Impact of the Trump Administration’s Environmental Policy
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A group of likely-frostbitten protesters in makeshift tents in North Dakota are wondering the same thing that the local business tycoon is: what does the Trump administration mean for environmental issues?
President-elect Donald Trump has made a variety of statements, many of which on Twitter,and often, tweets, regarding environmental problems. One of the most infamous of these statements is his tweet from November 6, 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Other, more recent tweets, reaffirm this belief. “Wow, 25 degrees below zero, record cold and snow spell. Global warming anyone?” he tweeted on February 15, 2015. Many are questioning what Trump really plans to do for the environment now that he has been elected president and is no longer a citizen solely working to advance his business.
According to Business Insider, Trump sees finding clean water as a top priority for his administration.
“We must make the investment in our fresh water infrastructure to ensure access to affordable fresh water solutions for everyone,” he said in an interview on ScienceDebate.
He takes moderate stances on other issues as well, such as keeping public lands in federal control instead of turning them over to private holders. In a statement made on ScienceDebate, according to Business Insider, he plans to “empower state and local governments to protect our wildlife and fisheries.”
An extensive amount of policies were established by Obama with the intention of protecting to protect the environment that Trump will now have to make decisions on. He has already declared that he will reverse the effects of the Paris Agreement, an agreement signed by 125 parties worldwide with the goal of decreasing carbon emissions. According to Business Insider, Trump said that the Paris Agreement “gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America.”
He also stated that he plans to unravel the Climate Action Plan, which is a plan implemented in 2013 that provides loans for energy companies to use while experimenting with more ecologically-friendly technology, works with companies to create fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks, strives to protect forests and other landscapes, and much more, according to the White House’s website. Trump feels that this plan attacks industries that provide jobs for the American people.
Trump also has made clear that he supports coal mining due to the jobs it brings to rural communities, regardless of the extensive environmental damage caused by it. He has also asserted that he supports pipeline construction and the nonrenewable resources those pipes carry.
Trump himself is not the only person who will be making contentious decisions regarding environmental action; his cabinet picks raise questions as well. Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson, who was the CEO of Exxon Mobile, has accepted climate change and sees it as a problem. Even though he has made this position clear, the fact that he works so closely with many of the nonrenewable resources contributing to the cause of global warming makes his position seem less than full-proof, especially since Trump has a myriad of other cabinet picks denying global warming.
So how does the rest of Trump’s cabinet feel about environmental issues? For starters, the pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, fought the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sought to lower carbon emissions from coal power plants, according to The Guardian. He has received donations from oil and gas industries to fund campaigns as well.
Ryan Zinke, the nominee for the Department of the Interior, supports the Keystone XL pipeline and said in 2014 that climate change is “not proven,” according to The Guardian. Department of Energy pick Rick Perry spoke of climate change in a 2011 presidential town hall, saying, “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so they will have dollars rolling into their projects,” according to Independent.
To top it all off, Attorney General pick Jeff Sessions said in 2015 that increased carbon dioxide was not a pollutant and is instead a “plant food. . . [that] doesn’t harm anybody, except that it might include temperature increases.”
All of this doesn’t add up to a very promising slate of policies for the state of the earth. If Trump comes through on his plans to provide clean water for everyone and to protect wildlife, he will please the likely-frostbitten protesters in makeshift tents in North Dakota. If he keeps coal protection high and lowers regulations put in place by the EPA, he will please the local business tycoons. In the end, however, he won’t be able to please everyone.