Despicable Acts of Trump Administration to Worsen Environmental Laws are Wreaking Havoc

The reign of Donald Trump has been a nightmare for wildlife and environmental protections in the United States of America. President Trump’s administration has pursued a campaign of deregulation, undoing or weakening numerous laws and policies set in place by Trump’s predecessors to protect threatened species and the environment. During his time in office, Trump has taken many actions against the environment, without a semblance of thought.

President Trump has been a longtime opponent of taking action against climate change, as it is evidenced from his accusations that the phenomenon is a hoax fabricated by China to his decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement.

There is no doubt that Trump is a big climate change denier. He has a lot of things to say on so many urgent problems, but without ever thinking twice before opening his mouth. Apparently, he thinks that scientists are just trying to make money by propagating their global warming theory.

Acts of Trump Administration against Environment are Pure Dreadful

Trump at a rally holding a sign saying “Trump dig coal” | Image: Dominick Reuter/AFP

Trump gives many reasons for his absurd beliefs and attitude towards climate change, but one thing is crystal clear; he clearly doesn’t understand the science behind it. And he actually gets confused between climate and weather – his wintertime tweets scoffing over climate change and global warming exhibit his absolute lack of basic knowledge.

According to The New York Times, the Trump administration has rolled back more than 95 environmental regulations, often citing them as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses. Many of the rollbacks have been carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has incapacitated Obama-era limits on various environment-harming activities including carbon emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks; removed protections from over half the country’s wetlands; and withdrawn the legal justification for restricting mercury emissions from power plants.

Trump against Environment

In 2016, Trump said that during his first 100 days in office, he would “rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including” his landmark climate regulations, “cancel the Paris Climate Agreement” and “stop all payments of US tax dollars to UN global warming programs.”

And, soon after entering the White House, he signed an executive order rolling back key Obama-era limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Then pulled the US out of the historic Paris Agreement, while stating that countries like India and China are responsible for most of the carbon emission, and the US shouldn’t pay for climate action – and well, why should America, one of the world’s biggest economy, pay for climate action? Come on, this economy is one the cleanest and greenest of all with its relentless use of fossil fuels and continued exploitation of non-renewable natural resources.

The Trump administration has treaded on a path for environmental destruction since day one. Policies that hurt wildlife and the environment have included bustling a complex compromise to conserving sage grouse, plowing through wilderness areas to build a border wall (what is even the point of that thing?), and removing gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

The administration further weakened the Endangered Species Act with the announcement of changes in 2019, and there was no consideration for the impact of climate change in the recommendations made for species conservation.

The pattern of environmental destruction has continued even in the final hours of Trump’s presidency. Before leaving office, Trump and his team have made it more difficult to establish “critical habitat”, specific geographic areas set aside for species’ survival under the act. The Trump administration has undertaken many dreadful actions against wildlife and the environment, undoing all the protection and preservation work done in the past.

Acts of Destruction

The recent midnight decisions have negatively affected all threatened and endangered species, but some species have been deeply impacted than others. Many actions were undertaken by the Trump administration in recent weeks to further the agenda of more easily exploiting natural resources. Here are the most despicable actions against wildlife and the environment by the Trump administration.

✦  The Clean Power Plan was one of the remarkable environmental policies of the Obama administration. It needed the energy sector to reduce carbon emission by 32 percent by 2030, but in October 2017, Trump’s EPA dismantled the plan by stating that it created unfair burdens on the power sector and was a “war on coal.”

Acts of Trump Administration against Environment are Pure Dreadful

A cartoon illustration of Trump undoing the Clean Power Plan | Image: Paresh Nath/The Khaleej Times, UAE

✦  The administration approved five companies to use seismic air gun blasts to search for underwater oil and gas reserves. While the environmentalists warned against the deafening blasts by arguing these blasts disorient marine mammals that use sonar to communicate and kill plankton, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved the use of these blasts saying that it would not violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

✦  In 2018, the Trump administration announced the Endangered Species Act will be altered as more weight would be put on economic considerations when designating an endangered animal’s habitat.

✦  The Northern Spotted Owl, a federally threatened species, lives only in the old-growth forests on the US West Coast. Recently the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it had removed 3.5 million acres from Northern Spotted Owl critical habitat, which environmentalists fear could lead to logging in these areas.

