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How Have Trump's First 100 Days Been for the Environment?

May 19 2017 Read 1519 Times

Prior to Donald Trump’s accession to the White House, environmentalist organisations inside America and abroad expressed widespread concern about the impact that the climate change-denier could have not only national environmental policy, but on the state of our planet as a whole.

100 days into his presidency, how have things turned out? According to the majority of commentators, Trump’s actions have been every bit as bad as expected. Rolling back environmental reform on a number of different fronts, the one silver lining from his administration to date is that it hasn’t yet withdrawn the US from the Paris Agreement, signed last year.

Trump’s environmental timeline

Here’s a rundown of the major policies which Trump has implemented (or repealed) with regards to the environment since his inauguration into White House at the beginning of the year:

  • Pipelines given the go-ahead. Trump approved of and built the Dakota pipeline, as well as giving the green light to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline which is capable of transporting 830,000 oil barrels from Canada to the USA on a daily basis.
  • Climate deniers appointed to important posts. The CEO of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson is made Secretary of State and anti-environmentalist Scott Pruitt is made chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Carbon downplayed as contributing factor to global warming. At a time when the whole world is focusing on improving air quality and curbing harmful emissions, Pruitt argues that carbon does not have a significant effect on climate change.
  • Clean Power Plan rescinded. Among other climate actions which are repealed, Trump attempts to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Initiated by Obama, the plan sought to reduce carbon emissions from new and current power plants.
  •  Mining waste allowed back into the streams. The “Stream Protection Rule”, signed off by President Obama shortly before leaving the White House, is repealed, meaning mining companies have more freedom in dumping waste back into public bodies of water.
  • Lead bullets allowed in rural hunting. Landowners are re-gifted the right to use lead ammunition on their property, despite the evidence pointing to its toxification of the land and its wildlife.
  • “Science” removed from EPA website. The word “science” is omitted from the mission statement of the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology website.
  • Funding cut to science and environment. The first preliminary budget reveals massive cuts to both the EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as reducing climate research conducted by NASA.
  • Expands offshore drilling activity. Trump has ordered a review of offshore drilling potential, paving the way for increased activity in parts of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans.

Though the US system of government is specifically designed with a system of checks and balances to prevent any one president from gaining too much power or altering the constitution significantly, Trump has done everything possible to roll back existing environmental protection legislation and pursue policies which prioritise the economy above the planet.

He's guaranteed to face significant opposition every step of the way with all of these plans, so it remains to be seen how successful his administration will be and how damaging an effect that could have on the environment. Any which way you look at it, however, the initial signs from his first 100 days in office are far from encouraging.

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