POTUS 45 versus the Earth and Environment

At this writing, the implications of the current administration for the earth and the environment are all horrifying. The greatest dangers to the health of our country and our planet besides POTUS 45 are three of his chosen executive branch leaders. First and worst is EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a climate science denier and longtime foe of the agency he is supposedly leading. EPA spokesman J. P. Freire recently announced plans to replace scientists on scientific advisory boards with “industry scientific experts” and to cut one advisory board’s budget by 84 percent, “reflecting a lower number of peer reviews.”

Next is Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who thought that the mission of his agency was to promote the oil and gas industry.

Last but not least is Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who has per Trump’s executive order begun to review all National Monuments established since 1996 with an eye to at least reduce them in area to permit exploitation of oil and minerals, timber, and fish resources on these precious lands.

In general, the administration has pushed for a wide variety of initiatives that promote fossil fuels and in various ways endanger the environment:

  • Authorizing resumption of the Keystone XL pipeline and the DAPL pipeline.
  • Pushing for more offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic, Gulf, and for offshore drilling in the fragile Arctic.
  • Attempting to revoke environmental regulations, e.g., increasing fuel economy standards for personal and commercial vehicles, controlling disposition of coal ash.

The Administration’s proposed budget outline would drastically cut funds to the EPA, NOAA, Energy Department programs on climate research, programs for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, and on safe disposition of mining wastes.

These draconian budget and accompanying staffing cuts are on hold until October 1; the Congressional spending agreement keeping the government temporarily in business protects many of these agencies and programs until then. Further, revoking regulations is not an easy or a fast process. There is also pushback from Congress, as the current tightened regulations on methane emissions on Federal lands have been upheld by the Senate.  The administration has also decided to postpone until the end of May a decision on whether to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords.

However, given the overall anti-environmental and pro-fossil fuel stance of this administration— embodied most obviously by the wrecking crew of Trump, Pruitt, Perry, and Zinke— the environment in the U.S., and the planet as a whole, still have a great deal to worry about.

Jean Stewart, Chair
Earth and Environment Task Force

 

 

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