Articles Tagged with Trump

trump-2546104_1920-300x211Since taking over, the Trump Administration has wreaked havoc on the environment, destroying environmental protections left and right. Trump has targeted rules that he thinks are burdensome to big business, even though environmental protections are generally good for the economy. Closing his eyes to this fact, Trump issued the “Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” This Order directs the heads of agencies, like the EPA, to review all existing regulations “that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources.”

Trump’s Executive Order has certainly been efficient at endangering the earth. As of June 2019, the Trump Administration has rolled back or is in the process of rolling back over 80 environmental rules and regulations. These rollbacks and proposed rollbacks reach every aspect of the environment, from emissions to endangered species. Rollbacks currently in effect include:

  • Lowering fines for automakers who do not meet average fuel efficiency standards

It started with a letter to Congress.

Seven past EPA chiefs, appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, wrote to Congress in April. They were concerned aboutUS-EPA-1-300x300 the direction of the current EPA and offered to help Congress use its oversight to put a halt to Trump’s misguided deregulatory push and the dismissal of science in favor of politics at the agency.

The seven EPA leaders signing the letter had served under Obama, Reagan, and both Bushes, so the current administration could not blame the letter on partisan politics.

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgAccording to a recent Washington Post article, the EPA has lost a tenth of its criminal investigators since Trump has been in office.

The reason this is good news to polluters is that the special agents in the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division are responsible for investigating the most serious criminal violations of the nation’s anti-pollution laws–violations which can result in prison time for those convicted.

The result is: less investigators, less referrals to the Justice Department for prosecution. In 2017, only 206 criminal cases were referred to the Justice Department compared to 228 during the previous 12 month period under President Obama. Not surprisingly, the number of referrals in 2018 is on pace to drop even lower.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the latest in a parade of dreadful environmental nominees is back.

In December, the Senate sent the nomination of Kathleen-Hartnett White–for Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality–back to the White House for reconsideration, believing that Trump would submit someone else. Instead, Trump–in an obnoxious and lazy move–has booted her name right back to the Senate. Now it is up to the senators to put aside party politics and reject this disastrous nominee permanently.

Hartnett-White was an unqualified nominee from the start. A controversial Texas environmental regulator who has called carbon dioxide “the gas of life”, and denied that human activity is causing climate change, Hartnett-White’s initial confirmation hearing was a disaster. 1 She struggled to answer even basic scientific questions, prompting one senator to call her testimony “some of the most embarrassing” he’d ever seen, and later stating that she was unqualified and “didn’t understand high-school level scientific principles.” 2

climate-change-2254711_1920.jpgThe world is heading for a potential climate catastrophe and a recently released report has unmasked the biggest corporations responsible. The report entitled “Carbon Majors: Accounting for Carbon and Methane Emissions 1854-2010”, by researcher Richard Heede, “offers the most complete picture to date of which institutions extracted the fossil fuels that have been the root cause of global warming since the Industrial Revolution.”

In other words, this report lists which corporations are responsible for the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions that are fueling climate change. It’s obvious that energy corporations would be on this list. What is surprising is how few corporations can be responsible for so much. A full 63% of carbon dioxide emissions since the 1850s can be traced back to only 90 of the largest fossil fuel and cement producers in the world. Predictably, the United States accounts for a large share of these corporate giants. Among the nefarious 90 are the 21 American corporations listed below:

Chevron Texaco

Over these last few days since President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, he and his aides-most prominently, EPA chief Scott Pruitt-have been unwilling to answer a simple question: “Does the President think that climate change is a hoax?”

However, for as important as this question is, it is unnecessary. Why? Because we already know the answer. And the answer is that Trump and Pruitt do not believe in global warming. In fact, it’s even worse than that. These guys do not believe in science. They do not accept that science has any role to play in environmental decision-making.

We know this because their contempt for science has been at the root of every decision they have made: from pulling out of the Paris deal; to insisting that the EPA’s budget be slashed by a third; to firing EPA scientists and pulling scientific information off the EPA’s website; to wanting to cut almost half the resources currently being used to clean up the country’s most dangerously contaminated (“Superfund”) sites; to putting back on the market a pesticide already proven (by EPA scientists, no less) to damage children’s brains.

