to wean power plants off of coal by capping their carbon emissions. Enforcement of the rule was put on hold last year and it's expected that Trump will call for a repeal in the coming weeks as part of his pro-coal agenda.
Opponents of the Clean Power plan have argued that it places harsh, financially crippling restrictions on power plants on top of previous EPA rules restricting air pollution.
2. Clean Water rule
The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have already begun repealing this regulation, which sought to shield some streams, wetlands and other bodies of water from pollution and development.
The rule, also known as the Waters of the United States Rule, was first proposed in 2014 and it expanded protection for 200 million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands, bringing them under federal jurisdiction.
Trump signed an executive order in February asking EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to repeal the rule.
3. Auto fuel and car emissions rules
Auto makers have been lobbying Trump and Congress to role back Obama-era regulations limiting pollution from cars and setting fuel efficiency standards.
Trump has asked the EPA and the Department of Transportation to review the standards. Last week, the Department of Transportation issued a notice that it is looking to revise the fuel standards for car for the 2021 model year.
The Trump administration is planning to propose completely repealing Obama's regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal land. the 2015 rule, which was delayed by a federal court, sought to set standards for fracking including strict standards for wells for holding tanks and ponds where liquid wastes are stored. They also would be forced to report which chemicals they were pumping into the ground.
Last June, a U.S. District Judge in Wyoming ruled the Interior Department had overstepped its congressional authority in regulating the drilling practice. Obama officials appealed the decision, and now Trump officials plan to roll back the regulations alltogether.
5. Coal mining
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management has also repealed several Obama-era restrictions on coal mining and is seeking to undo even more in the coming weeks.
In February Trump signed a bill passed by Congress to repeal the Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Then in March, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lifted Obama's moratorium on coal-mining leases on federal land.