One might assume the head of the Environmental Protection Agency would be a bit upset at the prospect of having to slash their budget by a full third, or that President Trump was planning to remove many protections that were put in place during the Obama era as a result of significant scientific evidence that the protections needed to be in place. However, on the morning that Trump was scheduled to make a visit to the EPA, its administrator, Scott Pruitt, sent out an email with a subject line that read “Our Big Day Today”. Thousands of employees at the EPA received the email.
In general, the email discussed the visit from Trump so he could sign an executive order regarding the agency on its premises. Trump already proposed cutting the budget of the EPA by one third, and he plans to have the agency completely dissolved by the end of 2018. The executive order Trump signed was aimed at undoing protections put in place while former President Obama was in office.
The situation caused some ire in the agency. Some of the higher-ranking employees at the EPA were strangely in favor of all this, while many of the actual scientific staff members remained resolute in their resolve that these protections are based on science, and that removing them isn’t an affront to Obama or the free market, but to the Earth itself. Ryan Jackson, the chief of staff at the EPA, who was chosen by Pruitt, said that the United States shouldn’t have to choose between economic development and protecting the environment, as if there were some way to allow coal-mining and oil-drilling that would be equally beneficial to the environment as not doing it at all.
What Jackson fails to realize is that his statement is accurate, and green energies are the way to spur economic growth without worrying about harming the environment. Green energies are exactly what the protections removed by Trump were meant to encourage, but those in the coal and oil industries didn’t like that outcome. Unfortunately, those industries also have the biggest checkbooks.
Few people wanted to attend the signing of the executive order at the EPA since the majority of their senior employees were more attached to the truth than to Trump. Many resigned in protest, while others were merely left frustrated and knowing they would soon meet a similar fate, whether by their own choice or otherwise. One career employee, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, called the signing of the executive order at the EPA headquarters a direct insult. Many employees wore buttons with the words ‘scientific integrity’ printed on them.
Of course, Trump wasn’t focused on those employees. He was more focused on the members of his Cabinet that had joined him for the signing, along with several representatives from the oil and coal industries that were so violated during the Obama administration’s years in power. Pruitt stated that regulations at the EPA would not pick winners or losers, apparently regardless of the winner’s affect on the environment, which is supposed to be what his agency protects.
President Trump spent the majority of his time at the EPA praising the industries of manufacturing, pipeline-building, and coal-mining, claiming that his newly-signed executive order would end the unfair theft of prosperity from Americans while also rebuilding the country itself. That’s quite a bold statement coming from someone who believes climate change was a myth created by the Chinese. Is it possible that Trump only believes that because it fits his corporate and capitalist narrative? If manmade climate change does’t exist, the free market can completely forget regulations related to it. That, apparently, means all protections for the environment must go.