The Real Lowdown: The Trump and Congressional Republican Assault on Our Environment, Vol. 13

A day that will go down in history as the time America turned its back on the world, plus more climate denial and attacks on our health from the EPA.
President Trump returns to the Oval Office after announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.
Credit: Sipa USA via AP

A day that will go down in history as the time America turned its back on the world, plus more climate denial and attacks on our health from the EPA.

He’s under pressure for any significant legislative successes this year, under investigation over ties to Russia and underwater, deep, in his poll standings.

So, what does President Trump do?

He says goodbye to American jobs, innovation, science, credibility, and our standing in the world. And sticks his fingers in the eyes of hundreds of major U.S. companies, mayors, elected officials, millions of Americans, and many countries that support worldwide efforts to rein in the dangers of climate change.

Trump did so from the sun-dappled White House Rose Garden on June 1 by announcing he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, the global accord approved by virtually the whole world to combat the dangers of climate change.

Trump suggested he’s open to renegotiating a “better deal.” Maybe from the lawn of his Florida Mar-a-Lago home as the seas rise?

It’s questionable that other countries, having been snubbed today, will help Trump recover tomorrow from the “grave mistake” he’s made, said NRDC president Rhea Suh. “It’s on the rest of us now,” she added, “state and local officials, business leaders, citizens, educators, consumers, activists, and congressional members who grasp the stakes for our future: to keep the promise of Paris alive.”

With Congress on break this past week, Trump and his team continued an assault on our health and environment with unreserved verve.

What Does Abandoning Paris Mean?

NRDC experts analyzed the impact of Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal and found the reckless decision will undermine our international standing; transfer leadership on climate action to China and India; and put more than a million clean energy jobs at risk. More of their analysis will be posted here.

Fake news: Trump Says Paris Hurts Jobs or the Economy

Despite the fact that 1,100 companies worth more than $3 trillion defended Paris for its economic benefits, Trump tried to justify his decision by serving up a platter of distortions and lies, which were immediately debunked by fact checkers at the Washington Post (“Fact-Checking President Trump’s Claims on the Paris Climate Change Deal”) and the New York Times (“Trump, Prioritizing Economy Over Climate, Cites Disputed Premises”).

NRDC has also weighed in on Trump’s use of a Chamber of Commerce–backed study claiming the Paris deal would hurt the U.S. economy and jobs. NRDC analysts showed that study inflated costs, ignored benefits, and overlooked the enormous potential for energy efficiency and renewable power to thrive, creating jobs and reducing pollution.

Scott Pruitt: The Power Behind the Paris Curtain

Who was that man at the Rose Garden podium cheering Trump on for lacerating the Paris Agreement?

None other than Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, key climate denier and polluter ally who reportedly had a big hand in running away from fighting the central environmental challenge of our time.

Perhaps that’s expected because Pruitt—now passing 100 days in office—has spent most of his time meeting with dirty energy interests, his Twitter postings reveal. His predecessor, Gina McCarthy, posted her daily schedule on the EPA’s website, and it was full of meetings with a wide array of stakeholders, according to news reports.

Pruitt’s EPA Waffles on Air Pollution

Rather than try to reduce air pollution, the EPA has asked a court to reduce its burden to clean up the air. On May 30, the agency appealed a court order requiring it to complete overdue reviews of emissions from foundries and other industrial sources.

NRDC Sues Over Dismantling Methane Safeguards

NRDC also announced it was going to court—against the EPA. On May 31, NRDC said it would seek to block the Trump administration from suspending standards curbing methane leaks from oil and gas operations. Methane puts thousands of Americans at risk of asthma and cancer and is a major contributor to climate change.

“The Trump administration is giving its friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue polluting our air,” said David Doniger, head of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Air program.

NRDC is challenging the 90-day stay Pruitt issued to halt Obama-era federal methane leak detection requirements set to go into effect June 3.

What Climate Change?

If you get rid of the words climate change, you make the problem go away. That seems to be the Trump administration’s view as it continues scrubbing references to climate change from government websites. The Guardian posted a series of side-by-side images of pages under the Obama administration and changes made in what Doniger calls the Trumpocene.

That’s this week’s “Real Lowdown.” In this era in which our health and environment are under assault by Trump and congressional Republicans, NRDC has prepared a list of other far-ranging threats. And we’re vigilantly reporting on the administration’s attack on the environment through Trump Watch.


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