To the Editor:
People who think government should keep its hands off business will love this. Others who like clean air and water, not so much.
Donald J. Trump has fulfilled his campaign promises to roll back environmental regulations and allow businesses to do what they will. Much of the damage done will be hard to fix when a new administration takes over next year.
Deregulation tracking by Harvard and Columbia Universities documents the extent of the carnage. A few examples:
The Trump administration weakened limits on emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks, and rolled back rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals.
Most of the rollbacks were carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency, which repealed and replaced emissions rules for power plants and vehicles; weakened protections for more than half the nation’s wetlands; and withdrew the legal justification for restricting mercury emissions from power plants.
At the same time, the Interior Department has opened off-limits land for oil and gas companies by cutting back protected areas and limiting wildlife protections.
The Trump administration also...
Revoked a directive for federal agencies to minimize impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources when approving development projects.
Loosened offshore drilling safety regulations implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, including reduced testing requirements for blowout prevention systems.
Eliminated the use of an Obama-era planning system designed to minimize harm from oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks.
Harvard and Columbia cite more than 60 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise weakened. An additional 34 rollbacks are in progress.
The pandemic is being used as an excuse to rush changes through before the election.
The new administration running our country next year will have its hands full trying to mitigate the damage Donald J. Trump has done.