Trump is targeting environmental protection
Elections have consequences, and the election of Donald Trump is resulting in great damage to our environment. The following is a summary of Trump’s anti-environmental actions in the past year. They must not be forgotten.
On Feb. 17, Trump’s nominee for administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, was confirmed by the Senate. Pruitt is a climate change skeptic with close ties to the fossil fuel industry.
On Feb. 28, Trump signed an executive order to abolish the Waters of the United States rule. This rule gives the EPA broad authority over regulating the pollution of wetlands and tributaries that run into the nation’s largest rivers. Its repeal would make it easier to pollute our waters.
On March 16, Trump announced his Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal. It would cut EPA funding by about 30 percent and eliminate a quarter of the agency’s employees.
Also on March 16, the Trump administration began the process of rolling back Corporate Average Fuel Economy fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. These standards have become an important tool in addressing climate change.
On March 24, the Trump administration approved the Keystone XL pipeline which will transport crude oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf coast. This pipeline this will encourage the development of Canada’s oil sands and exacerbate climate change.
On March 28, Trump signed an executive order directing Pruitt to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature policy on climate change. This plan would have required states to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their coal and gas fired power plants. It will be difficult to meet U.S. obligations under the Paris Climate Accord without it.
On June 1, Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. This is a voluntary agreement entered into by 196 nations whose goal is to limit global temperature rise in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
On Sept. 29, Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced his “Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule” proposal. Its stated purpose is to prevent power outages by paying coal and nuclear power plants to maintain a 90 day stockpile of fuel. In actuality it was an effort to prop up the coal industry with taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected this proposal.
On Oct. 5, the Trump administration proposed to block a rule designed to capture methane from drilling activity on federal lands. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. emissions.
On Dec. 4, Trump signed proclamations dramatically shrinking the size of two national monuments in Utah: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. This was the largest reversal of national monument protection in U.S. history. Bears Ears contains some of the most culturally significant land in the American Southwest. This opens Bears Ears to oil and gas development.
On Dec. 22, Trump signed his tax bill which, among other things, lifted the decades-old ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a pristine, fragile and critically important area in northeastern Alaska. Many feel that drilling there makes an ecologically disastrous oil spill inevitable.
On Jan. 4, Trump unveiled a proposal to make more than 90 percent of the outer continental shelf of the United States - including waters along the coasts of New Jersey and Delaware - available for oil and gas drilling. This would create the risk of catastrophic spills threatening coastal eco-systems and tourism.
Trump and members of Congress who support his actions are doing great damage to our environment.