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“Trumptastrophe”: A “blueprint for destroying the planet.”

Donald Trump speaks at the Family Research Council
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Welcome to our weekly “Trumptastrophe” series that serves to remind us of the destructive policies, decisions, and actions we encountered during the Trump presidency and the threats that he and others in the MAGA movement still pose – and to keep those moments clear in our memory as we fight to defeat Republican extremists during the upcoming elections.

This week’s Trumptastrophe focuses on former President Trump and his administration’s efforts to roll back laws or regulations that were designed to protect our environment – choosing instead to favor policies that were harmful for our planet but favorable for businesses:

In June 2017, Trump’s first year in office, The Wall Street Journal noted that the EPA and Department of the Army were moving to rescind an Obama administration “waters of the United States” rule designed to protect rivers, streams, and wetlands from pollution. Four months earlier, Trump had signed an order requiring the EPA to review the rule, part of his administration’s effort to prioritize economic growth over environmental protection. “By reviewing the regulation, the administration can begin to pick it apart and weaken it,” CNN noted at the time.

The Trump administration did roll back the Obama rule as part of what the Associated Press called the administration’s “unwinding of hundreds of environmental and health regulations.” As the AP reported, environmental and public health advocates said the Trump rule “allowed businesses to dump pollutants into unprotected waterways and fill in some wetlands, threatening public water supplies downstream and harming wildlife and habitat.” Finalized in January 2020, the rule made it easier for builders and oil and gas drillers to fill in wetlands.

In the fall of 2020, The New York Times reviewed nearly 100 environmental rules being reversed by the Trump administration, reporting that “All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality each year, according to energy and legal analysts.”

A federal judge threw out the Trump rule in August 2021, saying the EPA had ignored its own findings; a Biden administration review that same year said the Trump rule had interfered with environmental protection.

In December 2022, the Biden administration finalized a new “waters of the United States” rule, one of the many administration efforts to “reinstate environmental protections that were dismantled by the Trump administration.” Jon Devine, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s director of federal water policy, said that repealing the Trump rule was a “smart move” that came during a time of “unprecedented attacks on federal clean water protections by polluters and their allies."

Attacks on regulations protecting the environment and health would skyrocket if Trump returns to the White House. The actions of his administration are clear evidence of that danger. In addition, the anti-environmentalist agenda laid out by former Trump administration officials and right-wing organizations in Project 2025 is so dire that columnist Will Bunch has called the project’s policies a "blueprint for destroying the planet.”

A Trump administration pursuing the Project 2025 agenda would seek to maximize fossil fuel production and put a stop to efforts to expand the role of renewable energy in our electrical grids. It would make regulation of harmful chemicals more industry-friendly, and revisit the EPA’s classification of PFAS—so-called “forever chemicals” now widespread in drinking water—as hazardous substances.

Structural changes to the EPA itself would have the effect of minimizing the authority of officials with scientific and technical expertise and putting all EPA decisions under the control of “a tight corps of political officials,” according to a former EPA official.

Gutting the EPA would be just one consequence of Project 2025’s overall goal of “institutionalizing Trumpism”—the words of Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts. As we concluded in an article on Project 2025 for Political Research Associates’ “The Public Eye” magazine:

"A returning President Trump or any president who adopts the Project 2025 agenda would undermine the ability of the federal government to regulate corporate behavior, promote worker safety and shared prosperity, protect the environment, and more. If the vision of Project 2025 is embraced by the next president, endorsed by the right-wing Supreme Court majority, and empowered by potential Republican-majority houses of Congress, Americans could soon find themselves living in a country where states’ rights further eclipse civil rights and voting rights, governments strictly enforce “traditional” family structures and gender roles, and corporations are freer to run roughshod over individuals and communities."

These are just some of the reasons we need YOU in this fight. So, find your favorite way to unwind after reading through this week’s recap, and then make a plan for how you will fight back this week, this month, this election cycle.