5 Chilling Ways Trump Has Declared War on the EPA
By Jeremy Symons
While running for president, Donald Trump threatened to virtually eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leaving only "little tidbits."
Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA administrator, has been tasked with the job of tearing down the agency from within. This is the man who sued the EPA 14 times—with strong financial backing from companies seeking to weaken clean air and clean water standards—when serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General.
The president has used deception to reassure the general public that critical environmental laws will continue to protect public health and he is now taking our country in a dangerous direction.
Here are five ways he and Pruitt will go about weakening the agency responsible for keeping our air clean, drinking water safe and toxic chemicals from harming our families:
1. Gut the EPA's Budget
Deep budget cuts at the EPA are being proposed under the guise of fixing budget issues.
In reality, the agency accounts for a mere two-tenths of one percent of federal spending. Any claim that major budget issues can be dealt with on the back of such a small sliver of the budget is false.
Instead, the proposed budget cuts are a clear signal to a narrow group of special interests and supporters who share Trump's disdain for the EPA because environmental regulations don't serve their agenda.
2. Relax Enforcement Against Illegal Pollution
Leaked budget documents show that Trump has already directed the EPA to curtail pollution-monitoring and get states "to assume more active enforcement roles." But this isn't about states' rights; it's merely a convenient cover for gutting federal enforcement responsibility without any assurance that states will pick up the slack.
In fact, Pruitt took Oklahoma in the opposite direction as attorney general by shutting down the state's environmental enforcement unit.
Meanwhile, delegating enforcement to states puts everyone at the mercy of neighboring states' enforcement. Almost every state has communities that are downwind or downstream from polluters across state boundaries.
3. Roll Back Pollution Standards
"The future ain't what it used to be at the EPA," Pruitt explained in a fiery speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington shortly after his contentious and narrow confirmation by the Senate. He went on to pledge he would "roll back the regulatory state."
President Trump has already issued an executive order seeking to weaken Clean Water Act protections for American rivers and streams. With Pruitt now at his side, he is expected to next take aim at rolling back standards that reduce toxic emissions from cars and power plants.
Trump says he is slashing federal clean air and water standards to ease what he calls "job-crushing regulations." Of course, increasing pollution does not grow the economy.
Trump Orders EPA to Dismantle Clean Water Rule https://t.co/tE9jGaekp1 @Earthjustice @earthisland— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1488405627.0
4. Use Misinformation to Justify Political Agenda
During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt ran away from his anti-environmental record and assured senators that he was "concerned" about pollution contributing to climate change, that mercury "should be regulated" and that ground-level ozone is "a dangerous pollutant."
Political interference in science will come in many forms, but the most dangerous may be an effort to permanently meddle with the EPA's scientific capacity under the guise of "reforming" the scientific process. Such meddling is a top Trump transition goal, according to Myron Ebell, the head of Trump's EPA transition team.
Ebell makes no bones about it: The objective, he's said, is to permanently cripple the agency's capacity to bounce back under future presidents.
5. Surrender to Allow "Sue and Pollute" Lawsuits
We expect Pruitt and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take up a new practice of surrendering to "sue and pollute" lawsuits in court. That would abandon the legal defense of EPA rules against suits brought by some polluters who would rather fight in court than invest in cleaner technology.
Pruitt may even take the unprecedented step to refuse to recuse himself from overseeing decisions about lawsuits that he himself brought against the EPA as Oklahoma's attorney general—conveniently switching sides from plaintiff to defendant.
The question now is how Pruitt and Trump will contend with growing opposition as they walk the tightrope between broad public support for the EPA's mission while serving the narrow interests of those who want to permanently weaken the agency.
If we remain vigilant and demand accountability from our elected officials, we can make every step they take along that tightrope more strenuous than the last.
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.
- Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050 - EcoWatch ›
- Net Zero U.S. by 2050? House Dems Unveil Sweeping Climate ... ›
- Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, 'Clean Coal ... ›
By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.