8 things you should know about Trump and the Environment

  1. Joe Pizarchik spent more than seven years working on a (recently passed) regulation to protect streams from mountaintop removal coal mining. It took Congress 25 hours to kill it. This is just one of dozens of regulations that Republicans have begun erasing. (Politico, 02/12/2017)
  2. The Trump administration is requiring that political appointees review all Environmental Protection Agency studies and data prior to public release, according to a report from the Associated Press. The controversial new rules, which will also apply to information displayed on the EPA’s website, have sparked outrage from scientists and journalists.
  3. Trump has said he will cancel Obama’s moratorium on selling coal from federal lands and Obama’s order that federal agencies take climate change into account in environmental reviews.
  4. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) director nominee believes the issue of whether climate change is happening is “far from settled.” In fact, he is the man who led the fossil fuel industry’s lawsuit against the EPA’s clean power plan.
  5. Trump himself said last year that “climate change” was a hoax created by the Chinese to hurt the U. S. economy (although he has since shifted to “undecided”).
  6. Trump’s nominee to head the Dept. of the Interior “supports the Keystone pipeline and supported measures to remove protections of endangered species, while opposing legislation to regulate fracking.”
  7. US representative Jason Chaffetz has legislation to direct the Interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut, arguing that public ownership serves “no purpose for taxpayers.”
  8. Trump’s nominee to run the Dept of Energy is none other than Rick Perry, the man who promised to eliminate the Dept of Energy during his own presidential campaign.

Trump runs the government like a business

In the corporate world, when the executive makes all the final decisions and those who disagree are replaced, it’s called business as usual. In government, it’s called fascism. The reason democratic governments are not run like businesses is because there’s a different set of risks associated with the concentration of power. When you refuse access to unfavorable press and discredit judges for checking executive power, you have just gone after the two basic firewalls between us and fascism. This is why Michael Moore says that a coup is underway in the U.S. and no one realizes it. In fact, Trump himself may not realize it, as I suspect he is just managing the only way he knows how, oblivious to the historical implications.

I think U.S. institutions are strong enough to stave off the coup, but people need to stay vigilant and vocal about the implications of Trump’s manner of using institutional leverage (with a crude authoritarian nationalism) to silence dissent.

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