Thumbnail image for coal-1626401_1920.jpgYour average second grader knows that 1,300 is not the same as 50,000…..and that 400 is not the same as 7,000.

But the man who heads the US EPA evidently does not know this.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt was all over the airwaves the last few days, defending the United States’ backing out of the Paris climate change accord by saying that the decision was necessary to support coal industry job creation. As statistical evidence to support this, Pruitt claimed:

Thumbnail image for donald-2075124_1920.pngPresident Trump’s decision to abandon America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Change Accord is just the latest horrible environmental decision that he has made. Here are just some of the others:

  • Trump named as head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, a lackey for the petroleum industry who has spent his legal career arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have the power to protect the environment. To witness Pruitt in action is to watch an idiot–who was put in place by Trump, not just because he is an idiot, but because he is the oil industry’s idiot–who will make you believe that he begins each day wondering, “What can I do for oil companies today?”
  • Trump and Pruitt have both publicly toyed with the idea of eliminating the EPA altogether, and recently proposed to cut its budget by 31%–greater than that for any other federal agency.
  • They want to cut by almost 50% the already grossly inadequate funds dedicated to cleaning up the country’s most contaminated and dangerous sites (“Superfund” sites)
  • They cynically defend these cuts by promising that the states’ environmental agencies will “pick up the slack” and “are in a better position to do the work anyway”, even though they know this is a lie. Most of the states do not have the money or competence to do the things that the EPA does, and many of them are on record saying so.
  • They have pulled down from the EPA’s website truthful scientific information that the petroleum companies did not want there.
  • They have withdrawn EPA’s previous ban of a pesticide (“chlorpyrifos”), even though years of scientific study proved that it threatens young children’s developing brains.
  • They fired EPA scientists whose job it was to keep the agency focused on its mission of protecting the public’s health.

These decisions reveal a level of ignorance and cruelty that was unthinkable until Trump came along. Environmental protection is a moral issue, above all else. Because, while in a general sense all of us are the victims of pollution, and of the wars over a lack of water and food that rampaging climate change is already provoking, the truth is that those most acutely threatened are the poor, the politically powerless, and, especially, their children. They are the ones who get sick and die, or have shortened life spans, or must live (if they are so lucky to live at all) with starvation, debilitating cancers and chronic respiratory disease…..because decisions such as Trump’s announce that these human beings are not deserving of the same standard of environmental protection as everyone else.

Trump’s decisions are immoral. Because they are made by our elected leader–and because the rest of the world understandably believes that he speaks for Americans–these decisions declare that, as a country, America is abandoning those who suffer most from pollution, and are least able to defend themselves against it.

When Pope Francis met with President Trump at the Vatican this past week, Francis gave him a copy of his 2015 Encyclical, which passionately argued that the environment is God’s gift to mankind, to benefit all mankind, and therefore that the powerful must not exploit it for their selfish purposes.

Crafty guy, that Pope.

He no doubt is well aware that the President is the agent of the worst environmental exploiters and despoilers that the world has ever known-oil companies-and accordingly has his administration in overdrive to crush the environmental protections that have saved lives and health, especially those of poor minorities and children.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for donald-2075124_1920.pngThis blog is dedicated primarily to environmental issues, and so over the last four months I have blogged with alarm and sadness and sometimes even anger as our new President has done everything within his power to dismantle the EPA–which is the primary federal agency for the protection of public health in this country. Families that I have represented, as well as countless hundreds of thousands of others, are alive and in good health today because the EPA takes seriously its job to warn us as to how dangerous certain industrial chemicals really are; notifies neighborhoods when those chemicals have invaded their air or drinking water; and forces polluters to clean them up.

Trump has also claimed global warming to be a “hoax”, abandoning our role as natural leaders on this important issue, and suddenly consigning the US to the status of a third world back-bencher on the issue perhaps most threatening to the future of mankind. He has appointed to head the EPA a dedicated stooge for the world’s most aggressive polluters (Scott Pruitt), who has joined Trump in discrediting and even firing scientists working for the federal government who have devoted their professional lives to making us all safer.

There has been an almost casual cruelty to Trump’s having done all of this, and so quickly, without even a glancing consideration afforded the millions of Americans–children, first among them–whose health and futures are now endangered because of these blindingly ill-advised actions.

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