EPA and Trump

THE ISSUE

  • Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, has plans to change to the organization.
  • A bill to abolish the EPA, authored by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, is drawing co-sponsors from the GOP-controlled Congress.
  • Public statements and leaked documents indicate Pruitt and the Trump administration’s aim to reduce authority, decrease staff, and halt efforts to fight greenhouse gas emissions.

WHY IT MATTERS

Each state is unique in terms of their environmental needs, and some could be better at regulating than others. Illinois, for example, generated half of its electricity through nuclear energy, which produces zero emissions. However, they were still subject to clean air rules under the EPA. With this example, giving states the power to regulate environmental policies would make sense. However, delegating this power to states could help some, but hinder others. Poorer states may have less funding, which means less resources available to protect the environment, and consequently, to protect the health of its constituents.

  • ANTI-EPA: “Swim at your own risk”

    • Economy:  EPA regulations are a hindrance to job creation.
    • Hindrance:  The agency has stifled the coal industry’s opportunity and job creation.
    • Methods:  EPA uses science and fear to command and control regulation.
    • State vs Federal:  The majority of EPA employees operate through state agencies, negating the need for more federal level employees.
    • Advancements:  The nation has the technology to deal with increasing temperatures.
    • Reporting:  EPA should be more transparent to the public.

     

  • PRO-EPA: “Keep off the grass!”

    • Majority rules:  The public sides with the EPA.
    • Enforcement:  The push to transfer the EPA’s regulatory power to states could increase, but funding to enforce rules could decrease.
    • Decreased legislation:  Pruitt is likely to attack environmental standards put in place under the Obama Administration, which could include the Clean Power Plan and higher fuel economy standards for vehicles.
    • Prior commitments: Decreasing regulations could hinder the nation in meeting its commitments to the Paris Climate agreement.
    • Rising Temps:  2016 was officially the hottest year to date

WHERE WE ARE NOW

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

  • Federal vs. State power—which is better in this context?
  • How will the United States be affected if it cannot meet commitments to the Paris Climate agreement?