Trump's War on the Environment: How terrible can one administration be? let us count the ways.

AuthorMoffitt, Lena
PositionPresident Donald Trump's destructive environment policy - Essay

A list compiled by National Geographic ran to more than 21,000 words, more than ten times the length of this article--and that was only through May 2019. A group of former Environmental Protection Agency staffers came up with another list of what would have to be done to reset the EPA after the Trump Administration. It ran to nearly two hundred pages.

The administration has abandoned the Paris Agreement, the landmark international treaty to limit climate catastrophe to manageable levels. It slashed the size of national monuments like Bears Ears in Utah, handed over our public lands to fossil-fuel interests, and built a wall across fragile desert ecosystems. It rolled back the fuel-economy standards for cars that comprised the nation's most influential and ambitious policy to tackle climate change. It has refused to ban pesticides that harm children's brains, and loosened regulations on toxins that increase our risk of cancer, asthma, and even premature death.

While the rollbacks are numerous, the Trump Administration's playbook is simple: Give polluting industries what they want. Ignore what people need and take steps to cut them out of the process. Normalize corruption and attacks on the institutions meant to counterbalance the administration's power. And never take any action that reflects the reality of climate change.

The Trump Administration has often played Santa Claus for extractive industries, checking off nearly every item on their wish lists, regardless of the costs to public health and the environment.

Consider the wish list submitted by coal baron Robert Murray, a Trump donor who asked the administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, end the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, and cut the EPA's staff by at least half. Within its first year, the Trump Administration made progress on nearly all of these items, prompting an article that ran in The New York Times under the headline, "How a Coal Baron's Wish List Became President Trumps To-Do List."

The EPA's own analysis estimated that the repeal of the Clean Power Plan alone could cause up to 1,400 premature deaths every year by 2030.

Trump's Interior Department took a similarly generous view toward the fifty-three rollbacks requested or supported by corporations and industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute. The Center for Western Priorities found that, by 2019, Trump's Interior Department had made thirty-six of those wishes come true, and were plugging away at the rest.

Among these rollbacks were the largest-ever removal of federal protections for public lands: On a...

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