“What we do now will define the fate of our planet!”
By Linn Smith
In July 2020 Donald Trump announced a revision of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), rolling back policies that protect our environment.
The arctic ice is melting, polar bears are losing their home and species are going extinct (and humans are on that list!), and in the midst of this, Trump is loosening environmental protection laws! In between bouts of record breaking heat and extreme weather, past conservation laws are being made obsolete by the Trump administration to make it “easier” for contractors and oil tycoons to do their job.
The National Environmental Policy Act
The revision of the NEPA environmental policy will no longer factor in the impact on our environment of a major project, such as pipelines, drilling and highway development. This policy rollback will unproportionately have a negative impact in areas of poverty which border many of the future projects, such as highways and oil storage fields. No longer will the environment and the quality of air surrounding these projects become a consideration.
The changing rules will allow companies in charge of the projects to make millions of dollars without regard for the people and wildlife dwelling in the surrounding areas. The companies involved will also play a major roll in evaluating the environmental impact of their own projects.
According to Thehill.com, the new EPA rules will, “Now require communities challenging a project to submit detailed, technical comments — something that could require hiring legal or scientific consultants.”
The Environmental Impact of NEPA
Sally Hardin, interim director of the Energy and Environment War Room at the Center for American Progress, explained the new rule this way: “When you’re evaluating a pipeline, you look just at the pipeline. But the oil transmitted through the pipeline that will get transported and burnt and elsewhere — you don’t have to consider the emissions from that. That’s really bad for climate change planning and for communities that are already overburdened by pollution. ”
The rollbacks will allow developers to sidestep preservation of the environment, although Trump’s administrative counsel said climate change can be considered in certain circumstances. This is a formality to appease environmentalists and easily swept under the rug. Trump argues that too much time is spent on studying the impact of a project!
Joe Biden’s Environmental Plans
Joe Biden’s plans, according to the Washington Post, calls for “carbon pollution free power by 2035 and retrofitting 4 million buildings in an environmentally friendly way ” Also, Biden plans to adopt an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the U.S. Department of Justice to hold corporate polluters accountable for their impact on our environment.
“We’ve run out of time to build new things in old ways,” says Rob Jackson, an earth system science professor at Stanford University and the chair of the Global Carbon Project. “What we do now will define the fate of the planet–and human life on it–for decades.”
2020 is the time to vote Trump out if you care about survival of our planet! Even if you do like some of his policies, our planet cannot tolerate 4 more years of rollback environmental practices! It may still be too late, but our planet certainly doesn’t have a chance if he is again elected as a world leader!
We’re running out of time! The earth is warming and extreme weather conditions will make many parts of the earth uninhabitable. We need everyone’s energy to make the changes necessary to avoid a global catastrophe and Trump and his administration have put money over survival of our planet!