The Assault on the Environment
In the space of less than 2 years, the Trump Administration has mounted an unprecedented assault on the environment. Trump’s actions cannot be seen in any other way.
Here are at least a few of his notable actions:
1 – Weakening of regulations on planet warming emissions from cars, power plants and oil and gas drilling rigs;
2 – Policies encouraging the continued use and production of coal and the propping up of existing and new coal- fired power plants;
3 – Opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling;
4 – Reduction in the size of national monuments and loosening of protections from oil, gas, and mineral (coal) development on federal lands;
5 – Weakening of federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams;
6 – Withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accords;
7 – Loosening of regulations that protect endangered species;
8 – Blocking the United Nations from endorsing the findings of a major scientific report on global warming;
9 – Arguing at a major United Nations climate conference in Poland that burning of fossil fuels is not a problem; and,
10 – A rollback of the EPA’s fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.
The importance of item #10 on my list is hard to overstate inasmuch as emissions from vehicles is one of the major sources of planet warming greenhouse gases.
At the time the EPA announced that it intended to freeze fuel efficiency standards at the 2020 levels, even the automobile manufacturers were surprised and objected. This signaled that some other special interest group had to be behind this move. The most logical group is, of course, the oil and gas industry, which stands to gain or lose fabulous sums of money because better fuel efficiency means less demand.
On 12/14/18, the New York Times ran a lengthy front page story about how Marathon Petroleum, the world’s largest refiner, the Koch Brothers and others in the industry ran a “stealth campaign” to achieve the rollback. It is a virtual playbook on how to subvert government. It is no wonder the public has such low opinion of lobbyists, politicians and government.
Trying to be optimistic, it is likely that democracy will survive the Trump Administration, although it will be painful. On the other hand, the environment may not. Even if these backward, regressive policies are reversed, we are losing precious time we don’t have to waste.