"Before Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt could install a secure, soundproof phone booth in his office last fall, officials had to create space for the addition in a nearby closet area. Those preparations didn’t come cheap."
"The federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade, according to an Associated Press analysis of new data."
"President Trump, fresh off replacing his secretary of state and C.I.A. director, is considering firing his secretary of veterans affairs and installing Energy Secretary Rick Perry in the post, according to two people close to the White House."
"Documents show that Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Scott Angelle has spent more than 98 hours meeting with oil and gas lobbyists and executives since he began the role last May. In contrast, during this same time he only spent 1.75 hours with NGOs."
"Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke expressed doubt Tuesday that oil and gas exploration will happen off the Pacific coast as part of the Trump administration’s proposal to dramatically expand offshore leasing, saying California, Oregon and Washington have “no known resources of any weight” for energy companies to extract."
"Attorneys for the Trump administration are asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s new policy on science advisers."
"Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke bristled Tuesday under questioning by Democrats about his travel spending as the Trump administration seeks deep cuts to conservation programs and fee increases at national parks."
"Trump fired Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon CEO who supported staying in the Paris climate accord. Pompeo is a Koch brothers ally and climate policy critic."
While environmental themes were less prominent at the Sundance Film Festival this year, our correspondent JoAnn Valenti unearthed ecological messages from documentaries that explore the emergence of climate change refugees in the face of sea level rise, the escape from modernity into wilderness and the confrontation of environmental threats by young innovators.
Coal ash can contaminate surface and ground water with toxic heavy metals. But as this week’s TipSheet reports, Trump deregulation aims to loosen EPA rules on its disposal. That may mean a big local pollution story. If journalists can find the data, that is. The latest on the new rules, plus resources for coverage.