Trump Administration ease regulation standards for coal ash disposal.
July 18, 2018
New House Bill allocates $5B for President’s Border Wall. On Wednesday, The House Homeland Security appropriations bill revealed that it would set aside $5 billion to build President Trump’s proposed border wall, including funding for over 200 miles of new physical barriers and technology. The bill significantly exceeds the Senate’s version of the budget, which only included $1.6 billion and no mention of any new physical barriers. Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder writes, “This bill takes the largest steps in years towards finally fulfilling our promise to the American People to secure the border.” [The Hill]
Trump Administration ease regulation standards for coal ash disposal. On Wednesday, The Environmental Protection Agency, under the Trump Administration, started easing some standards on how companies discard coal ash, the toxic substance left over from burning coal. These changes are to be the first of other potential changes to the Obama administration’s 2015 rule that dictated the first ever federal standards for coal ash disposal. These amendments allow states or the EPA more authority to waive some requirements and postponing some deadlines. This is the first major regulatory move made by acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who took over the position from Scott Pruitt earlier this month. The EPA states that the loosened rules will save as much as $31.4 million a year in avoided regulatory costs. [The Hill]
US Homebuilding drops. In June, US homebuilding fell to a nine month low, while permits for future construction declined for the third straight month. The degree of decline in homebuilding and permits reported by the Commerce Department was unexpected. This could be a result of more expensive lumber, land, and labor shortages. John Pataky, executive nice president of TIAA Bank in Jacksonville Florida, writes, “We’re seeing pressure on both sides of the market, from increasingly expensive inputs on the supply side to prices that are charging ahead of wage growth on the demand side, and the result is that neither builders nor buyers can keep up.” [Reuters]