Undermining the Institutions and People Who Protect Us — Trump’s Threats Series #3

January 19, 2018

Step two in the Trump plan to make the world safe for polluters is to destroy the institutions that America –- and the world –- have built to protect our environment. Trump’s repudiation of the Paris Agreement announced this policy to the world, but the attacks are continuing on multiple fronts.

Closer to home: A revoked regulation can eventually be reissued –- but not if there is no one left to do the work. During the campaign, President Trump said he would abolish EPA or he could “leave a little bit.” Through personnel appointments, funding cuts, and other policies, he is now carrying out this goal.

President Trump has repeatedly nominated agency heads and deputies who oppose the mission –- or even existence –- of their agencies. Rick Perry called for abolishing the Department of Energy before becoming Secretary of Energy. Pruitt not only sued EPA 14 separate times before becoming its administrator, he also agreed with a radio host’s suggestion that he was “a guy who wanted to get rid of the EPA –- dismantle it.” The nominee to head up the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, which regulates surface coal mining, is J. Steven Gardner –- a coal consultant who has accused OSMRE of waging a “war on coal” and called its rule to regulate mountaintop mining as “one of the most disingenuous and dishonest efforts put forward by a government agency.”

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