Down to his final 36 days in office, President Trump continues his frantic efforts to finalize as much environmental damage as possible before his term ends on January 20.
One of the administration’s most important post-election anti-environmental rule changes was finalized last week. The new rule attempts to lock in a requirement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must consider all of the economic costs of controlling an air contaminant, while ignoring any of the indirect benefits of cutting that pollution. This means the incoming Biden Administration may need to reverse this perversion of the cost-benefit analysis process before it can fix multiple other damaging changes to air pollution laws which are a threat to public health.
Regarding this change, national League of Conservation Voters Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol Browning said, “As the Trump administration walks out the door, they are doing everything they can to bake in their anti-science approach of the last four years and make it as hard as possible for the new Administration to restore science-based decision making to the EPA mission and public health and environmental protection. Their decision today to exempt real world benefits from clean air protection is contrary to that mission and moving forward with this decision will only exacerbate efforts to cut dangerous pollution in the future and artificially exaggerate cost estimates for industry compliance. It’s a massive favor to industry in the final days of this administration and it will cost lives and impact health in vulnerable communities, especially communities of color that traditionally bear the brunt of pollution impacts.”
According to a Washington Post tracker, the Trump Administration has now weakened or eliminated at least 134 environmental safeguards during its mere four years in office. At least another 49 such rollbacks are still in the works at the EPA and other federal agencies. The Biden-Harris administration clearly has its environmental work cut out for it.