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Weekly Primer: In Argument For Deregulation, Trump Admin Says Dirtier Cars Will Save Lives

August 2, 2018 6:13 p.m.

The Trump administration wants more gas guzzlers.

In a long-anticipated effort to to roll back the Obama administration’s emissions standards, Trump’s EPA and Department of Transportation arguedthey really did — that providing a more lax standard would lower the price of new cars, in turn saving lives because, they reason, crashes will occur between less fuel-efficient (heavier) vehicles that still have modern safety standards.

“At first glance, this proposal completely misrepresents costs and savings. It also relies on bizarre assumptions about consumer behavior to make its case on safety,” California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols told Vox.

The administration also wants to limit states’ rights to make their own standards, to which California and several other states have already said, We’ll see you in court.

The Trump nominee to lead the EPA’s Superfund cleanup program once represented Dow Chemical in it’s own giant chemical mess, a story explored in a New York Times profile this week.

Environmental and animal rights groups have sued the Trump administration over the Ryan Zinke-created International Wildlife Conservation Council, which they allege is unfairly stacked with hunting interests.

Meanwhile, the White House’s new science adviser is… extremely competent? (The White House still let more time go by without a science adviser than any other modern administration.)

Can the executive branch, by quietly allowing investors adjust for inflation, enact a $100 billion capital gains tax break for the uber rich without Congress’ approval? They’re trying to, regardless.

Ahead of its new director Robert Wilkie’s confirmation, the Department of Veterans Affairs reportedly purged staffers suspected of being disloyal to the Trump administration. Wilkie now reportedly intends to do some re-assigning of his own.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has shown increasing deference to Russia’s Red Notices, or arrest-warrant-like issuances from Interpol, to deport alleged criminals, the Atlantic reports.

It was considered ridiculous that President Trump ever entertained making the former U.S. ambassador to Russia available for Kremlin questioning, and thought absurd that Russia would respond to any U.S. Red Notice for the Kremlin agents recently indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for election interference. So why is ICE shipping asylum-seekers back to Russia?

The ex-personnel chief at FEMA is alleged to have fostered, for years, a culture of sexual harassment, including hiring women he met at bars and on dating apps in hopes that his friends and former frat brothers, now FEMA employees themselves, would have sex with them.

We previously reported that the EPA attempted to delay and bury a study showing toxic PFAS-class chemicals are dangerous at much lower levels than previously thought. As it happens, chemical companies also hid evidence for decades. Localities are now struggling to keep their citizens safe.

Kansas Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach may be a bit outside of the current administration at this point, but ProPublica and the Kansas City Star’s investigation into Kobach’s conservative-gun-for-hire scheme is a must-read. So too is PBS Frontline’s Separated, on the family separation crisis, a must-watch.

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