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Trump Moves to Sign Order Keeping Climate Change Out of Governmental Decisions

According to recent reports, Trump is set to sign legislation this week that dramatically rolls back the progress we've made toward fighting climate change since Obama took office.

by Amanda Arnold
Mar 15 2017, 6:23pm

Below is what happened on Trump's 37th day in office. You can find out what damage was done every other day so far on the Saddest Calendar on the Internet.

With guidance from climate change denier and EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, this week President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that would reverse a handful of pro-environment legislation, such as Obama's Clean Power Plan.

The dramatic and sweeping directive, according to Bloomberg, aims to lessen the role that climate change has to do with governmental decisions, including pipeline approvals.

While critics see this order as a major setback to addressing climate change, researching renewable energy and promoting clean air and water, not all find the proposed legislation worrying. For example, Tom Pyle, president of the conservative, fossil fuel-oriented advocacy group American Energy Alliance, is quite excited. "This was a constraint deliberately set up by the previous administration to make it difficult to utilize coal, oil and natural gas," he told Bloomberg.

While much of the reporting on the Trump administration and the EPA centers on climate change and what the world will look like for future generations, there's another threat at-hand that could—and in some cases already has—devastate communities in our lifetime: safe water.

At the end of February, Trump ordered a review of Obama's Clean Water Rule, with the aim of rolling it back, according to the Scientific American. The legislation was enacted to help clarify the 1972 Clean Water Act, which is the main federal law relating to water pollution.

In the past, Trump and Pruitt have also both expressed that their new policies would not harm anyone's access to clean air or water. However, their 2018 budget proposal suggests otherwise. According to a source who read the document to Reuters, the administration is calling for a 30 percent cut on states' grants for lead cleanup.

While the threat of lead contamination is most frequently linked to water in Flint, Michigan, a December 2016 Reuters investigation found that "lead testing results across the country [show that] almost 3,000 areas [have] poisoning rates far higher than in the tainted Michigan city." Furthermore, the report notes that while "poverty remains a potent predictor of lead poisoning, the victims span the American spectrum—poor and rich, rural and urban, black and white." In East Chicago, Indiana, what Mother Jones referred to as "Trump's Flint, Michigan," 90 percent of the residents receive water through lead service lines. (Also worth noting that "90 percent of this population of 29,000 are people of color and one-third live below the poverty line").

In an NPR report on East Kentucky's struggle with sewage-contaminated water from the region's coal and gas extraction, Gail Brion, an expert in water treatment issues, expressed his skepticism of Trump and Pruitt's purported pro-clean water, pro-clean energy stance, making note of why it's so easy to flaunt infrastructure improvement while ignoring water issues: because unlike a bridge, you can't see water pipes.

"What you're seeing is a long history of non-investment that's now starting to cause long-term problems, but it's not flashy," Brion told NPR. "That's one of the problems with drinking water is that it's underground—it's hidden."

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