✦  Another blow to wildlife protection came when the USFWS declined to list wolverines as threatened. Only around 300 wolverines have remained in the Western US, in part because they rely on dwindling snow reserves to den, hunt, and store food. Despite this considerably low population and worryingly shrinking habitat, the government doesn’t seem bothered with the protection of this species.

✦  The most outrageous and despicable act by this administration has been the selling of oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a vast expanse of pristine habitat on Alaska’s North Slope and is home to large populations of caribou, polar bears, and many other species. Politicians have waged a long battle for the right to drill for oil there and on January 6, the Trump Administration successfully pushed to open a sale for oil leases on more than one million acres of the refuge.

✦  It comes as yet another blow to the conservationists as Arizona’s Oak Flat – a picturesque mountainous area in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest that is home to diverse plants and animals including the endangered hedgehog cactus – is slated to be transferred to a mining company. Oak Flat is considered sacred to tribes in the region and the action has been met with criticism. But, many are fighting the controversial move.

✦  Since 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has been protecting the avian species, according to which it was illegal to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, or kill… in any manner, any migratory bird.” Even when companies accidentally inflicted harm to such birds, they have been required to pay heavy fines.

However, Trump Administration has changed the way this law was enforced. On January 5, 2021, the administration settled a rule specifying not to prosecute or fine companies or individuals for accidentally killing birds. Experts fear that this alteration in the rule greatly weaken protections for birds at a time when many species are already in decline.

✦  The erection of a large border wall between the US and Mexico are other decisions that have outraged the environmentalists The majority of these border areas previously had only short barriers, such as barbed wire fences or vehicle barriers. But the new wall prevents animals like mountain lions from moving across the border, which will impede gene flow and could lead to local extinction.

On January 12, Mr. Trump gave a speech in Alamo, Texas, celebrating the completion of 450 miles of a border wall along the southern US border. The wall, which continues to grow rapidly, has transformed the landscape and disrupted wildlife habitats. Moreover, wall construction requires large amounts of water and has drained already stressed desert aquifers.

These actions have caused irreversible damage, such as the draining of desert aquifers for the border wall and habitat fragmentation. Although people are hopeful that Trump’s successor might be able to stop some of these actions working against wildlife and the environment, many are skeptical that any further changes will bring any sort of respite to the ravaged lands.

A string of Idiotic Remarks

Donald Trump has regularly aired his doubts over climate change. He even called it a “hoax”, suggesting that it could change back again, and blamed countries like India, China, and Russia for polluting air and water.

It came as no surprise when Mr. Trump’s Twitter handle was suspended owing to his supremely idiotic and silly remarks. Starting in 2012, a string of stupid, ignorant, arrogant, and full of denial comments has infuriated the educated and wise people across the world for nearly a decade now.

Acts of Trump Administration against Environment are Pure Dreadful

Here is an infographic of Trump’s irresponsible climate change tweets | Image: BBC

And those who think him wise should ask themselves “what sort of a leader starts a Twitter feud with a teenager (Greta Thunberg)?” His petty behavior toward the teenage climate activist has shown nothing but his foolishness and ignorance. Or maybe ignorance really is bliss for him, who knows?

Over the past decade, his long series of tweets on global warming and climate change has accused scientists, Chinese, and almost everyone who agrees with the existence of this phenomenon of propagating a hoax. What is even funnier, that he has often contradicted his own words.

Mr. Trump has a controversial way of indicating his views on climate change through his multitude of tweets and statements. In his words, climate change is “mythical”, “nonexistent” and “an expensive hoax,” but also, subsequently, it is a “serious subject” that is “very important to me.”

It is like “Shut up! And get a hold of your thoughts, man.”

A Walk Away from Turmoil

To sum it up, Trump and his administration were of the opinion that wildlife and the environment aren’t as important as the continued flow of money to their pockets. After all, shutting down businesses known for their highest carbon footprint, and shifting to green energy was out of the question for this government;  and apparently, climate change was a ploy of the Chinese to take over the US as the leading world economy.

To think that the US – one of the biggest economies and a country brimming with wildlife was in hands of such an irrational person is truly frightening. The disturbing acts of the Trump administration against the environment and wildlife have devastatingly undone all conservation work done by Trump’s predecessors.

Hopefully, Mr. Biden will bring a new chapter in US history after the debacles of Donald Trump, and implement rules that are not only just to the human race but to all species and for the environment, altogether.

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