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The WH's Assault on the Environment

Pam Sornson

Posted on June 6, 2019 14:33

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It's not bad enough that this administration is ignoring climate change; it's also doing everything it can to increase America's toxic contributions to the problem.

Guduru Ajay Bhargava

Clean Air and Water Rules Repealed (or About to be)
As of this month, the White House has repealed or is in the process of repealing 84 environmental rules that had been implemented to protect the quality of the nation's air and water. Ostensibly done to remove regulations that restricted the actions of petroleum-product producers, the rules rollback will undoubtedly improve their financial fortunes, allowing them to increase their pollution emissions without reporting those actions. The administration intends to complete its reversal of all 84 rules by the end of this year.

49 Down; 35 To Go
Thus far, the White House has completed rollbacks of 49 environmentally related rules, including 12 related to infrastructure and planning; ten related to air pollution and emissions; nine on drilling and extraction; eight on animals; four on water pollutants; and three each on toxic substances and safety and 'others.' Assisting the alleged 'leader' in the process are the Department of Transportation (DoT) and the (now ironically named) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been gutted of its scientists in favor of a miscreant band of sycophants and former petroleum industry lobbyists.

The (now former) rules covered a variety of processes and locations and had been effective in maintaining the health of people, animals, and populations across the country. Without those controls in place, industries and agencies are now empowered to:

  • release toxins into both the air and water with no requirement to limit their volumes or report the release of those toxins to neighboring communities;
  • ignore their prior obligation to include GHG emissions in their exercise of environmental reviews (although several regional courts have determined that federal agencies are NOT relieved of this obligation), and
  • modify how the country calculates its social cost of carbon (SCC), which effectively reduces that number from approximately $50/tonne to between $1 and $7/tonne.

Changing the calculation of the SCC dramatically alters how the country evaluates the economic damages attributed to global warming and climate change, and thereby builds a false sense of security that the impending crisis isn't as bad as the rest of the world says it is. To make the change, the new calculation includes only U.S.-based data, not global data, as if somehow the quality of the planet's air and water magically cleanses itself as it enters American territories. Reducing the potential cost of damages caused by climate change also influences the risk/benefit analysis that both governments and companies make when developing new products or services, or implementing new service systems. If a new service possibility has little effect on existing environments (per the new SCC calculation), then it is easier to replace older, cleaner systems with the newer, more toxic option.

The fact that the Republican-led Senate is doing nothing to curtail these erosions of environmental protections only adds to the anger and frustration generated by the White House.

Pam Sornson

Posted on June 6, 2019 14:33

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The new final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)...

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