(above photo: Great South Channel off Martha’s Vineyard. Breaching humpback whale. ©Carl Safina.)
President Donald Trump has vowed to roll back many environmental regulations and cut funding for environmental programs that safeguard human and environmental health. Here’s a list of the damage he and his administration have caused so far:
- Repealed Obama-era wildlife protection laws, making it legal for hunters in Alaska to shoot hibernating bears; as well as bait, trap and use aircraft to shoot bears, wolves and other predator animals.
- Purged mention of climate change from White House and State Department websites. Also, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt denies climate change is a human-caused phenomenon.
- Ordered a freeze on spending, grants and contracts at the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies.
- Ordered employees of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Human and Health Services to halt communications–not sending out news releases; creating social media posts, blog entries or website content; or speaking with the news media without consulting senior officials.
- Proposed significant cuts to federal agencies that support wildlife conservation and protect vulnerable species.
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s budget would be shrunk by 31%, and its workforce would shrink from 15,000 to just 12,000 employees.
- The fund that pays for the cleanup of contaminated “Superfund” sites–the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account–would sustain a budget cut of 30%, or $330 million.
- Federal money that provides funds to states and Native American tribes to clean their air and water, and limit exposure to pesticides and toxic substances, and clean up waste would drop by more than 40%.
- Cleanup and restoration projects for major waterways such as San Francisco Bay, the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay would be stopped entirely.
- 62 federal programs, including environmental programs that provide homes with access to wastewater treatment and manage infrastructure along the Mexican border, would be eliminated.
- Promised to expand domestic oil and gas drilling and coal mining, eliminate the Clean Power Plan, pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement, push forward with the Keystone XL pipeline and roll back fundamental environmental protection laws.
- Overturned a new ban on the use of lead ammunition in wildlife refuges, even though there is no good reason not to ban lead.
What can we do about this?
- Write letters to Congress, your local representatives, and even Trump himself.
- Make your voice heard! Attend public government meetings, as well as rallies and protests.
- Support politicians who advocate for the environment.
- Sign petitions supporting stronger environmental regulations and oppose Trump’s plans to wreak ecological harm.