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President Donald Trump is changing the United States in a major way, with a massive assault on the environment. (Photo: Julia DeSantis/flickr/cc)

Dirty, Hot, Deadly: The Real Trump Scandal Is What He’s Done to the Environment

Juan Cole

 by Informed Comment

I don’t think Trump creates Twitter scandals to deflect attention from his real scandals. I think his mind just works in an odd way.

But the fact is that concentrating too much on the sound and fury issuing from Mar-a-Lago is counter-productive. Trump actually is changing the United States in a major way, with a massive assault on the environment.

1. Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency is already gutting the agency, and has withdrawn the request the EPA had made of oil and gas firms that they report on methane emissions. Fracking in particular may produce a great deal of methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and less often measured at drill sites.

2. The administration is planning to cut funds for Great Lakes clean-up by 97%, which would be devastating. The Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh water and millions depend on them for drinking water. They have been heavily polluted, including by the oil and gas companies, and need to be nursed back to health. Instead, they’ll likely be further polluted under Pruitt, who never met an environmental regulation he liked. Algae blooms from run-off of agricultural fertilizer have struck drinking water in places like Toledo, and need to be combated.

3. Trump has already undone a regulation enacted in December that prevents corporations from dumping waste from fossil fuel plants into streams and rivers. There have been crises in recent years, such as Duke Energy’s coal ash spill in North Carolina.

4. Trump plans to get rid of automobile greenhouse gas emissions standards.

5. All this is not to mention Trump’s plan to cut the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency by 25% and lay off 3,000 workers!


© 2021 Juan Cole
Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His newest book, "Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires" was published in 2020. He is also the author of  "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East" (2015) and "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East" (2008).  He has appeared widely on television, radio, and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. 

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