Many climate change experts and citizens of the United States alike were concerned that the election of Donald Trump would mean climate change denial would become a greater issue for the country than it had ever been. Were their concerns valid? Here are 20 instances of President Trump's poor environmental policies that prove we have a right to be worried about the state of the environment:
20. On June 6, 2017, EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt claimed 50,000 jobs had been added to the coal mining industry, that in the month of May alone, 7,000 jobs in coal had been created. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number was closer to 1,400. According to their preliminary estimates, in the first four months of the Trump administration, there had been a gain of 1,000 jobs.
19. On September 4, 2017, Donald Trump appointed Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA, despite the fact that Bridenstine has said repeatedly he does not believe humans cause climate change. “I would say that the climate is changing,” he told Aerospace America in a 2016 interview. “It has always changed. There were periods of time long before the internal combustion engine when the Earth was much warmer than it is today.” Members of NASA displaying this mindset is extra disheartening considering that among NASA’s many active projects, 27 missions are devoted to monitoring climate change.
18. The Trump administration denied endangered species protection for 25 highly imperiled species in October 2017. Among them were seven animals—the Pacific walrus, Florida Keys mole skink, Bicknell’s thrush, Kirtland’s snake, the northern Rockies population of fisher, Nevada springsnail, and Big Blue Spring Cave crayfish—whose habitats were gravely threatened by climate change.
17. In May 2017, The Environmental Protection Agency announced it would withdraw mining restrictions on Alaska’s headwaters, opening the door to a major mining facility in the area. This reversal came after an EPA study concluded the mine could decimate salmon populations in the area, a massive hit to native Alaskans whose culture depended heavily on salmon.
16. Trump has repeatedly misunderstood the difference between “weather” and “climate.” For example, he sent out a December 28, 2017 tweet stating that the U.S. could “use some good old global warming.” This uneducated claim followed an uptick in cold temperatures on the east coast during December 2017.
15. On February 23, 2018, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt justified his coal-friendly policies by referencing the Bible. In an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network, he said, “The Biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind.” In the same interview, he condemned the “weaponization” of the EPA and criticized the “environmental left” for “tell[ing] us that, though we have natural resources like natural gas and oil and coal, and though we can feed the world, we should keep those things in the ground, put up fences and be about prohibition.”
14. At the onset of hurricane season on the first of June 2017, leadership positions remained vacant for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These agencies have the crucial purpose of monitoring weather patterns incoming for natural disasters and addressing natural disaster recovery, respectively.