Do you enjoy clear water and clean air? Then you’re probably not going to like the results of a recent executive order signed by President Donald Trump. On Thursday evening, the president signed a number of changes into law — effectively removing public notice on the environmental effects of large-scale public projects. If you’re concerned about the environment and have a bad feeling about this, you are not alone.
Writing at The Hill, Rebecca Beitsch offers more information on the president’s decision, and provides specifics about what would and would not be affected:
The order would slash the requirements in a number of landmark environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires rigorous environmental review before building new infrastructure like highways or pipelines.
The president cited economic reasons for the decision, which left many observers unconvinced. As Dharma Noor notes at Earther, Trump’s executive order is also likely to harm populations already at risk from COVID-19.
Corporations and governments alike are more likely to build polluting infrastructure in and around poor communities of color, from highways and toxic waste dumps to pipelines and coal, oil, and gas plants. This isn’t an unhappy accident: It’s based on a long, racist history of segregation.
The executive order is unlikely to go unchallenged. Already, Earthjustice has responded to it on Twitter with a commitment to fighting the maneuver in court.
The Trump administration has overstepped the President's authority once again to attack environmental protections. Earthjustice sued and won before and we'll sue them and win again. https://t.co/Icb5tD8hRP
— Earthjustice (@Earthjustice) June 5, 2020
This executive order is the latest disquieting move from an administration that’s shown little concern for environmental regulations. The fall’s election may well indicate whether or not it’s one of the last of its kind.
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