The Trump Administration’s understated attack on environmental regulation could have more impact than some of its higher-profile actions.
Today we have an EPA Administrator who is willfully and aggressively deregulating elements of environmental protection. We need to resist federal cutbacks in environmental protection policies and programs, while also continuing to keep our eye on the daily, operational tasks of creating sustainable economy.
While I see little hope of modernizing the environmental regulatory structure under the current regime, last week provided some hope that the U.S. Senate won’t allow our environmental laws to be dismantled.
Trump’s proposed budget includes an effort to shrink funding for university-based science research and the national labs run by the Department of Energy. Research on fundamental earth systems science is also cut as is funding for state environmental agencies and national environmental emergency response.
While federal support for new technology and infrastructure would be helpful, there is another approach that can also be effective. We should focus on modernizing our state and local energy systems. By modernizing the energy system we can reduce the costs and environmental impact of our energy use.
The right wing attack on environmental regulation is a fundamental political mistake. Conservatives are correct in assuming that Americans mistrust big organizations and powerful institutions, but they should remember that the public counts on these powerful organizations to protect them.