The new administration in Washington has been concerning to all of us here at the Weekender Blog. We’re deeply devoted to protecting our environment so that we can all enjoy it and have it as an escape from our work lives and a place to marvel at the wonder of nature. That’s something that unites a lot of Americans, whether you’re a hippie rock climber or somebody who’s been hunting in the backwoods for decades. So it’s alarming to see such a radically destructive agenda on the table moving forward. Today, we wanted to share a few of the specific policies that could have massive and irreversible impacts on the environment.
Destroying the EPA is the first thing on the Trump agenda, and that’s embodied perfectly by the appointment of Scott Pruitt as the head of the agency. He’s sued the EPA dozens of times, and both he and Trump seem to think environmental protections are an attack on freedom and jobs. So they’ve proposed rolling back massive amounts of regulations, scrapping the clean power plan and the fuel standards that went with it, and exiting the Paris Agreement. It’s scary stuff, and the worst part is that they wouldn’t even have to completely eliminate the agency: they just have to stop doing their jobs, and it ends up with the same results.
Opening or selling Federal lands is next on the path to degradation, and there are already bills being floated to lift drilling restrictions and coal leases on protected land. Supporting fossil fuels even more than we already do is a massive step backwards, and selling off protected land the size of the state of Delaware, which is an actual proposal that’s going around Washington, should be considered a national disgrace.
Building the wall Trump has promised along the Southern border could also be a major source of degradation, according to the article in Scientific American. They cite all sorts of aspects of the wall that are problematic. For a start, all the concrete and steel you’d have to use to build that large of a structure has a massive impact on itself. Concrete puts out a lot of greenhouse gases, and so does steel. Then, it would go right through wildlife corridors and block of the migration routes of animals like jaguars, wolves, and other creatures that live in the South and Southwest. And of course you’d have to bulldoze and level the land where the wall would be, which would wreck habitats and vegetation. The worst part is, it wouldn’t even stop migration, and migration isn’t even happening in our direction according to every reputable study.
Overall, this administration and this congress has been extremely strident and careless in their rhetoric, and based on the legislation that’s going forward and the speeding through of the big pipeline projects that were stopped under Obama, it only seems fair to take them at their word. There’s going to be a long fight ahead. You should follow the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council if you want to get involved in standing up. And we’ll be sure to let you know of other specific things you can to do support the cause. Thanks, as always, for caring.