Trump V. Environment

With the Trump administration in office, it seems like there is a constant battle to save our environment. President Donald Trump’s actions make it extremely difficult  to keep a stable and healthy environment for us to live in. From an outsider’s point of view, it might be difficult to see how he deliberately destroys the environment; however, with a bigger looking glass, the initiatives taken by both him and his administration become very clear. Since the very beginning of his administration, extraordinarily public and transparent decisions have been made to stall progressive decisions towards fighting climate change. In an on-going list that National Geographic has made, they have detailed events that stretch towards the beginning of President Donald Trump’s presidency; moreover, on January 25. 2017 the “Trump administration had removed all references to climate change from the White House’s website” (National Geographic, 2020). The extensive list covers every decision that President Donald Trump and his administration have made to fight against climate change and it’s activists. 

  1. Trump Administration Removes Remarks Regarding Climate Change on the White House Website 

From the very beginning of Trump’s presidency, combating the changing climate clearly wasn’t on his agenda. Since his inauguration, there seemed to be no “ reference to combating climate change”, which contrasted that of the previous POTUS Barack Obama as this was a “topic that had been featured prominently on the White House site” (The Washington Post, 2017). Replacing this was an effort to “eliminate ‘harmful and unnecessary policies’ such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule”. (The Washington Post, 2017).  In place of this would be Trump’s “The American First Energy Plan”. The entire plan states how President Trump will enhance “ domestic oil and gas production”, along with  “reviving America’s coal industry”. With this, the Plan writes about the loosening “restrictions on polluting waterways with coal mining waste”. (Atlantic Council, 2017).

  1. Lifting Bans Placed on Lead Ammunition 

A common trend within the Trump Administration is rolling-back  “Obama-era” policies. In March of 2017 U.S Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke repeal a ban on the usage of “lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on federal lands and waters’ ‘ (Reuters, 2017). Although this is common practice within the hunting community, the effects of using ammunition that contain ingredients such as lead can lead to devastating health consequences. Not including the effects that lead has on humans, there have been monitored effects of using lead in fishing waterways. In a study done in 14 countries, it was proven that almost 10,000 swans have “died from poisoning caused by lead that originated from ingestion of fishing weights, shotgun pellets (shot)” (USGS). The study was conducted in 1994 by Lawrence.J. Blus. The initial ban, which was placed on January 19 2017 was put in place to protect the natural wildlife from lead poison. Another action placed by Secretary Zinke was to “ identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded” (Reuters, 2017), and by doing so, it places more animals at risk of succumbing to lead poisoning. 

  1. REDUCING EPA BUDGET

In President Trump’s Budget Blueprint for the year 2018, he applied great emphasis on the “ rebuilding of our Nation’s military without adding to our Federal deficit” (White House, 2018); however, at the cost of adding to the Federal deficit, signifying  that cuts would have to be made to other aspects of America’s budgets. Consequential, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is meant to protect both the environment in human health got a cut or a “savings of $2.6 billion, or 31 percent, from the 2017 annualized CR level” (White House, 2018). The reasoning behind this saving is the defunding for the Clean Power Plan that was put in place to limit carbon emissions. Carbon emissions are by far the “largest source of the pollution in the country that’s driving dangerous climate change” (NRDC, 2017). This also defunds regional efforts for climate preservation such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The new budgets also cut 50 EPA programs. However, the defense budget, which is a major priority for the Trump Administration, enjoyed a $52 billions increase to $639 billion. 

  1. LOOSENING RESTRICTIONS ON TOXIC AIR POLLUTANTS 

In January of 2018, the EPA redefined what is classified as a “major source” and “open source” of hazardous air pollutants (HAP). The Clinton Administration put in place a “once in, always in” policy where a major source pollutant would remain in major source restriction even if the HAP drops to open source levels. However, with the new regulations created by the Trump administration, if a major source pollutant drops to an open-source level then it would no longer be restricted to major source restrictions. This, as a result, defeats the purpose of the Clinton Administration’s efforts to reduce HAP’s in the environment. National Geographic said this” backsliding” is what the OIAI police sought to stop. 

  1. REDUCING THE PROTECTION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES

In April of 2018, the Department of the Interior had a proposition to remove a Section 4D rule. This policy allowed for many threatened species to receive the same protections as endangered species. Some of these rights include protections from poaching, to protections that prevent people from coming too close to a given animal in the wild. The removal of this policy is concerning, predominantly because it no longer grants protection to animals in need. Even though an animal doesn’t need complete and full convergence from the ESA, shouldn’t qualify them for complete removal from danger, Threatened animals are still in need of help and safety. In the fall of the same year, there was a final action decision for the complete removal of the Section 4D rule

There are a countless number of offenses that President Trump made against the environment. To read more about, check out National Geographic’s Running List and an updated list from the New York Times of environmental rules that are being reversed by the Trump administration.

Sources:

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201810&RIN=1018-BC97

Blus, L. J. (2003, August 11). A review of lead poisoning in swans. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0742841394000212?via=ihub

Blus, L. J. (1994, January 01). A review of lead poisoning in swans. Retrieved from https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/1015672

Popovich, N., Albeck-ripka, L., & Pierre-louis, K. (2019, June 02). The Trump Administration Is Reversing 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/climate/trump-environment-rollbacks.html

References to climate change disappear from White House website. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/2017/live-updates/politics/live-coverage-of-trumps-inauguration/references-to-climate-change-disappear-from-white-house-website/

September 29, 2. (2019, May 29). What Is the Clean Power Plan? Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-clean-power-plan-works-and-why-it-matters

Sharrett, P. B. (2019, May 03). A running list of how President Trump is changing environmental policy. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/03/how-trump-is-changing-science-environment/

Volcovici, V. (2017, March 02). New Interior head lifts lead ammunition ban in nod to hunters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-interior-zinke-idUSKBN16930Z

Vakhshour, S.( 2017). The America First Energy Plan. Atlantic Council Global Energy Center,1-12. Retrieved from

ttps://svbweb.s3.amazonaws.com/media/new_release/The_America_First_Energy_Plan_web_0817.pdf

House, W. (2018). America First: A budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

Wehrum, W. L. (2018). Reclassification of Major Source as Area Source Under Section 112 of the Clear Air Act. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-01/documents/reclassification_of_major_sources_as_area_sources_under_section_112_of_the_clean_air_act.pdf

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