Trump’s EPA & Regulated becoming the Regulators

 

environmental word cloud

We all have many objections to what is happening in the Trump White-house and administration, but one area does not get enough attention in my opinion (Lenna Webb) and we must spread the word on this.

NPR’s FreshAir had a segment that is a must listen about how the administration now has “foxes guarding the chicken coop”.  Probably most appalling is Scott Pruitt and the EPA.  More about that in a minute, but first I invite you to listen to FreshAir broadcast.

 

Now let’s look at the disaster at the Environmental Protection Agency, which should now be called Corporate Protection Agency. “What Administrator Scott Pruitt calls his Back to Basics agenda would refocus the agency on narrow goals such as cleaning up toxic waste and providing safe drinking water — the kinds of issues that inspired the EPA’s creation in 1970 amid a public outcry about burning rivers and smog-filled skies. But it would abandon the Obama administration’s climate regulations, along with other efforts that Pruitt argues exceed the agency’s legal authority. Pruitt has also defended Trump’s proposal for a 31 percent budget cut at his agency in fiscal year 2018, which would force it to shed about a fifth of its workforce — saying EPA’s core functions would survive. “I believe we can fulfill the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget, with proper leadership and management,” he said at an appropriations hearing that had him fielding complaints from Republicans and Democrats alike” according to Politico article in May, 2017. Pruitt now finds himself on the receiving end of lawsuits filed against his agency as Democratic Attorney Generals take up his tactic while serving as AG in Oklahoma.

The 1972 Clean Water Act is under attack. There are among two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands across the United States that, as a result of pressure from the administration of President Donald J. Trump and allied Republicans in Congress, are currently at risk of losing federal protection. “The waters potentially at risk here include streams that don’t flow year-round, which make up about 59 percent of the stream miles in the continental U.S., and waters nearby,” wrote Jon Devine, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group based in New York City, in an email. These streams, Devine said, “contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans.”

On August 15th, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order to eliminate and streamline some permitting regulations and to speed construction of roads, bridges and pipelines, declaring that the moves would fix a “badly broken” infrastructure system in America and bring manufacturing jobs back to the country.  Sounds potentially good, but wait, a key element of the new executive order rolls back standards set by former President Barack Obama that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure.  It also puts in place what the White House called a “one federal decision policy” under which one lead federal agency works with others to complete environmental reviews and other permitting decisions for a given project. All decisions on federal permits will have to be made within 90 days, and agencies will have a two-year goal to process environmental reviews for major projects. Rolling back the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, established by Mr. Obama in an executive order in 2015, is one more example of the Trump administration to unravel the former president’s climate change agenda.

This all started in February when Trump signed legislation that quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December. Regulators finalized the stream protection rule in December, but they spent most of Obama’s tenure writing it. Environmentalists supported the Obama administration rule, saying it would protect waterways from pollution and preserve public health. They have criticized the GOP for repealing environmental rules in the name of supporting coal mining jobs, but doing little else to help displaced workers in mining areas. And now we find out that Trump administration officials have told the National Academy of Sciences to cease all work on a study of the public health risks for people living near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites in Appalachian.

Mountain top gettyimages-102944385_0

 

I could go on for many more pages, but if you are really interested in keeping up with the threats to our environment, I encourage you to go to Environmental Health News website.  You can subscribe to their “e-letter” updates as well.