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This week, the Supreme Court decided important cases favoring the rights of LGBTQ individuals and the policy of allowing the “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age to remain in the U.S. undocumented. Both cases provide important legal principles that could be significant in a host of litigation over climate change and the rollback of environmental protections.
Why This Matters: The Trump administration has been ruthless and careless in its quest to blunt the impacts of the nation’s environmental laws and rollback related policies and regulations.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, appeared before Congress yesterday and when asked about all the rollbacks of environmental regulations by the agency recently, he defended his leadership saying “All our rules make things better.”
Why This Matters: It is patently clear that EPA is making things better for corporate polluters, not ordinary citizens who are negatively impacted by them.
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.”
Andrew Wheeler, the Acting EPA Administrator, appeared before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee yesterday for his confirmation hearing and was greeted by protesters and angry questioning by the Committee’s Democratic members. The protesters began shouting “Shutdown Wheeler” just as he began to read his opening statement, and were quickly removed, as he raised his eyebrows in disdain (see video above.) Drawing fire from the Democrats on the Committee, Wheeler said that climate change is a “global issue” but “not the greatest crisis,” and did not even mention climate change in his opening statement.
Toxic carbon dioxide emissions (that are an important contributor to global warming) increased by 3.4% in 2018 after three years of declines, according to a new report based on government statistics released today, demonstrating that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction on cleaning up air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Why This Matters: The Washington Post reported that the study’s authors concluded that we are now experiencing the impacts of the Trump Administration’s regulatory rollbacks of the clean power plan, the clean car rule, and dozens of other rules designed to protect health and reduce air emissions that cause global warming. And recall that these impacts are not harmless — according to a study by Harvard scientists published last summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Trump administration‘s changes to air pollution policies will result in an extra 80,000 deaths per decade. And we no longer are leading the world on battling climate change, despite the best efforts of states, cities, corporations and individuals. This should give greater impetus to the Green New Deal proposals likely to emerge from the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives.
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