Op-Ed: Trump Administration Attacks Bipartisan Legacy Of Health, Environmental Protection


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EDF_Krupp_FredThe most fundamental obligation of government is to protect its citizens. With its actions since January 20, the Trump Administration has signaled that it is abdicating that basic responsibility.

Rather than working to protect the health of American families, the Administration is eroding a 50-year bipartisan legacy of American health and environmental protection. It has suppressed taxpayer-funded public information, gagged the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientists, suspended its grants and contracts, and frozen federal protections that reduce harmful pollution. And its attacks on our environmental safeguards are just beginning.

Some may be cheering the prospect of a streamlined regulatory process. But Environmental Defense Fund knows the difference between sensible regulatory reform and the wholesale demolition of environmental standards – and all signs point to a demolition. The President recently repeated his irresponsible pledge to dismantle 75 percent of rules and safeguards, including those that keep our air, water and land clean. The former head of his EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, just called for cutting the agency’s workforce in half. We cannot accept any weakening of our nation’s bedrock health and environmental protections.

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The President’s choice to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a longstanding enemy of its mission who has sued at least 14 times to block clean air and water protections. In written responses to the Senate, Pruitt declined to name a single Clean Air Act regulation that he supports. If confirmed Pruitt will carry out the Administration’s dangerous agenda, not stand up for public health. Children in this country will have more asthma attacks, and more elderly Americans will die prematurely from lung disease. President Trump took an oath to “protect and defend,” but he is on course to betray that promise.

The notion that we must sacrifice our health and safety in the name of economic growth was debunked long ago. The administration’s agenda would run rough-shod over years of thoughtful policy-making – based on extensive public comment and judicial review – designed to move our nation toward cleaner energy. Decided in secret, with input only from a small group of insiders, their efforts will slow one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy. More than two and a half million Americans now work in energy efficiency, solar and wind – more than twice the number employed through fossil fuel generation. We need to move forward to the clean energy economy, not backward to an era of more pollution and disease.

American families do not want dirtier water and air. They overwhelmingly support a strong, effective Environmental Protection Agency. We will fight any attacks on clean air and clean water in Congress, the courts, in boardrooms and alongside Americans from both parties who care about a better future.

Environmental Defense Fund is one of the organizations that is working to preserve information posted on the EPA climate web site, which the Administration has threatened to shut down. We will continue to stand for the integrity and transparency of science-based policy making. If the Trump Administration won’t protect and defend our environment and our children’s health, we the people will.

Fred Krupp, a Verona High School graduate who created the first Earth Day celebration at VHS in 1970, is the long-time president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

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  1. For Verona readers unfamiliar with the Washington Examiner, it is a conservative weekly magazine and a news website that is updated daily. It is owned by Philip Anschutz, who also financed the pro-charter school movie Waiting For Superman.


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