Fresh Ideas: Has Trump ever seen an environmental protection he likes?
Apparently not. The bad news for the health of our environment and our families continues to roll in. The list gets longer by the day.
Trump proposes cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, eliminating 3,200 positions and several programs. More than 50 EPA programs would be eliminated under Trump’s plan.
Among the programs to be cut is the Energy Star initiative. Yes, the Trump budget eliminates Energy Star, a program Lowell Ungar, senior policy adviser at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, calls the “most successful voluntary energy efficiency program in the world.”
Earlier, Trump announced he’s overturning the 2012 federal auto fuel efficiency standards. And Trump’s EPA (headed by fossil-fuel best-friend Scott Pruitt) doesn’t even want to allow states to keep their own more stringent vehicle fuel efficiency plans. According to the New York Times, “The EPA will also begin legal proceedings to revoke a waiver for California that was allowing the state to enforce the tougher tailpipe standards for its drivers.”
I guess Republicans believe in state’s rights only when states are doing what they agree with.
Even small programs get the ax. Trump plans to eliminate funding for the Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency that probes accidents at refineries and other industrial sites. Experts say the program works well. Why eliminate it? Apparently some oil and gas companies don’t like it.
The fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry are all over this. Oil industry favorite Scott Pruitt has said, and his boss Trump seems to be following his lead, environmental regulation is better done at the state level. Maybe so. But ask any honest state leaders if they have the budget to carry out the level of research, environmental protection, litigation, and cleanup work now done by the EPA and that honest state leader will say, no way. What Pruitt, his boss Trump and their friends in the fossil fuel industry want is not for environmental protection to go back to the states, they want it to just go away.
In my view, what Trump is attempting to do is to dismantle a system of environmental protection painstakingly built up in this country over a period of more than 45 years. If he succeeds, the health and wellbeing of our environment, our nation, and our families will suffer.
With a reckless president who cares nothing for environmental protection and a cabinet handpicked by the fossil fuel industry and other polluters, things are looking grim for the environment.
But I was pleased to read a coalition of nine states plus Washington, D.C., will oppose President Trump’s directive for federal agencies to reconsider vehicle emission standards. And then there’s Trump’s nonsensical executive order last month that directed federal agencies repeal two regulations every time they issue a new one — not taking into account the benefits, environmental and otherwise, of the regulations. Earthjustice immediately filed suit to strike down that unconstitutional order.
These battles will continue, and those who think it’s important to protect our environment will lose a lot — probably more than we win. But does Trump really think the people of this country who care about clean air and water, the health of our families, and protecting our beautiful nation will just give up and go away? Where would we go? It’s our country. Not only will we not go away, we’ll fight back against his gutting of our environmental protections and in the end, we’ll be here to pick up the pieces and start again after Trump and his wrecking crew are gone.
Anne Macquarie writes about clean energy, climate change, and other environmental issues from her home in Carson City.