If President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hadn't already made it abundantly clear that addressing climate change is near the very bottom of its list of priorities, the agency's newly unveiled four-year "strategic plan" should remove all doubt, as it does not contain a single mention of "climate change"—or even just "climate."
"Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and it doesn't even appear in the strategic plan for this agency."
—Dr. Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned ScientistsThe 38-page draft, quietly made available for public comment last week, also neglects to mention "carbon dioxide," "greenhouse gases," or "renewable energy."
By contrast, former President Barack Obama's EPA made addressing climate change the first of the agency's five stated goals in its 2014 strategic plan—which used the phrase "climate change" more than 40 times.
Dr. Rachel Cleetus, climate policy manager with the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the EPA's scrubbing of climate change from its report "stunning," and argued that it was no accident.
"Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and it doesn't even appear in the strategic plan for this agency," Cleetus said. "This wasn't an oversight, this is a deliberate strategy by this administration."
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Since his inauguration—and particularly since his nomination of oil and gas industry favorite Scott Pruitt to head the EPA—Trump has moved quickly to dismantle even the more modest climate achievements of his predecessor. According to a New York Times analysis, 25 environmental rules have been successfully axed, and at least 19 are currently being rolled back.
"Regulations have often been reversed as a direct response to petitions from oil, coal, and gas companies and other industry groups," the Times notes. "Scott Pruitt...has met almost daily with industry executives and lobbyists."
Despite the fact that the EPA's new "strategic plan" declares that the agency's number one priority is "to provide Americans with clean air, land, and water," many of the agency's moves have taken precisely the opposite track.
As Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration has just this week moved to scrap the Clean Power Plan and intensified its "war on wind and solar" by suggesting that federal subsides for these sources of renewable energy should be eliminated.
At the same time, notes Oil Change International's Janet Redman, Trump is "using our taxpayer dollars to promote dangerous new fossil fuel development," placing the nation's air and water quality at serious risk.