During the Obama administration, the EPA proposed several laws that would help move the country towards conserving endangered areas and reducing carbon emission. The major piece of legislation the EPA drafted was called the Clean Power Plan in August 2015. While flexible, the plan takes achievable action on mitigating climate change by pushing states to use more alternative energy sources. The Clean Power Plan would have helped keep the US in line with the Paris Accords and relay to the world that the US was doing its part to curb climate change.
On February 9th, 2016 Trump postponed the progression on this plan, putting it under judicial review, ultimately stopping it from going into action. However, the EPA has stated is will support states who wish to cut carbon pollution by providing them with tools and support to work on it. As of January 11th, 2017, the EPA ignored all petitions to resume action on the plan and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, thus reverting plans on emissions back to their previous standards. This prevented us from being able to cut emissions by 32 percent by 2030, as compared to 2005.
Scott Priutt, the head of the EPA, was one of the driving forces behind this, claiming that rejecting the plan would save states a total of 33 billion dollars while suppressing the “excess legal authority” the Obama administration would have used in fully implementing this plan. Of course, that 33 billion dollar figure did not include the savings from increase in general human health from areas with mining, drilling, fracking, etc. On of Pruitt’s contentions with the plan included that the benefits of slowing climate change in other countries and reducing air pollutants other than carbon dioxide, were exaggerated. So as of October 10th, 2017 a plan to repeal the clean power plan is in motion, because the head of the environmental protection agency, at the behest of the president, does not want to protect the environment.
It seems that the Trump administration decided to overturn or move to overturn any law concerning environmental protection simply to stop Obama-era legislation. This goes back to the point I made in my previous post that public officials may say they are committed to the environment, but really they’re after a political game.
You might think that I’m being extreme with the example I chose, as climate change is a hotly contested issue now due to our administration’s stance on it. However, I don’t believe plastic pollution is too debated. And yet the Trump administration overturned legislation that discouraged the sale of plastic water bottles in National Parks, and installed reusable water bottle fillers instead. Why? Big Water: Deer Park, Fiji, Evian, etc. That’s right, you probably didn’t know of or think Big Water is a thing, but lobbyists pushing republicans hard stepped in to stop the bill reducing plastic from NATIONAL PARKS! The industry completely side-stepped the problem by claiming the real issue was the parks selling unhealthy drinks like soda and juice, instead of water, to hydrate visitors.
It’s beyond clear that politics is polar enough that repealing good, simple environmental regulations, is okay because they were passed by the previous administration of the opposite parties, whose laws are always horrible. To our public officials, the environment is not a political pawn, it’s our home and deserves its own rights and respect.
If you want to see more policies the Trump administration revoked, check out this article.