Trump poses a threat to the environment



Steam rises from the stack of the scrubber as the primary emission after the cleaning process at Brandon Shores, one of Constellation Energy's biggest coal-fired plants located outside Baltimore, Maryland, November 21, 2011. (Andre Chung/MCT)

By Brandon Zegiel, Columnist

zegielbrandon_cutout Donald Trump plans to cut 70 to 80 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory funding, and when I heard this, I couldn’t help but laugh out of the pure ridiculousness of these claims.  

I actually had to consider which was worse: the problems the country faces involving climate change or the statements Trump made with a straight face to the public. After thinking about it, I decided that his logic was about as big of a problem as his unwillingness to learn about climate change.

Figuring Trump wasn’t going to be elected, as the primaries were still happening when he said this, I shrugged it off, praising my endorsement for Bernie Sanders even more. I never in a million years would have suspected that Donald Trump would be standing in the White House with an ax in his hands, ready to slash through the forest of the EPA.

I was wrong — severely mistaken, because that is exactly what happened. And now, that same man has the power to swing and cut at as much of the EPA’s regulatory funding as he wants, dismantling the already underfunded program more and more with every dollar he takes away.

It’s difficult to argue that the EPA gets too much money because they only account for one percent of the country’s national deficit. If anything, the EPA actually demands our attention for the work it does without much funding, providing the U. S. with tremendous policies such as the Clean Air Act. The successful plan has provided many positive externalities since its passing in 1970, including a lower aggregate pollution rate in the U.S.

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Along with the Clean Air Act, the EPA has promoted other successful policy ideas, using different tactics of incentivizing cleaner technology to firms. The policies promote uses of subsidies, taxes and emission standards which all have distinct roles in the process of making cleaner technologies practical.

Trump wants to focus on cheaper energy rather than ethical energy, and this way of thinking could send America into an environmental depression where firms ignore the new energy available because it is too costly. CEOs of big companies don’t recognize anything more than the net cost and benefits of a new technology. The EPA is there to implement social benefits by providing incentives for businesses to conform.

So the next time a Trump supporter tells you how great our new president-elect is, make sure they know how devastating his environmental plans could be. It’s not to say he is going to be a terrible president, but his incomplete logic regarding his environmental plans suggests he is far from perfect.

In the meantime, we can do our best to respond to Donald Trump’s proposal to cut back funding. The National Resources Defense Council is currently raising money in an effort to stop his environmental policy reform from truly demoralizing the advancements made throughout the history of the EPA’s existence. They are accepting donations from people who want to see technological advancements and environmental justice in American life today.

It’s about the future generations this planet has yet to see. Isn’t it important we allow our kids to enjoy the same privileges we do from this planet?

Brandon is a sophomore in LAS. 

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