(The source for this post is this May 6, 2020, NY Times article: The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the link to the full story.)
Petulance and Pandering as Government Policy
Faithful to his campaign promises President Donald J. Trump’s team of trolls at the Environmental Protection Agency has made significant advances in their mission of dismounting, diluting and destroying previous administrations’ measures for preserving the environment. The NY Times article makes this evident in a clearly-presented barrage of data their team of investigative reporters collected from the Harvard and Columbia law schools and other sources.
A summary reading of the 4,000-word article indicates that the driving criteria behind Trump’s monumental environmental wrecking job respond to two factors:
- A childish revenge motive to dismount and discredit programs initiated during the Barak Obama presidency.
President Trump cowers under a dark cloud of his own suspicion that President Obama is the better man. So Trump’s response is to bury the Obama legacy at any cost. And the cost, in terms of the degradation of the American environment and the lives of the American people, is dear.
- A determination to benefit big business interests regardless of the price to the interests of American citizens.
The obvious big winners here are the fossile fuels companies, ironically at a time when the price of a barrel of oil is below zero–they have to pay to stockpile it–and renewable energies are looking like increasingly viable alternatives to coal and oil. One wonders what possible justification there can be for this expensive insistence on fattening a moribund horse.
Who is writing the script for this grotesque clown show, anyway? It’s certainly not President Trump. He has proven to us that he is incapable of reading a script, let alone writing one. And this is not just any old script. It forms part of the master plan to alter the DNA of the erstwhile “greatest country in the world.” Who’s calling the shots? We don’t know, and we won’t know until it’s too late. The best we can do now is to make our best educated guesses and get to work on a provisional opposition strategy. The NY Times, taking advantage of research done by the law schools of Harvard and Columbia and others, has just advanced a significant first step. They have itemized, quantified and analyzed the measures the Trump administration has taken to dismount and destroy key US government environmental rules.
They are doing this to the detriment of American taxpayers, citizens of other countries around the world and the planet, itself. They’re murdering mother nature: her bees, birds, big cats, elephants, rhinos, orangutans, amphibians, lynx, hawks and eagles, dolphins and whales, coral, the Amazon, Alaska… Soon everything will be extinct–including humankind–except the rats and scorpions. They’re survivors, more adaptable, intelligent and opportunistic than a hedge fund manager, though he has also been able to survive in the sewers of Wall Street.
The Times Article Breaks the Trump Environmental Wrecking Plan Down into Seven Categories
All of them reflect grave danger and the Trumpian know-nothing determination to make matters worse on all fronts. The Trumpeteers’ actions respond more to an affirmation of arbitrary authority than to environmental issues. The message is that they’re doing it because they can and in order to create incremental precedents for ever-more-egregious future abuses. This is just one face of a monster designed to convert the United States into the definitive dystopia for everyone except the rich, Washington’s very own Godzilla.
Here They Are, by the Numbers
1/ Air Pollution and Emissions
According to the Times reporters it’s the Environmental Protection Agency which has spearheaded the repeal of Obama-era emissions rules for power plants and vehicles; weakened protections for the nation’s wetlands; and withdrawn rules for restricting mercury emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, the Interior Department has opened up more land for oil and gas leasing by cutting back protected areas and limiting wildlife protections.
Then the spokesclown for the E.P.A permits herself the luxury of declaring:
“Over the past three years, we have fulfilled President Trump’s promises to provide certainty for states, tribes, and local governments,” adding that the agency was “delivering on President Trump’s commitment to return the agency to its core mission: providing cleaner air, water and land to the American people.”
The NY Times concludes their section on Air Pollution and Emissions:
“All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality each year, according to energy and legal analysts.”
2/ Drilling and extraction
The tenor of Trumpish initiatives to permit mining companies to bespoil more and bigger swaths of land runs to shrinking the land around national monuments, lifting the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, rescinding water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands, approving construction of the Dakota Access pipeline less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and a lot of other similarly outlandish environmental abuses in benefit of miners and drillers.
3/ Infrastructure and planning
The Trumpeteers have revoked Obama-era flood standards for federal infrastructure projects, along with all other environmental protections dubbed “Obama era,” as well as loosing rejuvenated oil and gas monsters across the country, along with eight more similar cases.
Trump’s environmental team has watered down the Endangered Species Act, restored the right to use lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands, overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges, proposed revising limits on the number of endangered marine mammals that can be unintentionally killed or injured with sword-fishing nets on the West Coast. Debilitated rules have de-protected everything from tuna fish and sea turtles to migratory birds and grizzley bears.
5/ Toxic substances and safety
Virtually all “Obama-era” rules regarding toxic substances have gone out the window, leaving citizens at the mercy of toxic chemicals in everything from pesticides and cosmetics to dry-cleaning solvents. Safety rules for the use of hazardous chemicals in workplaces have been relaxed, including a program to reduce risks of workers developing the lung disease silicosis.
6/ Water pollution
The Trump environmental team’s efforts to better manage America’s water resources for big business include the usual nullifying of Obama-era initiatives such as pollution protections for tributaries and wetlands, revoking a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams, and withdrawing a proposed rule requiring groundwater protections for uranium mines, as well as proposing the opening of 1,500 acres outside the Grand Canyon to nuclear production. Not carried out yet but next on the agenda are a series of measures to facilitate more dumping of waste from power plants into rivers and streams.
Out the Obama-era window go measures to increase the number of energy-efficient light bulbs; to prohibit the use of sand from protected ecosystems for coastal replenishment projects; and to reverse restrictions on the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks, a measure desgined to cut down on litter. And there’s a lot more to come.
Who Wins, Who Pays?
Who is responsible for deciding which environmental protection measures should be thrown out? Industry advisors, perhaps? Who suffers the consequences and pays the bills? The usual suspects.
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