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Cartoon: Patrick Chappatte, International New York Times via Mercury News
According to the White House, President Trump plans to give a Rose Garden address today to “recognize his administration’s environmental leadership and America’s role in leading the world.” The White House apparently reached out to its supporters last Wednesday, and according to The Guardian, in an off-the-record conference requested that the supporters “spread the message that the U.S. under Trump continues to be an environmental leader.” The U.S. currently ranks 27th in the world for its environmental performance — behind most other western industrialized nations.
Why This Matters: The Trump Administration has taken an aggressively anti-conservation posture since its first days in office. The President filled his cabinet with leaders from industry who have systematically repealed and rolled back more than 50 years of conservation progress — with more than 80 rules protecting the public’s health and the environment rolled back, protections on public lands and waters and endangered species lifted, and enforcement of environmental laws at an all-time low. It has never been a better time to be a fossil fuel industry or polluter in the last fifty years. Any successes the President “claims” later today are the result of the work of environmental laws and standards that his administration openly disregards. He may try to “have it both ways,” but it is simply not true that the U.S. has crystal clean air and water today, nor can he say that his Administration has contributed to U.S. environmental successes.
The Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Record
Let’s review what this Administration has done and un-done on conservation and the environment.
Clean Air and Water Regulations – Rolled back 80 environmental rules, including the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan” to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants, the “Clean Car Rule” to increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollution from autos and trucks, the “Waters of the United States” Rule that defined what water bodies were subject to the Clean Water Act.
The Biden administration released its “skinny” post-election year budget plan for government spending next year and it included large increases for battling climate change and reversing environmental injustice, particularly as compared to the Trump administration’s drastic proposed cuts in these areas.
Why This Matters: These are big increases over the Trump administration’s proposals — for NOAA it would mean 50% more. But Congress never enacted those truly skinny budgets — they actually modestly increased or held most environmental spending steady.
As the Biden administration readies to enact an infrastructure plan, Congressional Republicans continue to lament that water pipes, EV chargers, and expanded railways “don’t count” as infrastructure. Yet, as Biden cabinet members have been saying: we need to expand our definition of infrastructure beyond roads and bridges to prepare our country for the future. As […]
Leading up to Earth Day and President Biden’s first Climate Summit on April 22, Gallup is releasing a series of environmental polls, and the latest has found that the opinion gap on climate change between Democrats and Republicans is only growing wider.
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