Tag: pushed

As Trump deregulated environmental protections, society pushed back

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has undertaken a rollback of environmental regulations unlike anything in U.S. history, promising new manufacturing and industrial activity in the United States while drawing dire warnings from environmentalists.

But so far, the real-world effects of those actions have been blunted by a push against climate change that has galvanized corporations to invest in clean energy, state legislatures to enact their own limits on carbon emissions and environmental attorneys to fight Trump in court.

Trump rolled back fuel economy standards, but automakers are still investing heavily in electric vehicles. Trump relaxed rules on power plant emissions to help the coal industry, but coal-fired generators are shutting down because they can’t compete with lower-cost natural gas and renewable energy.

The muted effects of Trump’s campaign against regulation demonstrate the limited power presidents have in shifting the direction of the country in the face of economic, social and, as the coronavirus has shown, natural forces. The task is particularly difficult when presidents fail to win over Congress, as Trump has on his environmental agenda — despite Republican control in his first two years.

That has forced Trump to rely on executive orders and administrative changes, preventing deeper, longer-lasting changes to U.S. law and relegating his administration to tinkering around the edges of how the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies carry out their work.

“The old expression, we’re a nation of laws and not people,” said Scott Segal, a Washington energy attorney. “As an individual, the president can hope for all the change he or she wants, but without working through the process it’s very difficult to make durable change.”

Case in point: oil and gas pipelines. Trump ordered aides to find ways to circumvent governors, such New York’s Andrew Cuomo, who refuse to approve pipelines in their states. But under the Clean Water Act, states are granted the right to stop projects they deem potentially harmful to their waterways.

Getting around that would require a change in the law. Even Republicans balked, concerned about stepping on the rights of state governments.

Tech trumps tariffs

Trump’s campaign to grow fossil fuels, often at the expense of wind and solar energy, has not gone as expected. In 2018, when the administration put a 30 percent tariff on solar panels, targeting cheap Chinese imports, analysts predicted the solar industry would sustain a severe blow.

But a year later, residential installations had increased by roughly 15 percent, driven by declines in the cost of solar technology.

“Even with Trump not pushing renewables, there’s enough of a foothold it’s still growing,” said Pablo Diaz, CEO of Direct Solar of America, an Arizona company that installs rooftop solar systems.

The Trump administration defends its deregulatory push as necessary to grow American industry, which it maintains was stifled by excessive regulation.

Continue reading

As Trump rolled back environmental protections, society pushed back

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has undertaken a rollback of environmental regulations unlike anything in U.S. history, promising new manufacturing and industrial activity in the United States while drawing dire warnings from environmentalists.



a crane next to a traffic light


© Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer


But so far, the real-world effects of those actions have been blunted by a push against climate change that has galvanized corporations to invest in clean energy, state legislatures to enact their own limits on carbon emissions and environmental attorneys to fight Trump in court.

Trump rolled back fuel economy standards, but automakers are still investing heavily in electric vehicles. Trump relaxed rules on power plant emissions to help the coal industry, but coal-fired generators are shutting down because they can’t compete with lower-cost natural gas and renewable energy.

The muted effects of Trump’s campaign against regulation demonstrate the limited power presidents have in shifting the direction of the country in the face of economic, social and, as the coronavirus has shown, natural forces. The task is particularly difficult when presidents fail to win over Congress, as Trump has on his environmental agenda — despite Republican control in his first two years.

That has forced Trump to rely on executive orders and administrative changes, preventing deeper, longer-lasting changes to U.S. law and relegating his administration to tinkering around the edges of how the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies carry out their work.

“The old expression, we’re a nation of laws and not people,” said Scott Segal, a Washington energy attorney. “As an individual, the president can hope for all the change he or she wants, but without working through the process it’s very difficult to make durable change.”

Case in point: oil and gas pipelines. Trump ordered aides to find ways to circumvent governors, such New York’s Andrew Cuomo, who refuse to approve pipelines in their states. But under the Clean Water Act, states are granted the right to stop projects they deem potentially harmful to their waterways.

