What you need to know about a Trump presidency and the environment


By | Emily Owen

Donald Trump has been president for almost three weeks, and he has begun making his mark on environmental legislation. Here’s what he has already done and what he has promised to do.

  1. Trump appointed Oklahoma Attorney General, Edward Scott Pruitt, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 18. As a vocal and outspoken climate change denier, Pruitt is currently suing the Environmental Protection Agency and has been involved in 14 lawsuits against the organization to lessen environmental regulations.
  2. Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, was chosen by Trump to hold the position of Secretary of State on Feb. 1. During his time with Exxon Mobil, Tillerson was known for rejecting the use of renewable energy sources. As Secretary of State, he will serve as the ambassador between the United States and other nations. He is expected to advance drilling throughout the world.
  3. Despite months of protest from water protectors consisting of a combination of tribal members and environmentalists, Trump officially endorsed the Dakota Access Pipeline on Jan. 24. Trump assured the owners of the Keystone XL Pipeline that their proposal will be approved and encouraged them to re-submit their application after it was repeatedly denied during the Obama administration.
  4. An executive order was carried out by Trump on Jan. 20 that ordered the streamlining of environmental reviews for future high-priority infrastructure projects. The action instructs the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to fast track approval of these projects.
  5. On Jan. 24, a document written and published by Trump instructed the Secretary of Commerce to promote the use of U.S. made pipelines throughout the country.
  6. Trump has made promises to build a wall on the U.S. / Mexico border. Many environmentalists say it will cut off the flow of water and be detrimental to wildlife in the area. The construction of the proposed wall will also have a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions and will only serve to further the issue of climate change.
  7. Trump has discussed the possibility of putting an end to the Endangered Species Act on the grounds of hindered economic development. He said that the act has been unsuccessful in preserving wildlife, despite the National Wildlife Federation reporting that it successfully protects almost than 1,400 plants and animals.
  8. Proposals have been submitted by Trump to cut the EPA’s funding by up to one-third. Trump has already confirmed that he has full support of the Republican Party to back his proposals.
  9. Motions have been made by Trump to censor climate scientists and order government employees to cease all communication with the public unless approved by Trump’s political appointees.
  10. Trump plans to end former President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and replace it with the America First Energy Policy Plan. The America First Energy Policy Plan will push for elimination of climate regulations in order to refocus efforts on coal, oil and gas production.
  11. Trump mentioned the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact to cut emissions which was signed by almost 200 nations.

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