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Charlie Riedel / AP

It's finally here! Almost. Tuesday afternoon President Trump will visit EPA to sign a long-awaited executive order that aims to unwind huge swaths of Obama-era climate change policy.

Why it matters: The order is the clearest sign yet of how aggressively Trump wants to attack his predecessor's regulations on fossil fuel development and coal-fired power generation, which Republicans call economically burdensome. According to the White House, the order will do all this stuff:

  • Begin the long process of overturning EPA carbon emissions standards for existing and newly constructed power plants.
  • Withdraw Obama-era interagency calculations of the "social cost of carbon," a metric regulators use to weigh the damage from increased carbon emissions.
  • Direct the Interior Department to end its moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands.
  • Direct EPA and Interior to review rules that govern oil and natural gas development, including EPA's methane emissions rules for new sources and Interior's rules that govern fracking on federal lands.
  • Scuttle a White House directive that required agencies to consider climate change when reviewing energy, infrastructure and other proposed projects under the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Require federal agencies to broadly review existing rules and policies that might thwart energy development. They have 180 days to craft recommendations to address the problems.
  • Rescind several of Obama's policy memos and orders on tackling climate policy broadly, such as the broad 2013 strategy document.

What's next: In the immediate aftermath, a seriously fierce messaging battle to shape public perception of Trump's actions.

  • A senior White House official told reporters yesterday that the administration is committed to "twin goals" of environmental protection and energy development. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lauded Trump for "bold steps to make regulatory relief and energy security a top priority."
  • But on the other side, Gina McCarthy, who was President Obama's EPA chief, called it dangerous to air quality and drinking water. "It's embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and U.S. leadership," she said.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
4 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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