11 ways the Trump administration has gutted environmental and public land protections

  • The New York Times recently reported that the Trump administration is ramping up its efforts to deny the acceleration of climate change – and the government’s role in researching it.
  • Over the past two years, the EPA has aggressively tried to eliminate or roll back Obama-era environmental protection rules related to minimising pollution and mitigation of climate change.
  • Meanwhile, the US Department of the Interior has paved the way for an uptick in offshore drilling and drilling on previously protected public lands.
  • Here are 11 of the most notable ways the administration has given more free reign to polluting industries.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Last week, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration is ramping up its efforts to deny the acceleration of climate change – and the government’s role in researching it.

This latest push to minimise the federal government’s role in mitigating climate change will reportedly include defunding the National Climate Assessment, compiled every four years, after last year’s report predicted the US would suffer catastrophic ecological and economic consequences from climate change.

Under former EPA administrator Scott Pruit and his successor Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, the EPA has aggressively tried to eliminate or roll back Obama-era environmental protection rules related to minimising pollution and mitigation of climate change.


Read more:
The Trump administration is reportedly stepping up its war against climate science by forcing scientists to omit key details from a major report

While many attempted rollbacks have been blocked in court for not following proper administrative procedure, according to an analysis from the Washington Post, the administration is still de-regulating the oil, gas, and coal industries at a rapid pace.

Meanwhile, the US Department of the Interior has paved the way for an uptick in offshore drilling and drilling on previously protected public lands and national monuments, many of which President Donald Trump reduced in size with executive orders.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, National Geographic and The New York Times have been meticulously tracking regulatory rollbacks and changes to environmental policy under the Trump administration, with The Times counting 47 eliminated rules and 31 in the process of being repealed as of last December.

Here are 11 of the most notable ways the administration has given more free reign to polluting industries:


The Trump administration has proposed getting rid of an Obama-era clean emissions plan that aimed to cut carbon emissions by a third by 2030, partly on the basis that the plan “waged a war on coal.”

Sources:
White House,
National Geographic


The EPA also scrapped planned regulations on pollution from sewage plants, and proposed new guidance that reduced the number of waterways and other bodies of water protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act.

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, New York Times


The administration has also rolled back EPA and Interior Department regulations requiring methane emitters to reduce “flares” of methane pollution on protected public and tribal lands, and give companies more leeway in repairing leaks.

Source: University of Pennsylvania Regulatory Review


In a show of deference to the coal industry, the EPA has also gutted the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation requiring coal companies to minimise pollution of nearby waterways, including sources of drinking water.

Sources:Business Insider, NBC News


Pruitt also eliminated a previous regulation implemented by Obama requiring coal mine operators to prove they had the ability to clean up pollution, placing the burden of clean-up back on the government.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sources: The New York Times, The Guardian


The administration has also proposed phasing out Obama-era federal regulations on coal plants requiring them to reduce emissions of harmful mercury pollution.

Kengseraph/Shutterstock

Source:
NPR


In September 2018, the EPA announced they would no longer uphold a previous ban on the use of hydro-fluorocarbons — ultra-potent greenhouse gases — in appliances like refrigerators and AC units, prompting a lawsuit from several states.

Sources:EPA, New York Attorney General’s Office


The EPA has also pushed off compliance reviews for the 2015 Power Plant Water Pollution Rule, which sought to reduce water pollution emitted by steam electric power plants.

Source:
Business Insider


Last August, the administration also cut back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards that would have required most new cars to average 54 miles per gallon by 2025, reducing the target to 34 miles per gallon.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sources: National Geographic, CNBC


It’s not just the EPA that has rolled back environmental protection regulations. Under the Trump administration, the Department of the Interior approved offshore drilling in the Arctic, despite warnings from scientists that drilling would harm the environment and wildlife.

Source: New York Times


Trump has also signed executive orders significantly reducing the size of federally-protected national monuments including the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, opening up much of the land for oil drilling.

Bureau of Land Management/ FlickrThe 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Sources:New York Times, The Guardian

Read more:

What to know about Andrew Wheeler, who President Trump just nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency

The Department of Energy is now referring to natural gas as ‘freedom gas’

6 ways the Trump administration has tried to roll back environmental protections that keep US drinking water safe

Bill Nye is angrily telling everyone to get their act together and fight climate change: ‘The planet’s on f—ing fire’

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.