Here's where 5 key Obama environmental policies stand under Trump

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Donald Trump ran for office as a climate skeptic and critic of the Environmental Protection Agency.

So when one of the Trump teams' first acts after the election was publishing on GreatAgain.gov a manifesto on reversing the Obama-era course of American environmental policy, no one was surprised.

The then-president-elect's website promised to "end the war on coal," eliminate a number of "highly invasive" Obama administration environmental rules, and create an environmental agenda "guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas."

Now, more than a month into the administration, we're in a position to examine the real, material thrust of Trump's environmental agenda - which policies he's already begun to unravel, and which he's left alone.

Here's where, on February 24, 2017, Trump stands on the environment:

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ELIMINATED: The Stream Protection Rule

ELIMINATED: The Stream Protection Rule

Mining companies dig up — or blast away — huge chunks of mountains to get at the coal buried beneath them.

All that material, which can include poisonous heavy metals, ends up scattered around the mining sites, and can potentially enter local streams. And once it's in the streams, it can enter the water supply, potentially threatening the health of local populations.

Under Obama, the EPA created the Stream Protection Rule, which would have required mining companies to study the health of local streams before and during mining activities, and then restore them to their original condition. Mining companies objected to the rule as too expensive.

Trump promised to kill the rule in his post-election environmental manifesto, and it was one of the easier targets. It had gone through a required notice and comment period, but was not yet in force.

Using a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act that applies to regulations in that limbo period, the house voted to kill the Stream Protection Rule — along with four other new regulations — before it went into effect. The Senate also voted to remove the rule, Trump then signed the rule, and the Stream Protection Rule was no more.

ON THE ROPES: The Methane Flaring Rule

ON THE ROPES: The Methane Flaring Rule

The Interior Department's Methane Flaring Rule targets methane release at natural gas extraction plants. Methane is a less common greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but much more potent. The rule, which has not yet gone into effect, is designed to limit the total amount released during natural gas extraction.

Like with the Stream Protection Rule, the House voted February 3 to scrap the Methane Flaring Rule under the Congressional Review Act. Now the Senate mulls its own vote on the matter, and the outcome remains unclear.

LIKELY TO BE ELIMINATED OR REPLACED: The Clean Power Plan

LIKELY TO BE ELIMINATED OR REPLACED: The Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious environmental policy of the Obama era. Through the EPA, it set targets for 47 states to reduce their power plant carbon dioxide emissions over the course of the next decade-plus. (Vermont, Hawaii, and Alaska were excluded due to peculiarities in their electrical grids.) Its goal is to cut national emissions 32% by 2030.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order in the near future designed to repeal the Clean Power Plan, as he promised in his manifesto. But neither he nor his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, have the power to kill it just by signing a piece of paper.

Instead, a Clean Power Plan reversal (or replacement) would have to go through the same complex rulemaking process as the Clean Power Plan went through.

Tied up in the question of the Clean Power Plan's future is the question of whether the federal government will continue to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. Pruitt has yet to take a public stance on that issue.

LIKELY TO BE ELIMINATED: The Waters of the United States rule

LIKELY TO BE ELIMINATED: The Waters of the United States rule

The Waters of the US rule was an effort by the Obama administration, through the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, to define thousands of waterways in the country as subject to the 1972 Clean Water Act — and therefore subject to EPA regulation.

The rule, which was already subject to a robust political and court challenge, angered farmers and other industry groups. They noted that it policed waterways not always full of water, and would require some to seek permits to water animals on their own land.

Trump is expected to take action to reverse the rule in the same batch of executive orders tackling the clean power plan.

LIKELY TO REMAIN: The updated Renewable Fuel Standard

LIKELY TO REMAIN: The updated Renewable Fuel Standard

Soon after Trump took office, the EPA published paperwork to delay until March 21 a full 30 rules previously written into the Federal Register under Obama. The stated goal was to give the new administration time to review them.

Among those rules was an Obama administration update to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is designed to support ethanol and other biofuels. Critics have criticized the idea that burning a corn product in cars will benefit the environment.

Trump sent a letter to attendees of an ethanol conference February 21 assuring them that his administration continues to back biofuels, which is likely good news for the Obama updates to the RFS.

ELIMINATED: Blocks on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines

ELIMINATED: Blocks on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines

Under pressure from environmental and tribal sovereignty activists, the Obama administration in late 2016 halted construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would have run near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Back in 2015, he rejected a proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried tar sands from Canada to Texas.

Trump has already lifted the block on the DAPL, and has taken steps to greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline. Both will likely quickly move forward.

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