Donald Trump's Disastrous Environmental Record

Trump Rolled Back 100 Environmental Protections

Over Four Years as President Donald Trump eliminated, weakened, or rolled back approximately 100 environmental protections:

  • The New York Times analyzed the Trump record and found “nearly 100 environmental rules officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. More than a dozen other potential rollbacks remained in progress by the end but were not finalized by the end of the administration’s term.”
  • Protections against air pollution received the most attacks, with 28 separate rollbacks of rules for cleaner air
  • Trump rolled back 12 rules around “drilling and extraction” in an effort to benefit fossil fuel executives and hold back the transition to clean energy.

Trump’s EPA Ignored Experts On Climate Change And Stripped Evidence From Reports

Donald Trump Called Climate Change A “Hoax,” Even Though 97% Of Experts Agree That Human-Caused Climate Change Is Real.

  • Trump: “So Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and the – a lot of it’s a hoax.” [Campaign Rally in Hilton Head, South Carolina, C-SPAN, 12/30/15]
  • “97 percent of scientific experts agree that human-caused climate change is real.” [Washington Post, 4/15/16]
  • NASA highlighted the consensus of “97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists” who agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.” [NASA Global Climate Change, Vital Signs of the Planet]

The Trump Administration Drove Out Scientific Experts At The EPA.

  • Hundreds of scientists in the federal government were “forced out, silenced, or muted since president trump took office.” [Washington Post, 1/23/20]
  • Climate scientists at the EPA and Interior quit after being assigned to dismantle years of their own work by the Trump administration, which  “impeded research around human-caused climate change.” [New York Times, 12/28/19]
  • Nearly half the political appointees hired at the EPA under Trump through mid-2018 had industry ties, with many working as lobbyists or lawyers for chemical, fossil fuel, and other EPA-regulated companies. [Associated Press, 6/02/18]
  • Washington Post Headline: “Science ranks grow thin in Trump administration.” [Washington Post, 1/23/20]
  • Trump  “justified the layoffs of scientific experts as efficient”: “I’m a business person – I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/06/20]

The Trump Administration Scrubbed Mentions Of Climate Change From Its Websites And Stripped Evidence From Scientific Reports.

  • New York Times headline: “How much has ‘climate change’ been scrubbed from federal websites? A lot.” [New York Times, 1/10/18]
  • The Trump Administration stopped automatically including “worst-case scenario projections” of climate change impact in the National Climate Assessment and other scientific reports. [New York Times, 5/27/19]
  • An official at Trump’s Interior Department “inserted misleading language about climate change […] into the agency’s scientific reports.” [New York Times, 3/02/20]

Ignoring Climate Change And Air Pollution Put Our Health And Safety At Risk.

  • Washington Post Energy 202 headline: “Trump administration moves forward with looser air rules as respiratory disease grips U.S.” [Washington Post, 3/31/20]
  • CNN headline: “Air quality in US dramatically worse than in prior years, says New ‘State Of The Air’ report.” [CNN, 4/21/20]
  • Harvard scientists predicted that the EPA’s rollback of regulations on air pollutants and toxic chemicals under trump could lead to an additional 80,000 deaths per decade. [The Hill, 6/16/18]
  • CNN headline: “Exposure to polluted air is like smoking a pack a day, study says.” [CNN, 8/14/19]
  • American Lung Association: Particle pollution from vehicle exhaust and power plants can cause lung cancer, heart disease, and asthma attacks. [American Lung Association,6/21/16]
  • Top climate scientists say that the Trump administration’s moves to undermine U.S. action on climate change makes deadly storms more likely. [Politico, 9/19/18]
  • The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that 2020 will be the hottest year on record. [Guardian, 4/27/20]
  • Bloomberg headline: “Warmest oceans on record adds to hurricanes, wildfires risks.” [Bloomberg, 4/18/20]

Trump Gutted The EPA And Rolled Back Key Rules Protecting Our Clean Air And Water

The Trump Administration Dismantled Environmental Protections And Proposed Massive Cuts To The EPA.

  • CNN headline: “Trump’s dismantling of environmental regulations unwinds 50 years of protections.” [CNN, 1/25/20]
  • In the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency, “nearly 1,600 workers left The EPA, while fewer than 400 were hired.” [Washington Post, 9/08/18]
  • Trump proposed a 26 percent cut to the EPA, which “would eliminate 50 EPA programs and impose massive cuts to research and development, while also nixing money for the Energy Star Rating System.” [The Hill, 2/10/20]

The Trump Administration Rolled Back Obama-Era Clean Air And Water Protections, Including Gutting “The Government’s Biggest Effort To Combat Climate Change.”

