The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

The Environmental State of the Union: Under Attack

Statement of Earthworks’ Executive Director Jennifer Krill


"The State of Our Union is a State of Pollution.

Whether it's communities, climate, air or water, all aspects of the environment have been under siege since President Trump took office. Cruelest of ironies, they're under attack by those directly charged with protecting our Union's environment -- primarily EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Secretary Zinke epitomized his environmental attacks by slashing the Bears Ears National Monument. Ignoring Native American sacred sites and bypassing the vast majority of the public, who own the land, he eviscerated the Bears Ears to benefit uranium miners and other extractive industries.

Today, before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, Administrator Pruitt testified that process and the rule of law are his agency's guiding principles. Yet in the service of environmental attacks he has undermined both. His first attempt to put on hold oil and gas methane safeguards was rebuked by a federal judge. And even though EPA promised a federal court they would uphold the Superfund law and protect taxpayers from shouldering the costs of cleaning up after mining companies, Pruitt stunningly refused to make good on that promise.

An administration guts science advisory boards, as Pruitt did, only if one fears that the science will tell you something you don't want to hear. An administration opens all our coasts to offshore drilling except Florida, as Zinke did, only if one cares about rewarding political allies and not the health of our oceans and coasts.

Unfortunately, the worst may be yet to come. Last week, the Trump Administration proposed a wholesale attack on our bedrock environmental laws in the name of "infrastructure". One does not serve the public by gutting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires public input in decision-making. And Administrator Pruitt has signaled that the Trump Administration intends another giveaway to the mining industry in the form of new Clean Water Act and Superfund loopholes that would allow companies to profit from the polluting abandoned mines the industry created in the first place.

Our environment is more important to the public and to future generations than the Trump administration's blatant cronyism and corporate giveaways. Trump, Pruitt and Zinke are turning us into the United States of the oil, gas and mining industries."