Fighting Back Assaults on the Environment
We’re seeing the beginnings of an all-out assault on the environment. Scott Pruitt is now confirmed as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the administration, I believe, is already undermining environmental protections – and it’s clear that clean air, clean water, and the climate are poised to suffer substantial setbacks.
The administration’s budget proposal includes drastic cuts to Environmental Protection Agency staff and critical programs like those dealing with environmental justice, brownfields and abandoned industrial sites, diesel pollution, and more. Low-income and minority communities will bear the brunt of these reductions, which risk the health and welfare of tens of thousands of Americans. Add to that there are plans for a review of vehicle emissions rules, changes in emissions reporting requirements for the oil and gas industry, and more bad news for the environment.
Additionally, the new administration recently signed an executive order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its Clean Water Rule. This move signals a disdain for protection of critical waterways that provide habitat for many creatures, as well as clean drinking water and other important benefits to our environment. This political meddling with science is unacceptable. We should be supporting farmers in protecting water quality through conservation programs and other means, not by rolling back laws that protect clean water.
We may also see the zeroing out of important initiatives to help combat climate change, including the Paris Agreement and the Clean Power Plan. The administration is also proposing to slash the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of our country's leading climate science agencies. In combination, all of these proposals display an utter disregard for the health and future of our planet and the generations of people who will be forced to reckon with the consequences.
During his joint address to Congress, Donald Trump made not a single mention of what I believe to be one of the most important threats that our planet faces — the threat of climate change. None. This is unsurprising for an administration that has scrubbed references to climate change from key government websites, and which supports completion of fossil fuel pipelines.
For example, last week the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator denied that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. In my view, this is a baffling move incongruous with the settled scientific consensus. I sent him some of the leading research showing just how wrong he is.
We know that climate change is real. It is here, and we should be taking bold action to stop it, not turning a blind eye. Researchers in Antarctica recently measured a record high temperature of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit. We cannot repeal science, and we must continue to push for meaningful action on climate change.
I strongly oppose this administration's actions. Donald Trump should be taking action that supports the federal government in protecting clean water, clean air, and a healthy climate. I will actively resist the denial of climate change, the sacrifice of our vital natural resources, and the burden on our hardest hit communities through the congressional appropriations process and other measures before Congress.
Member of Congress