Why it matters Changes made now can pave the way for a new and dangerous status quo in environmental regulation that could severely impact the environment.
The big picture The EPA’s policies work to protect our environment and our health. Rolling them back can have grave consequences for both.
- A New York Times analysis revealed how the Trump Administration rolled back nearly 100 environmental rules and regulations since 2016.
- Proponents of radical changes like the Green New Deal are still the overwhelming minority in Congress.
What actually happened The Federal Government proposed rolling back 6 major pieces of EPA rules and regulations including:
- Weakening the National Environmental Policy Act
- Successfully allowing final environmental impact statements for projects with federal funding to effectively exclude climate change considerations. Unscrewing tight policy measures will give a free pass to pollute on major infrastructure projects, like oil & gas pipelines.
- Suspending EPA Enforcement
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to indefinitely suspend enforcement of its rules and regulations due to COVID-19. Companies will self-regulate their own air and water pollution (sort of). The rule was applied on March 13th.
- Opening a national park to resource extraction
- The Trump administration recently pushed through a final environmental impact statement for a 211-mile road in Alaska that would bisect a national park and open up an area rich in copper, zinc, and other minerals.
- Reducing regulation for a major slaughterhouse
- The Department of Agriculture confirmed a waiver that allowed a private company to inspect a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse in lieu of the EPA.
- Reducing the impact of fuel efficiency standards
- Last week, the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era vehicle efficiency standards through 2026. Those standards, which passed in 2012, mandated 5% annual increases in fuel economy. The new standards will require less stringent 1.5% annual increases.
- Trying to bail out Big Oil:
- When drafting legislation for the coronavirus stimulus package, the Trump administration intended to buy millions of barrels of oil from struggling producers. Luckily, the measure was nixed in the final legislation due to a lack of funding.
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