While everyone is watching President Donald Trump’s Twitter page, he’s been attacking the environment daily, rolling back one thing after another in an across the board war on the environment.
Early on, Trump signed a broad executive order intended to kill federal action on climate change and push fossil fuels over renewable energy. He’s gone after nearly 60 different environmental rules, including ones designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The one area where the Trump administration is succeeding is hurting the environment and making U.S. more vulnerable to climate impacts.
Under Trump’s orders, scientists are gagged and governmental agencies can’t even say the words “climate change,” while the administration rolls back programs for resiliency. His Cabinet members are climate-deniers tied to the oil and gas industries. Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris accords, making us the only country to do so. His rollbacks came as 2017 set a record of $306 billion worth of damage from extreme weather events.
Trump’s Interior Department puppet Secretary Ryan Zinke supports opening our public lands to fracking and coasts to offshore drilling as well as privatizing national parks. They’ve eliminated protections for national monuments, including 90 percent of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah to allow for uranium and coal mining. They’re also going after marine protection areas and are looking to repeal the Antiquities Act. While they’ve removed the plastic bottle ban in national parks, the administration has doubled entrance fees. Zinke wastes public money on private helicopter rides while cutting the budget for important programs.
The administration is also proposing to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by a third, getting rid of funding for offshore wind and solar programs, and eliminating programs that deal with climate change nationwide and internationally. They have plans to cut enforcement, meaning that there will not enough personnel to make sure our water is safe to drink, our land is clean, our air is breathable and polluted sites are cleaned up. His first year has been bad, but more is coming unless we can elect a Congress to put a check on Trump.
The EPA has seen massive amounts of damage under the Trump administration and Administrator Scott Pruitt. They’ve gotten rid of the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States Rule and the Methane Rule. They’ve even tried to eliminate the Endangered Species Program. They slashed funding for cleaning up Superfund sites and operations of the Office of Science, and eliminated the Office of Environmental Justice. They’ve removed rules that protect against sewer discharge, air pollution, coal ash dumping, and more.
Part of the Trump administration’s “Drill Baby, Drill” plan includes opening up areas from the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to to New Jersey for offshore drilling. They’re pushing to fast track pipelines and cut environmental reviews. The once-rejected pipelines Keystone XL and Dakota Access are now back. They want to subsidize coal and nuclear while reducing programs for solar and wind energy. They even rolled back safety regulations for oil drilling put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. There are plenty more rollbacks to come to pay for his tax cuts, including cutting funds for clean energy technologies a such as electric vehicles, solar and wind.