Trump’s Environmental Orders Spell Ecological Disaster Green Standards Out the Window on Trump's Watch

When President Trump took office, many environmentalists and eco-enthusiasts wrung their hands in anxiety. Our fears were well placed. Since taking office, Trump has sought to reverse over 50 environmental rules. His actions affect not just us. Trump’s actions put the lives of our children and grandchildren at risk.

The stakes are high. To date, 25 environmental rules have already been overturned, while 27 other regulations remain on the chopping block.

Rules That Have Been Repealed to Date

environmental orders
Credit: Gage Skidmore, FlickrCC

The list of environmental regulations repealed by the Trump administration is a lengthy one. Here’s a partial list of what was repealed to date, and their critical function in our economy.

  1. Flood building standards. This Obama-era order required that infrastructure projects like bridges and highways be designed to withstand rising sea levels and the other consequences of climate change. In the wake of several life altering hurricanes like Harvey and Maria, this spells a recipe for disaster.
  2. The Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux made clear the environmental damage, including damage to the water supply, which could result if the Dakota Access pipeline were constructed. Despite their best efforts, President Trump, in a heartbreaking memorandum, rescinded an Obama-era memorandum halting construction, and instead ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to review and expedite the project.
  3. The Offshore Drilling Ban. In April, 2017, President Trump rescinded the ban on offshore drilling in the arctic and Atlantic Ocean. He is even seeking to expand drilling into the Pacific. In the wake of devastating oil spills such as the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, it’s impossible to prevent future ecological disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon travesty. Further, opening the very oceans to drilling means that the pending economic disaster, when it does happen, will leave a much larger swatch of destruction in its wake. One spill could easily mean global catastrophe.

Other repealed rules include the previous ban on potentially harmful pesticides, the hunting ban on wolves and bears in Alaska, the anti-dumping rules for coal companies as well as 19 other environmental repeals.

Next up on the Chopping Block

The already overturned rules aren’t the last environmental protections sought out for repeal by the Trump Administration. The chopping block currently hosts 19 other environmental protection rules. The following are among them.

  1. Allowing for exploratory drilling in the Arctic National Refuge. While the debate has waged for decades, former presidents Clinton and Obama noted they were legally barred from Arctic exploration, as the seismic sounds created can displace polar bears, an endangered species, as well as other Arctic wildlife. However, Trump has moved to permit such seismic tests and exploratory drilling. A final determination has not been made yet.
  2. Loosening oil rig safety regulations. Not only does the Trump administration want to open our oceans to drilling which puts us in danger of a worldwide ecological catastrophe, but he wishes to relax safety regulations governing oil rigs. This one-two punch almost guarantees an environmental disaster to follow.
  3. Allowing for oil and gas drilling in National Parks. Do you have the Grand Canyon on your bucket list? Better mark it off now. The Trump administration seeks to have our National Parks open for business — for the oil and gas industries. It’s extremely heartbreaking to think of our national treasures being irreparably damaged for a few more years of a finite resource when we could harness green power solutions instead.

Other protections, either already on the chopping block or in sore danger of being cut, include car and truck efficiency standards, emission standards for new and reconstructed power plants, limits on landfill emissions and the rule helping consumers to buy fuel-efficient tires.

Look for the helpers

Many environmentalists, appalled by the Trump Administration’s actions, may find themselves falling into despair. It is important to remember, though, in any negative situation, many will look to help. Many businesses have accelerated their efforts to develop new technologies that will help individuals deal with environmental crises caused by climate change and lax regulation. Other organizations fight to enact common sense regulations and solutions to the environmental crisis.

The legacy the Trump administration will leave on our environment is yet to be seen. Now, like never before, it is unavoidable upon each of us in the environmental movement to take action to mitigate the effects the repeal of environmental regulations can have before it is too late.