15 ways the Trump administration has changed environmental policies
Love him or hate him, believe him or not, here is a great link to a National Geographic article explaining 15 ways President Trump has changed environmental policies.
I usually link to stay off the president Trump topic; however, since our President stood in front of the world last week, at the G7 conference in France, and told reporters that he was an environmentalist and knew more about the environment than any other president, because he filled out many environmental statements, I thought it would be a good time to revisit some of his “accomplishments”
1. U.S. pulls out of Paris Climate Agreement
I would say that one of Trump’s most recognized changes was stating that he was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. The consequences to this are really unknown, at this point, for a few reasons. From many people’s perspective, withdrawing from the agreement, shows the United State’s lack of commitment and lack of knowledge of the problem we are up against...The United States not being a leader, or the leader, is definitely a change in our philosophy.
On the brighter side, I heard someone say the other day, “The United States did not pull out of the Paris Agreement, Donald Trump Pulled out of the Agreement.” Whether true or not, we have recently seen the formation of the United States Climate Alliance -- a coalition of states that are committed to upholding the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change within their borders.
I know we have all heard that we have pulled out of the Paris Agreement already ; however, the earliest day we can technically leave the Paris Agreement is November 4, 2020. November 3, 2020 is going to be a big day!
2. Trump EPA poised to scrap clean power plan
The Clean Power Plan required the energy sector to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, but in October 2017 it was rolled back by Trump's EPA. Among the reasons cited were unfair burdens on the power sector and a “war on coal.”
There should be a “war on coal”, “a war on natural gas”, and “a war on oil” we should be building for the future not the past.
3. EPA lossens regulations on toxic air pollution
If a company polluted over the legal limit, they would have to match the lowest levels set by their industry peers and they would have to match them indefinitely. The Trump EPA forces companies to decrease their emissions if they go over the legal limit, but once those lower targets are met, they're no longer required to keep using those innovations.
4. Rescinding methane-flaring rules
Trump’s EPA announced they would relax rules around releasing methane flares, inspecting equipment, and repairing leaks.
5. Trump announces plan to weaken Obama-era fuel economy rules
The Trump Department of Transportation and EPA reduced Obama’s target of 54mpg by 2025 to 34 miles per gallon by 2021.
6. Trump revokes flood standards accounting for sea-level rise
In August 2017, President Trump revoked an executive order that required federally funded projects to factor rising sea levels into construction...we should build for the future not the past.
7. Waters of the U.S. Rule revocation
Trump’s change narrowed the definition of what's considered a federally protected river or wetland.
8. NOAA green lights seismic airgun blasts for oil and gas drilling
Five companies were approved to use seismic air gun blasts to search for underwater oil and gas deposits. The blasts were shot down by the Bureau of Energy Management in 2017 but approved after NOAA found they would not violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Debate over the deafening blasts stem from concerns that they disorient marine mammals that use sonar to communicate and kill plankton.
9. Interior Department relaxes sage grouse protection
In both 2017 and 2018, the Trump administration Department of Interior eased restrictions on activities like mining and drilling that had been restricted to protect the endangered bird.
10. Trump officials propose changes to handling the Endangered Species Act
In July of 2018, the Trump administration announced its intention to change the way the Endangered Species Act is administered, saying more weight would be put on economic considerations when designating an endangered animal's habitat.
11. Migratory Bird Treaty Act reinterpretation
Companies installing large wind turbines, constructing power lines, or leaving oil exposed are no longer violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act if their activities kill birds.
12. Trump unveils plan to dramatically downsize two national monuments
National monuments can be created by an executive order, which the president said means they can be dismantled just as easily. Such was the case for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, which President Trump reduced and opened for mining and drilling companies in 2017.
13. Executive order calls for sharp logging increase on public lands
President Trump issued an executive order that called for a 30 percent increase in logging on public lands. The decision was billed as wildfire prevention.
14. Trump drops climate change from list of national security threats
The Trump administration's decision to delist climate change from national security threats in December of 2017 meant less Department of Defense research funding and a nationalistic viewpoint on the potential impacts of wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
15. EPA criminal enforcement hits 30-year low
Criminal prosecutions are at a 30-year low, and many violations that would have been prosecuted in the past are now being negotiated with companies. The administration says this is streamlining its work, but environmentalists have warned it could lead to more pollution.