The Trump Administration Is Pulling the Teeth from Our Most Fundamental Safeguards

The regulations that protect Americans’ health, economy, and environment now need our protection.

Below is a transcript of the video.

(Soundbite of President Trump: This will be the largest-ever cut by far in terms of regulation.)

John Walke, Director, NRDC Clean Air program: I don't think people fully realize how radical the attacks are on the basic safeguards for clean air and clean water and safe food in this country right now. Regulations are facing attack in Washington by politicians in Congress and by the new Trump administration.

Let's start with the basics: The United States Congress passes legislation, sends it to the White House for the president to sign. If the president signs it, it becomes law.

Laws only have meaning if they are enforced and carried out. That's where regulations come in. Federal agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, issue and enforce regulations to carry out laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and safeguards for Americans' food and a safe environment.

Erik Olson, Director, NRDC Health program: You know when we go home, and we go into the kitchen, and we turn on the tap, we just assume that water is pure, and it's safe. When we go to the grocery store, and we buy some meat, or we buy some vegetables, we just assume that that's safe, and it's not going to make our families sick. Behind all that, is really regulation to make sure that we don't have contaminated tap water, that we don't have contaminated food.

Walke: Enforcing the law through effective regulations delivers enormous health benefits, as well as cost savings for Americans.

Every time the air is clean and harmful pollution is avoided, that means that Americans and their kids don't have to go to emergency rooms; it means they're not suffering bronchitis or asthma attacks.

President Trump has proposed the most extreme budget cut in EPA's history.

(Soundbite of President Trump: Should I give this pen to Andrew? Dow Chemical. Should I? I think maybe, right?)

Slashing the money it needs to enforce the law by over 30 percent and promising layoffs of employees across the agency.

Olson:  We've got to have strong rules, and we've got to have vigorous enforcement, and without that, our health and, in some cases, our lives are at stake. We have disease outbreaks from water contamination still occurring to this day because of shortcomings in enforcement and because of lack of regulation in some cases.

Walke: When there's no money, when there's no law enforcement, when there are no regulations necessary to uphold the law, then you're not committed to clean air and public health, you're not committed to clean water and public safety.

I'm sorry, that's just not the way it works.

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