Week in review: February 3

What we’re reading this week.


These days, there's too much going on for our tiny newsroom in Paonia, Colorado, to cover. Between the wave of national news breaking that has huge implications for the West and the myriad pieces of important regional news, we have been hustling to just to keep up. But I don't want readers to miss the stories that shape our Western economies, landscape and lives. So, starting this week, we'll be sharing the stories we're reading and paying attention to, from around the region and the country. We hope you'll read them, too.Kate Schimel, Deputy Editor-Digital

Congress takes down Obama’s rules

On Friday, the Senate followed the House in killing rules, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which require resource extractors to disclose payments made to the U.S. or foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals. They did so using the Congressional Review Act, a once-obscure law which allows Congress to weigh in on any rule finalized after May 30 of this year. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to kill these four rules: 

These will go before the Senate, likely very soon, where they are not eligible for filibuster. That would make it hard for Democrats to fight them.

According to the Congressional Research Service, two dozen more rules are eligible for Congressional review. Read our piece from December on how Trump might undo Obama’s policies. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty of the Act and its implications, check out this Harvard Law Review explainer. 

Chaos at the EPA

Inside the agency where Washington state legislators are helping lead the transition and where internal memos reveal confusion:

The Guardian: Donald Trump is “taking steps to abolish” the Environmental Protection Agency

“President Trump said during the campaign that he would like to abolish the EPA or ‘leave a little bit’. It is a goal he has and sometimes it takes a long time to achieve goals. You can’t abolish the EPA by waving a magic wand.”

Crosscut: They railed against environmental regs. Now they’ll lead the EPA.

“Two of Washington state’s radical small-government lawmakers will soon be taking leading roles in shaping national environmental policy.”

Slate: How Trump transition officials are privately explaining the chaos at the EPA

“Emails obtained by Slate show that transition officials are blasting the media for the apparent disorder at the agency.”

The West’s own ‘Trump-like’ figure

Deseret News: Greg Hughes might be the most powerful man in Utah politics — if he could just stay out of trouble
“Two weeks before this year’s legislative session, Greg Hughes was in his office on Capitol Hill, carrying himself like a king holding court. As usual, the Utah speaker of the House was impeccably dressed, wearing one of his shirts monogrammed with his self-given nickname: LB — “Lucky Bastard.”

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz pulls his bill to transfer select federal lands and shared his mea culpa on Instagram:

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