Say what you’d like about Donald Trump – he’s stuck a hard line to his campaign promises. Over the weekend, the newly appointed president started to lay the foundation for an all-out assault on the environment. Workers at federal offices were showing up to the job in tears since the inauguration, as Trump begins disemboweling the EPA and taking on Obama-era accords on climate change.
The incoming administration has implemented measures since Friday which should spread anxiety across the nation. Contracts and grants for the EPA have been canceled. Transition communications director Doug Erickson was quoted in an NPR interview saying he’d strive to ensure the agency reflected the voice of a new political executive.
Only a day ago, the Internet was set abuzz as rumors spread of Trump’s intentions. Long a very outspoken critic of the EPA and its stance on climate change, the president and his advisers planned to take down the Environmental Protection Agency’s web-page on global warming. Though the order was quickly rescinded, it gives a glance at what antics might be expected through 2020.
The Wednesday news was largely dominated by coverage of a proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. Coral Davenport of the New York Times wrote an article speculating the lengths the lengths the commander-in-chief could go to wage war on nature north of the Rio Grande. Her piece described hypothetical situations as well as ongoing actions. Donald Trump has already gone on record to say he’d pave the way for the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Davenport also emphasized how much Big Coal has to gain from policies which would allow their machines more access to vulnerable sites Obama had made prohibited.
The President was clearly not issuing empty threats when he promised to gut the EPA during his tenure as Candidate Trump. He has already nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the agency. Pruitt seems ill-suited for the position, considering that he was spearheading a half-dozen lawsuits against the organization he’s been chosen to lead. Some of his notable stances are climate change denial and opposition to a cleanup of the polluted Chesapeake Bay.
Take Trump’s pick of Pruitt as head of the EPA and billionaire oil chief Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and there should be little doubt that the extraction of nature’s resources has become a bigger priority than their preservation.
Grist, an online media humor hub, was poking fun at the top Republican’s oddball fascination with the EPA before Hillary Clinton had even clinched the Democratic primary. They wondered how a man could have mainstream appeal when he opposed an agency which studies toxic chemicals and placed the groundwork for the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. Conservatives, they said, might not like the regulations the EPA places on businesses, but surely they don’t want factories turning healthy lungs black.
Any American who doesn’t want a return to the smoke-filled skies of the Industrial Age should wonder why we’re trying so hard to ruin the bounties of our nation for ourselves and future generations. Scientists and past presidents have all labored to keep us safe from the consequences of sabotaging the same Earth which sustains us.
Tossing out the EPA and reversing old acts might toss a dash of extra cash into the economy but at the expense of creating problems we’ve already solved.