Ahead of President Trump’s First Official State of the Union, Carper Highlights the “State of Our Environment” One Year In
New staff report highlights year-long efforts by EPA leadership to dismantle decades of environmental and public health protections and take the country ‘Basically Backward’
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released a comprehensive staff report summarizing actions taken by the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by Administrator Scott Pruitt, to undermine the core mission of the EPA and threaten fundamental protections for our environment and public health. The report, “Basically Backward: How the Trump Administration is Erasing Decades of Air, Water and Land Protections and Jeopardizing Public Health,” can be found here.
“In just one year, this administration has begun to systematically dismantle the environmental and public health protections Americans have relied on for a generation to protect their families from some of the most toxic, harmful pollutants known to man,” said Senator Carper. “Under Scott Pruitt’s leadership, EPA is moving basically backward to what our country looked like before we had a federal environmental protector – to a time when acid rain fell from the sky and the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Thanks in large part to the actions highlighted in this report that undermine the core mission of the EPA, ‘the state of our environment’ is not nearly as strong as it should be.”
The staff report highlights the systematic efforts of the Trump administration to undermine fundamental protections for our environment and public health. From nominating extremists to some of the highest posts in our government to willfully ignoring sound science and stripping the protections that keep millions of Americans safe, this administration has spent its first year reversing the progress our country – through both Democratic and Republican administrations – has made over decades:
Filling the Swamp
- Most of the political appointees selected by the Trump Administration to lead the nation’s environmental policy efforts have dedicated much of their careers to weakening or dismantling rules designed to protect America’s air, water and land. Many also have failed to address conflicts of interest by refusing to promise not to work on issues that they previously worked on at the behest of industry.
Erasing Clean Air, Clean Water and Chemical Safety Protections
- In just one year, EPA has repeatedly attempted to deregulate or delay its way out of protecting public health and the environment through a wide range of air, water and chemical safety regulatory roll-backs. Specifically, it proposed to repeal, announced a reconsideration or decided not to finalize part or all of at least 15 rules that were either in effect or far along in the rule-making process.
Dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency and its Support of State Environmental Programs
- The Trump Administration’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018 proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency by over 30 percent, larger than any other agency within the federal government. This proposed cut is on top of the more than 20 percent decline that EPA’s budget has seen over the last eight years. The cuts would bring the staffing level of the agency down to its lowest level since 1985.
No Environmental Cop on the Beat
- EPA has ratcheted back the initiation of environmental enforcement cases, reduced the penalties for environmental violations, made it harder for EPA career staff to request information from potential polluters and created barriers for community or other organizations who try to sue EPA to implement environmental protections.
Denying the Science and Silencing the Scientists
- The EPA has taken a broad approach of denying the science that forms the basis of sound environmental regulation and silencing the scientists who provide the agency with advice.
Undermining Protections for Species and Their Habitats
- President Trump and his Administration have consistently bowed to oil and gas interests in lieu of the public’s interest in protecting our nation’s iconic species and their habitats.