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Rolling back green regulations

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The Trump administration continues to pull back on environmental protections

Climate change’s continuing and potentially lasting effect on Earth, as has been the scientific consensus for over 30 years, is currently evading attention from the U.S. government. This evasion has led to 85 regulations put in place by several previous presidents, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, being rescinded by President Donald Trump’s administration. Regardless of these circumstances, however, these eliminations of environmental laws could have dire consequences for America’s role in an eco-friendly future.

A New York Times article entitled “Curbs on Methane, Potent Greenhouse Gas, to Be Relaxed in U.S.” illustrates the potential effects of the administration’s actions. The relaxation on methane ordinances is remarkable in that major energy companies have expressed disagreement with the policy, despite it technically benefiting them. This is not the only policy they have opposed, however, as various other proposals have attracted the negative attention of auto companies and other industry titans for being too harmful to the environment.

Mark DiMaggio, a retired PRHS science teacher of 33 years, offered his take on how protecting the environment affects him personally.

“I feel so passionately about this because my first grandchild was born two weeks ago, and I’m deeply concerned about the world she’s going to inherit and the life she’s going to have. If we don’t deal with climate change, species loss, and the decline of the oceans… I just don’t see anybody having a very decent life.”

Nevertheless, this contentious issue is not the first of its kind. Since early 2017, President Trump’s government has removed as many as 85 environment-related regulations, some more prominent than others. Included in the list is the planned withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, shrinking national parks for oil drilling, and weakening protections for endangered species. 

Regarding the relaxed regulations, critics have often panned Trump and his White House allies for what they see as dangerous and actively ignoring climate change. Meanwhile, Trump and his allies defend his actions as beneficial for people such as coal miners and other fossil fuel workers. For instance, in April, when he was about to sign an executive order entitled “Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth,” Trump defended it by saying, “Too often, badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special-interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies, and radical activists. The two executive orders that I’ll be signing will fix this, dramatically accelerating energy infrastructure approvals.”

Despite the controversy, the rollbacks continue — and with the various regulations repealed so far, including clean water laws, habitat protection, methane emission guidelines, and more, the Trump administration has no plans to halt their present environmental policies.

Mark DiMaggio, retired PRHS science teacher and concerned new grandfather

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