The 'Environmental Protection Agency' Under Trump

By Rachel Dranetz on October 6, 2017

This week, the Trump administration has announced plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which was enacted during Obama’s presidency and was the centerpiece of his fight against global warming.

The Clean Power Plan was originally designed to reduce greenhouse gas admissions from the power sector, in an effort to reduce climate-warming pollution. The plan enacted in 2015, required states to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 32% by 2030. However, President Trump argues that the carbon dioxide admission standards for power plants violated federal law, and “could” cost consumers as much as $33 billion- previously calling the plan “stupid” and “job-killing”.

The proposal- which the administration plans to reveal possibly sometime next week- comes months after Trump issued a directive for the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the Clean Power Plan. (The EPA’s current administrator is Scott Pruitt, a lawyer and politician from Oklahoma who was nominated into his current position by President Trump. Pruitt rejects the scientific consensus that human activity is a primary contributor to climate change.) However, it is becoming increasingly clear that such efforts are part of a larger project, “to obliterate his predecessor’s efforts to make combating climate change a top government priority.” (1: October 5, 2017)

“The 43-page document — expected to be unveiled in the coming days — fulfills a major campaign promise by President Donald Trump, who has attacked Obama’s rule as a job-killer, labeled man-made climate change a “hoax” and held a Rose Garden ceremony in June to announce his plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.” (3: October 6, 2017)


“We had a Clean Power Plan. What we’re getting is a Dirty Power Plan,” said David Doniger, senior attorney for climate and clean air at the Natural Resources Defense Council, adding that refusing to crack down on emissions could “leave tens of millions of Americans in greater danger from extreme weather and other climate impacts. And it will cause tens of thousands of early deaths and sicken hundreds of thousands more.” (1: October 5, 2017)


The Trump administrations new draft proposal works towards rolling back this plan, and sets the groundwork for new and presumably less strict regulations for the the nation’s power plants. And yet, in a copy of the proposed repeal, the EPA doesn’t actually offer an alternative plan for regulation greenhouse gases.

As it turns out this is a problem, because under a landmark agency determination, known as the endangerment finding, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Supreme Court has ruled that the agency is obligated to come up with an alternative plan for the Clean Power Plan, which the Trump administration is so eager to scrap altogether.

Even more worrying, is that to fill this void where the new plan should be, the agency has asked the public for ideas. You know things are bad, when the Environmental Protection Agency, who are supposed to be the nation’s most qualified and capable environmentalists, are asking the public for ideas on how to protect the environment.

“Brian Deese, who served as a senior adviser on climate change to Mr.Obama, said the EPA was buying time. Asking the public for ideas, he says, is what an agency does when it is uncertain about how to proceed. Consideration of a new regulation could take months or even years, he said.” (4: October 4, 2017)

The line between optimal economic profit and environment conservation was never and can never be drawn in the sand. The future of clean energy in the United States of America, is becoming more and more uncertain with every day that passes.






Rachel is an English (Editing, Writing, and Media) major doubling in Classical Civ. After she gets her degrees, she aspires to work mher way into editing and publishing, so that she can help bring new books into the world.

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