  • The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era regulations on vehicle fuel efficiency standards, “relaxing efforts to limit climate-warming tailpipe pollution and virtually undoing the government’s biggest effort to combat climate change.” [New York Times, 3/30/20]
  • The new rule would have allowed cars “to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide” than they would have under the Obama standards. [New York Times, 3/30/20]
  • By the Trump Administration’s own estimates, the rollback of mileage standards would have lead to “more Americans dying from pollution, more climate-damaging tailpipe exhaust and more expense for drivers at the gas pumps.” [Associated Press, 3/31/20]
  • Politico headline: “Trump set to gut water protections.” [Politico, 1/14/20]
  • Associated Press headline: “Trump rollback could leave waterways vulnerable to pollution.” [Associated Press, 1/23/20]

Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Disproportionately Impacted Communities Of Color More Likely To Face Polluted Air And Unsafe Drinking Water.

  • The EPA found “that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air—even as the agency seeks to roll back regulations on pollution.” [The Atlantic, 2/28/18]
  • NBC News headline: “Unsafe water more prevalent in communities of color, study finds.” [NBC News, 9/30/19]
  • Black communities “are 54 percent more likely to be exposed to air pollution in the form of fine particulates” than the overall population. [State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, NYU School of Law, 6/19/19]
  • Center For American Progress: “Communities of color bear the brunt of Trump’s anti-environmental agenda.” [Center For American Progress, 2/27/20]

Trump Opposed Protecting Our Drinking Water From Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Donald Trump Opposed Plans To Clean Up “Forever Chemicals” Contaminating Water Around The Country, Including On Military Bases.

  • Newsweek headline: “White House announces Trump would likely veto bill regulating ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water.” [Newsweek, 1/07/20]
  • Trump Threatened To Veto A Defense Spending Bill That Addressed Combating PFAS Contamination. [Detroit Free Press, 7/10/19]
  • Salon Headline: “Virtually all major U.S. drinking water sources likely contaminated with PFAS.” [Salon, 2/02/20]
  • Environmental Working Group: “PFAS contamination of drinking water far more prevalent than previously reported,” detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S. [Environmental Working Group, 1/22/20]
  • PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down. [Washington Post, 2/14/19]
  • PFAS may have contaminated area groundwater at over 650 military sites in all 50 states, according to a Pentagon report. [McClatchy DC, 3/16/20]
  • NBC News headline: “A ‘forever chemical’ contaminates drinking water near military bases.” [NBCNews, 12/16/19]

PFAS Are Linked To Health Problems Including Cancer And Birth Defects.

  • PFAS “are linked to an array of health problems, including immune deficiencies, liver and kidney problems, birth defects and cancer.” [Capital Times, 4/24/20]
  • According to the CDC, studies have shown that exposure to PFAS may “increase the risk of some cancers.” [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1/21/20]
  • Research “suggests that exposure to PFAS chemicals might suppress the immune systems of young children, potentially making vaccines less effective.” [WBUR, 11/08/19]

Trump Ignored Medical Experts And Used The Coronavirus Crisis To Further Dismantle Environmental Regulations For Industry Polluters

Trump Downplayed The Coronavirus Crisis And Ignored Experts, Leaving The Nation Unprepared For The COVID-19 Pandemic. He Even Called The Coronavirus A “Hoax.”

  • CNN headline: “Trump disregards science as chaos overtakes coronavirus response.” [CNN, 4/23/20]
  • Trump said coronavirus was Democrats’ “new hoax.” [CNBC, 2/28/20]
  • New York Times headline: “The President vs. the experts: how Trump played down the coronavirus.” [New York Times, 3/18/20]
  • Trump showed “brazen willingness to distort and outright defy expert opinion and scientific evidence” on the coronavirus. [New York Times, 4/05/20]
  • Associated Press headline: “US ‘wasted’ months before preparing for coronavirus pandemic.” [Associated Press, 4/06/20]
  • “The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault.” [The Atlantic, 4/07/20]
  • Trump disbanded the National Security Council’s pandemic response team, leaving the country more vulnerable to COVID-19. [Reuters, 3/25/20; Los Angeles Times, 4/06/20]

Trump’s EPA Suspended Enforcement Of Numerous Environmental Protections During The COVID-19 Pandemic, Saying It Won’t Seek Penalties Against Companies That Break Air And Water Pollution Rules.

  • Trump’s EPA “waived enforcement on a range of legally mandated protections, saying industries could have trouble complying with them during the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/27/20]
  • The Trump administration said it would allow “power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution” and will not seek penalties against companies that violate pollution rules. [New York Times, 3/26/20; Vox, 3/29/20]
  • Guardian headline: “Trump administration allows companies to break pollution laws during coronavirus pandemic.” [Guardian, 3/27/20]
  • The EPA stopped enforcing numerous rules on air pollution and water quality. [Los Angeles Times, 4/25/20]