Tracking the Environmental Policies of the Trump Administration >>
News from Ground Control: Planet Trump (March 3)
It was quite the busy week for the Trump team – with new Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt wasting no time putting his extreme, anti-environment agenda in place.
The White House kicked off the week with news that it’s seeking to slash the EPA’s annual budget by roughly 24 percent, which would include a number of debilitating budget cuts to vital programs such as major environmental justice and climate programs.
“Through this decision to zero out funding for the EPA’s environmental justice programs, the president and the administrator have sent a shameful message: The health of poor Americans is less important than that of the wealthy,” EWG President Ken Cook said of the proposed cuts to environmental justice efforts.
Also this week, President Trump took aim at drinking water sources that serve up to 117 million Americans, signing an executive order that could eviscerate the Clean Water Rule. In response, EWG released a report mapping the locations of all water sources that would no longer be protected under the rule.
Here are several of this past week’s deep dives on that development, along with other worrisome environmental and public health actions taken by the new administration.
The Guardian, Oliver Milman (March 3, 2017) ‘Just Racist’: EPA Cuts Will Hit Black and Hispanic Communities the Hardest
“The Trump administration has decided fence-line communities across the country, whose residents already bear an outsized burden from pollution, are on their own to take on big polluters,” said Ken Cook, president of advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group.
“Most pollution-spewing operations are within eyeshot of the backyards and kitchen windows of African American and Hispanic families, as well as those of many largely white lower-income communities.
“Through this decision to zero out funding for the EPA’s environmental justice programs, the president and the administrator have sent a shameful message: The health of poor Americans is less important than that of the wealthy.”
CNN, Rene Marsh and Eli Watkins (March 2, 2017) Source Reveals EPA Programs Trump’s Budget Could Cut
Ken Cook, the head of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy and research organization, told CNN in a statement: "The Trump administration has decided fence-line communities across the country, whose residents already bear an outsized burden from pollution, are on their own to take on big polluters."
The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Jennifer Steinhauer (Feb. 27, 2017) Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending
Environmental advocates denounced the proposed cuts, saying they would devastate environmental protection and public health programs while doing little to increase national security.
“The assault on human health begins now with President Trump’s plan to slash the E.P.A.’s resources, which are vital to protecting Americans’ drinking water and air from pollution,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.
High Plains Journal, Larry Dreiling (March 2, 2017) Trump Signs Order to Effectively End WOTUS
Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group, said: “President Trump promised ‘crystal clear water,’ but in his very first executive order to the EPA, he’s set in motion a scenario that means dirtier water—polluted with industrial chemicals, pesticides, manure and fertilizer—could flow from the kitchen taps of tens of millions of families. After this, no one should believe the president or Scott Pruitt when they say they will protect Americans’ drinking water.”
Mother Jones, Tom Philpott (March 2, 2017) Farmers Are Cheering Trump’s Repeal of an Environmental Rule That Doesn’t Affect Them
The original Clean Water Act exempted agriculture, and WOTUS maintains that status, notes Scott Faber, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group. "What's so bizarre about the fight over WOTUS is that the only sector of commerce that's clearly exempt from the rule has kicked up the most dirt about it," Faber said.
Iowa Public Radio, Kristofor Husted (March 1, 2017) Trump Orders Review of Clean Water Rule That Many Farm Groups Oppose
“The problem is going to be there,” says Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group, which supported the rule. “The problem is going to get worse. The problem is going to cry out for a solution.”
Gizmodo, Brendan O’Connor (Feb. 24, 2017) Chickenshit Scott Pruitt is Never Going to Stand Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry
As Scott Faber of the nonprofit research organization Environmental Working Group put it, “The EPA is the only guarantee that when you turn on your tap your water isn’t full of shit.” So it’s alarming that Scott Pruitt, newly confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency once worked on behalf of donors in Oklahoma to stop his new employer from keeping literal chicken shit out of the water.