The environmental policy agenda of President Trump has contributed overwhelmingly negatively towards climate change.
Whilst the environmental programme of the previous US president, Barack Obama, promised more progressive action towards combating climate change by reducing carbon emissions through renewable energy forms, the environment just isn’t a priority for Trump. He is a politician who has placed big business and corporate interests at the core of his policies and administration, often at the expense of environmental measures. Trump’s main environmental attitudes have involved the increased use of fossil fuels and scrapping of regulations on corporations that are harmful to the environment.
Within days of taking office, Trump’s first environmental action marked the course for what would be a tumultuous four years filled with disastrous environmental policies. He began to implement the America First Energy Plan, which loosened regulations that were preventing businesses from polluting and harming the environment. Troublingly, there was no mention of renewable energy in this plan.
These attitudes towards the environment are symptomatic of an administration that puts big business first
Oil is one of Trump’s most concerning policy areas for the environment; he has issued two executive orders after taking office which approved oil pipelines. In 2018, the Department of the Inferior announced plans to drill in US waters, which was the biggest expansion of offshore oil leasing ever to happen. In 2019, Trump planned to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
The government no longer require oil and gas companies to utilise technology that monitors methane leaks from facilities which have a detrimental impact on US residents of towns with oil and gas facilities, and pipelines that have been heavily controversial in the first place. Trump has been attacked by the indigenous communities of the areas affected by pipelines with the potential to leak and destroy the environment, and communities.
Whilst many may be aware of the terrible situation in Flint, a town in Michigan that has been without clean water since 2014, the impact of Trump’s repealing actions towards clean water regulations have had the most devastating consequences on the American people. Trump’s administration blocked a federal health study on the water contamination crisis. Instead, Trump issued executive orders which would review the Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Plan. The decision to review these regulations put in place to protect the environment has a great effect on people. In 2019, Trump repealed the Clean Water Rule, meaning that federal waters were no longer protected from drilling.
The only thing that the American people can trust is that Trump will continue his denial of climate change
Wildlife and the animal population of the US have suffered under Trump’s administration. In 2018, he cut funding for the execution of the Endangered Species Act and has rewritten the EPA’s pollution controls to benefit the chemicals industry.
Perhaps most widely well-known and concerning was Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the US as the only nation not joined. His lack of interest and understanding of the importance of environmental issues was only exacerbated by his decision to leave the 44th G7 summit and 45th G7 summit early to avoid environmental discussions. He has himself stated that global warming is a hoax.
“I wouldn’t have wasted my time” speaking to Trump about the environment, said climate advocate Greta Thunberg. This sadly represents the attitudes of those who have recognised Trump’s complete and utter abandonment of environmental issues. His focus on big business and pleasing corporations who have been restricted by environmental regulations will have disastrous consequences should he be re-elected once again this year.
The environment just isn’t a priority for Trump
Having been in power for four years and committed to so many negative environmental policies, the only thing that the American people can trust is that Trump will continue his denial of climate change and policies that are harmful to US residents, wildlife and nature.
Americans who voted for and supported Trump knew what to expect when it came to the environment. Trump never spoke about the environment; he made no promises to target climate change and instead claimed global warming to be a hoax. He stated that he wanted to remove the US from the Paris Agreement and lift business regulations, so his voters knew what they were in for. Whilst he said that clean water would be a priority for the administration, these promises were not fulfilled and all he has done is back out of clean water regulations. These attitudes towards the environment are symptomatic of an administration that puts big business first.
For the future of the environment, voters in the US must consider the negative environmental impact that Trump’s policies have had over the past four years and question whether they can justify another four years of climate change denial and deregulation.