THE DISMANTLING OF PROGRESS IN TRUMPLAND
THE BIG LIE: HOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS REALLY “MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”
While Trump’s Russian connections have dominated the news since his inauguration and we have been treated to White House chaos on a daily basis as the singular characteristic of the Trump Administration, even without a full complement of Presidential appointees to fill the bureaucracy, the Trumpers have been very busy working to “Make America Great Again” or as I would phrase it, destroying decades of hard fought progress in the country. There is a popular theme at large, that all the Trump chaos and bumbling is only a distraction hiding what’s really going on. And I do not mean an underground coup to place America under the domination of Putin and Russia (not a die hard impossibility) and I do think that the Russian connections business is far and away the most important “issue” we face as a nation.
But while the media puts all of its reporting focus on Trump’s tweets (and I don’t blame them for this since it’s with Trump’s tweets that we get a clear picture of the President's "mind") there’s a hell of a lot going on that the media is not covering that is important as well. Think that coal extraction companies should not be allowed to poison our rivers, lakes and streams by dumping their wastes into our waterways? So did the Obama Administration but not the Trump Administration since they “rescinded” this rule. Here’s a look at what the Trump Administration has “accomplished” for the Environment thus far in its campaign to “Make America Great Again!”
1. Trump fast-tracks pipeline permits at the expense of environmental review
2. Signed away safeguards that protected streams from coal-mining waste earlier this month, and today he signed an executive order that’s being called a “Dirty Water Rule,”
3. As part of the Trump administration’s public lands giveaway, the U.S. Department of the Interior has abruptly stopped enforcing a rule that seeks to close a loophole that the fossil fuel industry has been exploiting at taxpayers’ expense. Royalties must be paid for resources taken from federal lands, but coal companies, for example, have been selling coal to their own subsidiaries at artificially low prices in order to shrink the amount of royalty owed. By some estimates, coal companies have shortchanged American taxpayers $30 billion over three decades in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin alone.
4. The Trump administration’s budget blueprint includes a massive 24 percent cut to funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—a decrease of nearly $2 billion from the agency’s current budget of about $8.1 billion. This would gut the EPA's spending to levels not seen since the early 1990’s and cut staffing by up to 3,000 positions
5. The president gave a Valentine’s Day gift to the fossil fuel industry by signing a law that repeals a federal regulation aimed at reducing corruption.
6. Following President Trump’s statements urging the project to go forward, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given the go-ahead to the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline.
7. The Trump administration has removed climate information from the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The missing info includes climate plans created during the Obama administration, tribal assistance programs, and references to international cooperation to combat this global threat,
8. In the wake of the White House’s freeze of all regulatory processes last week, the EPA has rescinded its Mercury Effluent Rule, which was on its way to protecting the public from more than five tons of discharges of this neurotoxin each year.
9. After temporarily banning the U.S. Department of the Interior from tweeting during the inauguration, the Trump administration has moved to muzzle federal officials. A memo sent to several agencies—the Environmental Protection Agency; Departments of Health & Human Services, Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior; the National Institutes of Health—instructs all staff to halt press releases, social media, blogs, and web content, among other forms of external communication.
10. Trump assures automakers that fast permits and fewer regulations are down the road
11. President Trump announced that he will formally withdraw the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries.
12. Trump administration freezes all pending regulations, including at least 30 from the EPA
13. U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke abandoned his previously principled stance against federal land grabs by voting in favor of legislation that will let Congress avoid calculating the land’s value before transferring it to states or even private companies.
"Donald Trump delivered an inaugural speech promising to “put America first,” but the White House’s new website makes clear that his agenda for America puts polluters first. Allow us to introduce you to the America First Energy Plan, a radically backward approach to environment and energy. The platform invokes jobs claims—supplied by a think tank backed by the fossil fuel industry—as the rationale for rolling back federal safeguards that have helped Americans to breathe clean air and drink clean water, specifically the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan and Clean Water Rule. While entirely omitting the investments in wind and solar that are a leading source of new jobs, the plan promises to bring back the coal industry—despite the economic factors responsible for coal’s decline and the damage burning coal inflicts on human health. It also claims that “President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water” (as opposed to climate), but Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, has a long history of attacking the agency’s efforts to protect air and water from conventional pollutants.”
NOTE: These are only some of the environmental protections that the Trump Administration has rolled back. The rationale? Jobs. Perhaps what he really means is more jobs in the medical realm since allowing corporations to poison our land, air and water once again will result in more illnesses thereby forcing people to seek medial help. If, of course, they don’t die first.
This broad attack on the Environment isn’t anything new for Republicans. But the intense focus on the EPA by the Trump Administration so early in its Administration is new. I can’t remember another administration that so strongly fought to undo laws and regulations that protect the environment. Maybe it comes from Trump’s belief that Climate Change is a China hoax or from a Breitbart "news report" about the EPA.
It remains to be seen just how far, wide and deep all of this goes. It doesn’t look good. Hopefully folks will rise up in arms in protest. At least Blue State folks since Red States are rushing to pass legislation to criminalize protesters.
This brief look at Trump actions against the EPA is shocking but then one has to ask: “What’s going on with other agencies of the government?” Are they too suffering the same kinds of stripping of rules and regulations that were put in place to protect our interests?
Have A Good Day! And Breathe Deeply! Clean Air May Soon Become a Bygone Luxury!