One might posit that the biggest loser for the first year of Trump’s minority presidency was the environment. But, that overlooks the fact that we, too, are parts of the environment. Under the greedership of Oklahoma’s own Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency has become the handmaiden of those who put profits above the welfare of their workers, their neighbors and everyone downwind or downstream from their production sites. That means that we, the people, have lost the most in the way of health protections – and any heirs of our generation have been chosen to bear even more degraded living conditions. Before increasing the deficit suited their own purposes, Republicans used to moan about leaving today’s debt for tomorrow’s generations. Leaving a degraded, unhealthy environment for their children and grandchildren has never caused them to look behind the daily financials.
Space limitations pale in comparison to the damage proposed by the Trumpistas and their industrial donors. But, a partial look at 29 overturned environmental rules as documented by the Sierra Club includes: a proposed ban on harmful pesticides; anti-dumping rules for coal companies; offshore drilling bans in the Arctic and Atlantic; the inclusion of greenhouse gas emission projections in environmental reviews; mine cleanup rules; sewage treatment pollution regulations and environmental mitigation for federal projects.
Of course, the big newsmaker was the president pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. But, the guy who calls climate change a “hoax” just got permission to build a wall to protect his golf resort at Doonbeg, Ireland, for “coastal erosion management works.” His original application for the wall cited global warming and the resultant rising seas as necessitating the wall.
It’s all about the money – for the president and his cronies. (“You all are a lot richer now,” he crowed to fellow fat cats upon arrival at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort which doubled its admission fee to $200,000 after his election. Certainly need to weed out those who can only afford $100,000 to lobby for their interests.)
The Sierra Club also lists 24 rollbacks in progress to profit industry at the expense of the citizenry. These include reducing limits on toxic discharges from power plants; car and truck fuel-efficiency standards; regulations for offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels; easing the permitting process for air-polluting plants; and easing restrictions on fracking and other oil and gas drilling in national parks. Prominent on this list is also the reduction of oil rig safety regulations. Duncan knows too well how expendable the corporate suits consider the people out in the field doing the actual work.
Trump, Pruitt and their ilk are licking their lips over the prospect of befouling our national lands. The Bears Ears National Monument will be cut by 85 percent and the Grand Staircase- Escalante would be reduced by half if court challenges fail. These last travesties occurred on the recommendation of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who met repeatedly with his deputy chief of staff Downey Magallanes prior to making the decision, according to the Huffington Post. She is the daughter of Frederick Palmer, the former executive of Peabody Energy, the coal giant. Eight other monuments belonging to the American people are facing similar fates as the corporate socialists seek to convert national property into private profit.
Pruitt and pals also want to rollback methane emission at new oil and gas wells; mercury emission limits for power plants, groundwater protections for uranium mines and hazardous chemical facility regulations.
Profits over people: the mantra of Greed’s Own Party.
(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)