Thursday, December 27, 2018

Removing 78 Environmental Rules in Two Years

Click for photo caption.
The New York Times published a special section today called "This Is Our Reality Now" focused on how the undoing of environmental protection under Trump is affecting real people around the country. Check it out here.

One of the most impactful pieces in the section is on the last page and is titled "78 Environmental Rules on the way Out Under Trump (and 11 Rules Reinstated After Challenges)". The article lists the status of 78 rules that are being shot down under the Trump administration. While we all heard of some of them, the total listing of all of them is rather stunning. Check it out here if you are not a Times subscriber. 

This list is broken down into several categories:
  • Air pollution and emissions
  • Drilling and extraction
  • Infrastructure and planning
  • Animals
  • Toxic substances and safety
  • Water pollution
  • Other
Here are just a few of the completed rollbacks that occurred over the last two years:
  • Permitted the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The guns can kill marine life and disrupt fisheries.
  • Overturned the ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands.
  • Removed a rule to prevent coal companies from dumping mining debris in local streams.
I could type on with a long list of the other 78 problematic rule changes. Suffice it to say that it will take years to recover from these modifications. The rollbacks, along with the president's other anti environmental stances, particularly on global climate change, prompted the Times to publish this scathing editorial titled "Trump Imperils the Planet".

For those of us in the field of environmental science and policy, it is time to reconsider what we can do to try to mitigate the impacts of these changing policies and to consider how we can work to protect the planet in the coming years.

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