Energy Efficiency

The EPA is in trouble under Trump's administration

President Trump’s Policies Hit The EPA Hard


Most people who are concerned about the environment already have worries about what President Donald Trump might do to cripple the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

A resigning EPA employee confirmed those fears this month by firing off a scathing resignation letter to new EPA Director Scott Pruitt, who Trump picked to lead the agency.

“I, along with many EPA staff, are becoming increasing alarmed about the direction of EPA under your leadership,” the resigning Mike Cox wrote in a letter to Pruitt. Cox had worked at the EPA for 25 years.

Trump EPA PolicyHe wrote: “The policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe; the land they live, play, and hunt on to be free of toxic chemicals; and the water they drink, the lakes they swim in, and the rivers they fish in to be clean.”

So, worries confirmed.

What was Cox talking about? The following lists several areas that Trump has made decisions on regarding the EPA.

Scott Pruitt

Perhaps the best indication of what Trump thinks about federal environmental policies is encapsulated in his decision on who to pick to run the agency.

Pruitt is actually someone who has battled against the agency on many occasions. In his biography on the Oklahoma attorney general website,  he is called a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

He has spoken against the consensus viewpoint of most scientists that humans contribute greatly to climate change, primarily through carbon dioxide ejected into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. He dismantled the Environmental Protection Unit in the Oklahoma attorney general’s office. He sued the EPA 13 times, but to date all of those lawsuits have failed. In one, he represented Oklahoma utilities fighting against federal regulations of coal-burning plants.

So Long, Clean Power Plan

President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan already had been halted by the Supreme Court in 2016 after 27 states and a long list of businesses opposed the regulations. The plan aimed at cutting greenhouse emissions, including many new regulations on burning coal. Trump essentially killed it, rolling back many regulations and focusing on a new “energy independent” plan. He called Obama’s policies “job killing.”

Budget Proposal

Trump’s budget proposal cuts the EPA budget by 31 percent. That means laying off 25 percent of the staff and cutting at least 50 programs. Workers within EPA have told reporters that many are trying to get out and the atmosphere within the agency is “pretty bleak.”

Of course, insiders probably have a good idea of where these cuts are coming, something that everyone will learn soon if Congress approves the budget. Meanwhile, Americans concerned about the environment are left to wonder how Trump and Pruitt’s policies will play out, and how ultimately it will affect the environment.


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