In between him hammering clean coal and bickering incessantly with the moderators, Trump gave us an idea what his environmental policy will be — and it starts with eliminating the EPA.
I guess that’s a sound environmental policy — if you don’t care about the environment and the people who live in it, I mean.
The Environmental Protection Agency was created by Richard Nixon in 1970, beginning a long trend of Republicans turning against their own ideas after those ideas proved helpful. The EPA is a government agency tasked with protecting the environment, as you might guess.
Of course, they’re not spectacular at their job. I mean, look at all the instances of lead in the water, right? If the EPA were any good, then they’d be doing their job. It’s a fine point, except that the EPA is underfunded and the Republicans are the reason it’s underfunded.
This is actually a continuation of the idea that the government can’t work, so let’s just cut the funding and prove it can’t. It’s how the rich justify paying less in taxes at the end of the day, while suckers who can’t read between the lines trust them.
Consider one of the most recent failings of the EPA — Flint, Michigan, which briefly gained notoriety on the national stage because of the lead crisis. I’ve argued before the EPA isn’t truly to blame for that and the real cause was Republican policy. The EPA, however, did not perform spectacularly.
And given that their funding is blocked, it can’t be a surprise. Agencies don’t run on wishful thinking and good vibrations; they require funding.
Shortly before the first debate, Trump made a trip to Flint, Michigan, to discuss the lead crisis. His arrival more than a year too late had everyone scratching their heads, but nobody was shocked when he took what was supposed to be a moment to speak about the lead in the water to rail against Clinton. If it was clear then he didn’t care about the lead crisis, it should be crystal clear now.
His move to repeal the EPA would create multiple lead crises like Flint, Michigan, especially in poorer areas where nobody is willing to invest money and nobody cares if you cut corners, endangering the lives of the people who live there. Flint proved this already. This isn’t a hypothetical. I am not speaking about an abstract possibility; Republican policies already caused this once.
The EPA didn’t perform great, but that’s because their funding is blocked. What makes you think that getting rid of them is going to keep problems like this from happening?
Trump commented that the EPA hurts energy companies. That’s bullshit; the top ten energy companies in the world have seen their profits increase tenfold since 2007. If the EPA is hurting them, they’re doing a bad job of it. The problem with the EPA is that it keeps these companies from dumping waste anywhere, from precious ecosystems to your own backyard.
Remove the EPA, and what’s stopping them? Not Trump’s charisma, that’s for sure. That’s just as fictional as his replacement for Obamacare. And certainly not any care or thought for you. So remind me why this is a good policy again, because where I’m standing, it’s the definition of “terrible.”
Feature image via screen capture