JOHANNA M. COSTIGAN, CO-EDITOR IN CHIEF | January 24, 2017
On his first day in office, Trump replaced the whitehouse.gov climate change policy report with his “America First Energy Plan,” which boasts loosening regulations and prioritizing business advancement over environmental protection.
Yesterday, Trump ordered a “media blackout” on the Environmental Protection Agency, preventing EPA workers from posting to social media or speaking to reporters.
Today, Trump reopened negotiations on the Dakota and Keystone XL pipelines. His explanation for this decision was as eloquent as ever: “From now on, we’re gonna start making pipeline in the United States. We build it in the United States, we build the pipelines, we wanna build the pipe.”
It seems that to those listeners who are waiting to hear certain nationalistic buzzwords, such as, “build it in the United States” and “America first,” this kind of explanation might be enough. But how many people are there in this country who require that base level of analysis in order to get on board with plans that will not only fail to protect, but will actively threaten, the environment in which we all live? Again, Trump’s language simultaneously plays a major role in amassing his support and leaves a wide gap where reason should be.
The transition from President Obama (who is inarguably intelligent, and more importantly, actively thoughtful) to our current president should be tough, or at least jarring, to accept for Democrats and Republicans alike. He’s making major decisions, through executive orders, yet providing the public with next to no explanation. An important question to ask is: would we be complacent with this kind of behavior from any other president, or are our standards for him so low that he gets away with these kinds of failures with relatively little criticism?
In regards to his views on environmental regulations, Trump said, “…We’re going to either give you your permits or we’re not gonna give you your permits. But you’re gonna know very quickly. And generally speaking, we’re gonna be giving you your permits. So we’re gonna be very friendly.”
Translation: you’re getting permits. No matter who you are, what you hope to develop, how extensively you want to harm the environment, you can look forward to “friendliness” from Trump and those behind him. Comforting words for those of us who were planning on living on this planet for longer than Trump’s estimated 10-15 remaining years.
Perhaps the most delicious, if also disheartening, comment made (today, January 24) regarding the protection of the Earth was that he is a “very big person” on environmental issues who has “received awards on the environment.”
Congratulations. I hope those awards came with some unbelievably huge trophies, because any human being with the slightest capacity for critical thinking will not be sending any cash prizes his way. If you care about surviving, don’t waste time trying to find something to trust in this man’s words. Interact with reasonable individuals on a local level. Usurp Trump’s narrow-minded ignorance not by going above him, but by going under him.