Getting around that would require a change in the law. Even Republicans balked, concerned about stepping on the rights of state governments.

Tech trumps tariffs

Trump’s campaign to grow fossil fuels, often at the expense of wind and solar energy, has not gone as expected. In 2018, when the administration put a 30 percent tariff on solar panels, targeting cheap Chinese imports, analysts predicted the solar industry would sustain a severe blow.

But a year later, residential installations had increased by roughly 15 percent, driven by declines in the cost of solar technology.

“Even with Trump not pushing renewables, there’s enough of a foothold it’s still growing,” said Pablo Diaz, CEO of Direct Solar of America, an Arizona company that installs rooftop solar systems.

The Trump administration defends its deregulatory push as necessary to grow American industry, which it maintains was stifled by excessive regulation. But so far, there is little evidence of the economic gains Trump promised.

During

Continue reading

How Two Young Entrepreneurs Pushed Their Way Into Government Contracts

When Covid-19 hit, Aspetto cofounder and CEO Abbas Haider, like lots of small-business owners, was nervous that business would fall. After all, the biggest buyers for his company’s bullet-resistant clothes and tactical gear were federal agencies, which he figured would be focused elsewhere. “We thought a lot of the funding from defense contracts was going to go to PPE,” he says. “We thought business was going to hurt during Covid.”

Instead, Fredericksburg, Virginia-based Aspetto’s business boomed. It now expects revenue to reach $12.5 million this year, up from less than $2 million in 2019, when he company hit a rough spot. Haider and his cofounder Robert Davis, both 30, are already beginning to line up contracts for 2021 (they say they have $14 million worth secured now), when they expect revenue to surpass $25 million. Since the beginning of the year, they’ve won multi-million-dollar deals to make female specific tactical gear for the U.S. Air Force, armored vests for Homeland Security, ballistic shields for the Internal Revenue Service, stab vests for the Bureau of Prisons, and more.

“Innovation is what really helped us,” Haider says. “The reason we were able to develop these better solutions for the military is that we were looking at it from a different perspective, from fashion.”

Haider’s original idea for the business was to create fashionable body armor, which has long been utilitarian if ugly. While in college at the University of Mary Washington, he teamed up with classmate Davis to start the company in 2008. They bet that U.S. government agencies would be willing to pay for better looking bullet-resistant clothes for their employees in unsafe locales; its men’s suits are stylish, but often cost an extra $3,500 to be outfitted with armor in the jacket. (Only buyers who have been background-checked are permitted.) As the firm grew, the duo made the Forbes Under 30 list in Manufacturing & Industry in 2018.

Since then, Aspetto, which has just 12 full-time employees, has expanded beyond fashion to tactical products, in some cases, they say, winning contracts versus the major military contractors. “We’re not part of the norm in this industry,” Davis says.

“We don’t have master’s [degrees] from top business schools, but that’s how we’re learning,” says Abbas Haider, Aspetto’s CEO and an alumnus of Forbes Under 30.

When the Air Force selected Aspetto for the female-specific gear contract in June, “I thought we were just one of the awardees,” Haider recalls. “I called them up and said, ‘How many other companies were awarded this?’ and he’s like, ‘Dude, it’s only you guys.’”

Winning that bid was an especially big deal for a small company, he says, because governments overseas follow the U.S. Air Force’s lead in choosing their suppliers. Soon after the Air Force announced its choice, he says, he started getting inquiries from as far afield as the Netherlands and Australia.

Being outsiders in the insular government-contracting world hasn’t been easy. Aspetto

Continue reading

Autumn pushed boundaries, but was it good?

