Even as he moves to approve risky fossil fuel projects and eliminate healthcare for millions, President Donald Trump told corporate leaders on Monday he could "cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more"—and he made similar promises to automakers in a meeting Tuesday morning.
"We're going to be cutting regulation massively," Trump said during Monday's White House meeting with business executives. Environmental regulations in particular, he told auto industry CEOs on Tuesday, are "out of control."
But keeping such a pledge would come at the expense of workers, the environment, and public health, while allowing "corporations to rip off consumers" and making the country "far less economically secure," warned watchdog group Public Citizen.
"Freezing new regulations across the board is bad enough," said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman on Monday. "But there is no way for President Donald Trump to slash regulations by 75 percent without cutting into bedrock public protections that hold Wall Street accountable, keep our water and children safe from lead poisoning, and contain food contamination outbreaks—to name just a few of the disastrous consequences of the proposal he discussed today."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmental safeguards are at the center of Trump's deregulation bullseye, as Sophia Tesfaye reported Monday at Salon:
On Friday, Trump ordered a "freeze"on all new regulations coming out of federal agencies, including the EPA. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump will order federal agencies to stop studying the greenhouse gas impacts of new projects.
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Trump's aides also told Bloomberg over the weekend that the newly-elected president plans to rescind President [Barack] Obama's directive that all federal agencies take climate change into account during their formal environmental reviews. President Trump will also reverse Obama's executive order placing a moratoriumon selling coal from federal lands until a new way to calculate royalties is resolved.
Trump also vowed to "massively" and "very substantially" cut corporate taxes at the same gatherings with business leaders.
Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness has previously said Trump's plan to slash corporate taxes would "drastically increase our country’s already extreme levels of inequality" and require "massive cuts...to benefits and services that working Americans depend on."
Also Monday, Trump withdrew the United States from the corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. This had been a goal of progressives, but author and activist Naomi Klein warned online that the development, placed alongside Trump's latest corporate promises, was "nothing to celebrate":
Trump has made an ugly deal: he yanks TPP but showers corps with massive tax cuts + vows to slash regulations by 75%. Nothing to celebrate.
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) January 24, 2017