Donald Trump oil rig

Then-President Donald Trump spoke to city officials and employees at an active oil rig on July 29, 2020 in Midland, Texas.

(Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

'Catastrophic': EPA Workers Union Slams Trump Pledge to Gut Climate Agencies

"Donald Trump has made it clear that a second Trump term would look worse than his first—with broader attacks on science and the environment driving the day."

A union representing thousands of Environmental Protection Agency workers raised alarm Tuesday over former President Donald Trump's pledge to slash key federal climate departments if he's reelected in November and condemned his attempt to downplay concerns about the planetary emergency, which is fueling destructive extreme weather and pushing global temperatures to record highs.

"Donald Trump has made it clear that a second Trump term would look worse than his first—with broader attacks on science and the environment driving the day," Marie Owens Powell, president of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 238, said in a statement.

"His first four years were a fiasco for the agency bargaining unit workers whose mission it is to protect human health and the environment during this climate emergency, with cuts to the workforce, rollbacks of regulations, and more," Powell added. "Trump has made it clear that a second term would be catastrophic for the environment and reverse the progress made against climate change."

The union's statement came in response to a Sunday Fox Newsinterview in which Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, said that federal environmental agencies have been "so bad for us," claiming they've "stopped you from doing business in this country."

"We're going to do, like, Department of Interior," Trump said, naming one of the agencies he plans to target. "There's so many things you can do."

The former president, whose administration dismantled more than 100 federal environmental rules during its four years in power, also mocked President Joe Biden's description of the climate crisis as an existential threat and ridiculed fears about rising sea levels.

Trump falsely claimed that rising sea levels mean "you have a little more beachfront property," ignoring catastrophic flooding and other disastrous impacts of ever-rising seas. The U.S. experienced a record number of billion-dollar extreme weather events last year, including destructive flooding.

Powell said Tuesday that Trump's "all-out assault on science and our employees" during his first four years in the White House "led us to issue an EPA Workers' Bill of Rights, which had over 10,000 signatures, many of which were agency employees, and was endorsed by nearly fifty members of Congress and partners in the science community."

"And the prospect of a second Trump term is why we fought so hard to win a first-of-its-kind Scientific Integrity Article in our new contract that will help protect our work from political interference," Powell continued. "Our contract win means workers can stand up for scientific integrity without fear of retaliation, and sends any disputes related to scientific integrity to an independent arbitrator instead of a political appointee."

"The climate emergency we are facing hurts everyone, regardless of political party," the union leader added, "and the EPA and its employees protect everyone's health and the environment, regardless of their political agenda."

Trump and his right-wing allies have repeatedly expressed their intention to aggressively target federal environmental agencies and rules if the former president wins the November election against Biden.

During an April fundraiser attended by major fossil fuel executives, Trump—who was convicted last week on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records—pledged to swiftly roll back climate regulations if the industry most responsible for the climate emergency forks over $1 billion to support his presidential bid.

"He will sacrifice our planet for the profits of fossil fuel executives. We cannot let that happen."

Politicoreported last month that oil and gas industry lobbyists and lawyers are already in the process of "drawing up ready-to-sign executive orders for Donald Trump aimed at pushing natural gas exports, cutting drilling costs, and increasing offshore oil leases in case he wins a second term."

Meanwhile, the right-wing Project 2025 initiative spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation is pushing "a sweeping battle plan to dismantle federal agencies and public health standards, including vital environmental protections," freelance climate journalist Dana Drugmand wrote last week.

A recent study by Carbon Brief estimated that a second Trump term would unleash an extra 4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere, imperiling global efforts to rein in planet-warming emissions.

"He will sacrifice our planet for the profits of fossil fuel executives," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned Tuesday. "We cannot let that happen."

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