Plans for Climate Change

Plans for Climate Change

Kaitlin Lee, Writer

Already, the Trump Administration has shown lax regulations regarding the environment. President Donald Trump has given the green light for the North Dakota Pipeline to continue despite the health risks that will come with it and claimed that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing for a 25% reduction in its budget.

The new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has declined to comment whether he will forbid EPA scientists from researching the human influence on climate change. He has stated that it will not be prioritized over other work, saying that scientists’ missions will be focused on rule-making, and that there needs to be more debate on how human contact has impacted the climate.

“We have many priorities at the agency. We must focus on those,” Pruitt told CNN.

Pruitt has expressed that he is comfortable with the budget cuts for the EPA. He has also stated that infrastructure grants for states, which account for half of the agency’s spending, would still be protected.
“The focus will be on making sure that the states are adequately funded with water infrastructure and these grant proposals,” he explained. “We’ll work through the budgeting process to protect those dollars.”

However, he has neglected to say specifically what would be cut out if not states’ grants, only saying that the debates over funding with Congress were beginning. He would also only mention that pulling back EPA regulations would be “our focus in the near-term”.

In the past, as Oklahoma’s former attorney general, Pruitt exchanged emails with fossil fuel firms and electrical utilities on how to combat the government ‘s environmental regulations. Although Pruitt has defended himself, saying that it “was about the state’s interest, not on behalf of any particular industry or any particular business”, it is concerning that the new head of the EPA has expressed a sense of closeness to these areas, as the fossil fuel and electricity industries have proven to be harmful to the environment.

Countless environmental groups have been quick to criticize Pruitt, saying that his closeness to these businesses will put them over the health and safety of the people. “This is Scott Pruitt’s mission statement: attack environmental safeguards, protect industrial polluters and let the public pay the price,” stated Rhea Suh, resident of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As the year goes on, only time will tell what Pruitt will allow the EPA to do, and what the lessened funding for the agency will mean for the future of the U.S.

Photo courtesy of WORDPRESS.COM