The Real Lowdown: The Congressional Republicans' Assault on Our Environment

After just three weeks on the job, Donald J. Trump is well on his way to becoming the most anti-environmental president—ever.

Call him “The Polluters’ President.”

He has moved aggressively to undermine commonsense health and environmental safeguards, including issuing an order requiring that for every new measure a federal agency puts in place to protect us from harm, two existing regulations must be repealed, regardless of the benefits they provide.

NRDC is fighting back.

With Public Citizen, the Communications Workers of America, and Earthjustice NRDC filed suit seeking to block Trump’s senseless two-for-one order. NRDC President Rhea Suh likened the executive order to a doctor declaring that we can’t find a cure for cancer unless we abandon vaccines for polio and smallpox.

NRDC has also gone to court to stop the administration from rolling back proposed limits on the public’s exposure to mercury, which is especially harmful to pregnant women, babies, and young children.

But Trump’s and the congressional GOP’s assault continues.

Pipelines

The Trump administration’s assault on the environment included giving the go-ahead for the Dakota Access oil pipeline, blithely shrugging off the concerns of Native American tribes about the project’s desecration of sacred burial sites and its potential to contaminate drinking water. Trump also revived the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, even though the project was already determined to be “not in the national interest.”

Rex Tillerson confirmation

The former ExxonMobil chief won Senate confirmation as secretary of state, joining a cabinet that will be dominated by fossil fuel cheerleaders and climate change deniers.

Stream protections

As early as next week, Trump is also expected to sign legislation repealing a rule designed to protect 6,000 miles of streams from contamination from coal mining.

Abolish the EPA

Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill to abolish the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So far, the bill has drawn three cosponsors. But House Republicans have previously passed bills that would effectively prevent the EPA (and every other agency) from doing its job. The most outrageous is the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval of all major rules, shutting down the regulatory system and returning the process for protecting Americans to that of the 19th century.

Methane pollution

Soon the Senate will take up the House-approved repeal of a commonsense rule that would reduce harmful methane pollution from oil and gas drilling on public land. Preventing the leaking and venting of methane would first and foremost protect people’s health. But it would also help taxpayers because the government would receive royalties on the natural gas that is available for use but is instead being allowed to pollute our skies.

Cabinet nominees

The Senate is expected to act soon on Trump’s nominees to head the Energy and Interior departments and the EPA. The president has chosen the worst nominee ever to lead the EPA, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, who has actively worked against the agency’s mission.

Additional threats

So far, Trump is proving to be as bad for the environment as we feared.

NRDC has prepared a list of the far-ranging threats. We will be vigilantly monitoring and reporting on the administration’s assault on the environment through Trump Watch.

Trump Watch: NRDC tracks the Trump administration’s assaults on the environment.

About the Authors

Blog Post

Budget cuts on our environment and health, rollbacks on clean cars, and more trouble for our climate.

Blog Post

From Trump's first step to undo the Clean Power Plan to issuing a free pass to pollute wildife refuges, it was a horrible week for the environment.

Join Us