• 01.03.17

Here Are The Obama Climate Regulations That Congressional Republicans Find Most Offensive

The Freedom Caucus wants to put an end to hundreds of government requirements–and many of them are designed to do things like limit emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Here Are The Obama Climate Regulations That Congressional Republicans Find Most Offensive
[Photo: EJ Hersom/DoD Flickr]

Cancel all contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund. End energy conservation standards on washing machines, ceiling fan lights, freezers, and furnaces. Stop Department of Defense spending on renewables. End the SuperTruck initiative. Eliminate the role of special envoy for climate change. Scrap ambient air quality standards.


These are some of the action items on the Freedom Caucus’s regulation bonfire list–everything it wants killed next year, if it can persuade Trump and the rest of the Republicans to go along. The full list contains 228 entries, including plenty related to energy and climate. The 40-odd member conservative congressional group would effectively reverse the Obama administration’s policies on energy efficiency, renewables development, and reining in climate change.

[Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images]

The Freedom Caucus represents a radical wing of the Republican party, but many of the ideas on the list are mainstream in conservative circles. Much of the language from the document was found to be lifted (“plagiarized”) from think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.

The Freedom Caucus also isn’t happy with the Federal Aviation Administration’s new regulations on drones, describing many of the aircraft it covers as “harmless toys” “made with lightweight materials such as plastic.” And it wants more overland supersonic flights. Its reasoning, echoing Trump’s slogan, is to “Make Sonic Boom Again.”

The list was put out recently by Representative Mark Meadows, new leader of the Freedom Caucus, as part of a “First 100 days” push. It covers everything from the national school lunch program (long a target for conservative critics), access to President George W. Bush’s executive papers, repealing Asian catfish import inspections, transgender rules in schools, and the “gainful employment” rule the Department of Education has used to close down unscrupulous for-profit universities.

On the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, it says “billions of dollars have been sunk into this program for years,” and “Elon Musk, the Tesla guy, has been subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of $4.6 billion.” (In fact, that appears to be completely wrong. The program mandates states to use alternative fuel vehicles. The main federal money received by Musk for Tesla was a $465 million DOE loan, though he has received a lot of support from the states).

On the the DOE’s Supertruck program, which looks to double the efficiency of large haulage tractor-trailers:

The trucks being developed by heavy-duty manufacturers Cummins and Peterbilt are extremely costly, and it’s complete cronyism. For FY2016 alone $167 million was invested into this program.

On the Department of Defense’s renewables initiatives, the document says:


Oil products may be expensive, but they are the least expensive option currently available. Forcing the military to purchase more expensive alternatives would leave fewer resources for training, modernization, and recapitalization, resulting in a less capable military.

This contradicts the DoD’s own analysis, which says making energy where we’re fighting, rather than carrying it in on trucks, boats, and planes, makes more strategic sense. You don’t have to be a much of an expert (though clearly more of one than the members of the Freedom Caucus) to figure out that the DoD’s analysis is correct.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.