Gallery: The craziest reality TV shows ever made (Espresso)

The Third Day is perhaps the strangest show on television. Written by Utopia’s creator, Dennis Kelly, its three initial episodes – aired under the title Summer – have seen a grieving dad, Sam (Jude Law), absconding to the windswept British rural idyll of Osea island, initially under the guise of bringing a suicidal young woman home, before he finds himself trapped in what seems to be a setup from The Wicker Man, hallucinating locust infestations, seeing visions of his departed son and partaking in bloody pagan rituals. On Osea, the sun-dappled landscape is a hell of bereavement.

If that all sounds too confusing to follow, it is because plot is more of a secondary concern to the makers of The Third Day. Instead, the hour-long shows serve as a conduit for “atmosphere”, like throat-tickling dry ice clouding a sticky dancefloor. And, in the interests of whipping up maximum atmosphere, on Saturday – the third day of October – a 12-hour, live, multihyphenate experience served as the middle point of the series, before its final dose of episodes continues the following week.

The Third Day: Autumn is one-take, one-camera, livestreamed immersive theatre. An “event”, not a show, “where the line between what is real and what is not will be increasingly blurred”, apparently. With award-winning theatre producers Punchdrunk at the helm, though, and featuring the cast of Law, Katherine Waterston – and a special appearance from singer Florence Welch – the results could be promising. This may be the maximum atmosphere we need to awaken us from the midst of another lockdown Saturday spent staring at the walls and scrolling through the news feed.

The live stream begins at 9.30am, where I am sitting with a bowl of Weetabix, joining the 1,700 other people on Sky’s Facebook page waiting for it to begin. “Debbie” asks: “What’s this then?” A meandering, meditatively slow, tracking shot across the Osea causeway marks the backdrop for onscreen text explaining that this time of year is the island’s Esus and the Sea festival, where children undergo pagan rites to adulthood, as well as the occasional selection of a new adult leader who must undergo a challenging ordeal to prove themselves. I hope Jude’s had his Weetabix, too.

So far so slow TV – for the first two hours we follow the camera as it trundles through overcast, rain-spattered steady-cam shots along the island, making for a moody screensaver backdrop, while the sound design perfectly sets a disconcerting tone of suspense with its continuous ambient drone and smatterings of dialogue kept barely audible.

What begins as an exercise in patience morphs into truly beautiful television, though – a moving still life that questions our very need for plot and easily digestible entertainment. Characters slowly enter the frame, and we meander with them as they go about setting up the island for the festival, stuffing scarecrows with hay and building fires. A sense of unease slowly grows.

A change

Continue reading

House Democrats pushed through an aid package with little chance of becoming law.

House Democrats on Thursday pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that would provide aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers, advancing a wish list with little chance of becoming law.

The pandemic relief measure passed the House on a 214-to-207 vote, with at least 17 Democrats joining Republicans in opposing it. The handful of moderate Democrats who bucked their party argued that with negotiations still taking place with the Trump administration, the chamber should vote on a bipartisan deal.

Republicans had already panned the relief bill as too large.

The decision to put it to a vote anyway on Thursday evening reflected mounting anxiety among some rank-and-file Democrats at the prospect of facing voters next month without being able to point to some action to provide relief. There was also a desire among some party members to formalize their latest offer.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that there was still a chance that the talks would produce a deal, but the vote shined a light on the continued failure of Congress and the White House to come together on a new package, and the dwindling chances that they can do so before lawmakers scatter to campaign for re-election.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with each other for about 50 minutes, with Mr. Mnuchin taking an offer of a $1.6 trillion package to Ms. Pelosi’s Capitol Hill suite.

Ms. Pelosi told reporters that she did not expect a resolution on a stimulus package to emerge Thursday. But she said that she was reviewing documents sent by the Treasury Department and that “we’re going back and forth with our paper and conversation.”

During the stalemate, several industries, notably airlines, are running into severe financial constraints as the virus persists and people continue to shy away from traveling. United Airlines and American Airlines began furloughs of 30,000 workers on Thursday after Congress was unable to come up with a fresh aid package for the industry.

Source Article

Continue reading