His first week in office, Pr*sident Trump met with top CEOs from around America and told them the hob-nailed boot of regulation were going to be removed from their neck so they could finally start earning some profits. “We’re going to be cutting regulation massively,” he told them. “Now, we’re going to have regulation, and it’ll be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now.”
What does this mean in terms of environmental protections? In a word: #SAD.
Trump has already rolled back an Obama-era protection of streams known as the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule which was put in place to protect streams that feed rivers that dump into lakes and oceans from coal mining waste. Trump called it a “job-killing rule.” Environmentalists and those who care about our nations waters call it something quite different.
He has also ordered his new EPA chief to look into getting rid of the Obama administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule:
The Trump administration is moving to roll back an environmental rule intended to define which small bodies of water are subject to federal authority under the Clean Water Act.
President Trump signed documents Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the Obama administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule. In doing so, Trump said he is “paving the way for the elimination” of the rule.
Trump claims the move is to help “minimizing regulatory uncertainty.” It should also serve to minimize how many streams, rivers, and lakes are free from pollution.
However, the most nefarious move yet appears to be in the making. Trump looks to be poised to slash funding for clean-up of the Great Lakes by a whopping 97%:
The White House is proposing to slash Environmental Protection Agency funding that pays for Great Lakes pollution cleanup by 97 percent, according to a budget document obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.
The potential cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s initial 2018 budget proposal, detailed in a U.S. Office of Management and Budget “passback” to the EPA that outlines drastic cuts to an agency Trump has called a “job killer” and promised to reduce to “tidbits” as a candidate.
The proposal would virtually eliminate annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, slashing it from $300 million to $10 million among other cuts that would altogether reduce the EPA’s total budget by a quarter.
It’s worth noting that the Great Lakes contain about 21% of the world’s supply of surface fresh water.
The Trump administration has indefinitely delayed release of a long-awaited plan to keep invasive Asian carp from slipping into the Great Lakes after GOP congress members wrote to the president fretting that the plan might disrupt commerce on Chicago-area waterways.
U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, a Holmes County Republican, was among those who signed the letter.
On Feb. 28, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to release a draft of a study launched two years ago on potential changes to keep the carp from passing through the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, near Joliet, Illinois, and harming Great Lakes fisheries.
But shortly before that deadline, the Corps indefinitely postponed the report’s release to allow “further coordination” between government and non-government stakeholders involved in its evaluation, according to Corps spokesman Allen Marshall.
All of this is, apparently, what Trump sees as “good”, “strong”, and “protective” regulations. It won’t be long before he’s calling for a repeal of the Lead and Copper Rule because, as anyone (from Flint, Michigan) knows, preventing the powerful neurotoxin lead from entering our drinking water supply is the true cause of our country’s economic stagnation.
Make no mistake, Donald Trump did not have “eliminating the clean up of the Great Lakes” as one of his campaign pledges. There are going to be some Trump-voting sportsman and recreational users of our nation’s abundant freshwater who are going to feel betrayed. And they SHOULD feel betrayed. This was NOT was Trump promised. He did NOT promise to make the Great Lakes not great again.
Oh, and if you’re cool with polluted water but it’s the air you care about, he’s got his sights on that, too:
One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing.
Like I said: #SAD.
UPDATE: Trump is also set to roll back fuel economy standards put in place by the EPA under the Obama administration:
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce its intent to withdraw final determination on strict fuel-efficiency standards for future cars and light trucks, the latest signal by the Trump administration that it is charting a new course on climate change. […]
While automakers struck a 2009 deal with the Obama administration to set the first-ever carbon limits on cars and trucks, many of them now say it will be difficult to achieve these long-term targets given the lower price of gas and Americans’ preference for sport-utility vehicles. The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed to review the 2022-2025 standards when they set them five years ago, but the EPA concluded in December that no revision was necessary. It finalized the standards a week before Trump took office.
*Donald Trump is the biggest loser of the popular vote ever to win the U.S. presidency.