New Republic discusses why It Will Take Years to Undo the Damage from Trump’s Environmental Rollback. Even if Democrats win back the White House and the Senate, it will be a long struggle to restore the regulations the Republican-controlled EPA has erased.
The Trump administration’s response to a pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 Americans and forced much of the country into a devastating economic slowdown has been a massive failure, leading to new levels of anger and disappointment at the president. But none of that has stopped Donald Trump and his aides from rolling back as many environmental protections as they possibly can.
Since March, the Environmental Protection Agency has weakened mercury air pollution standards, permanently lowered regulations for vehicle tailpipe emissions, and finalized a reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act that opens the door to expedited pipeline development.
At the White House, Trump has been just as busy. In June he signed an executive order that allows companies to bypass key environmental reviews on infrastructure projects like mines and issued a proclamation to allow commercial fishing in a protected monument off Maine’s coast that was created specifically to limit such activity. The administration has called the moves necessary environmental adjustments during the pandemic and important measures to prop up the U.S. economy, including the suddenly struggling oil and gas industry. But it’s obvious that the White House has no intention of slowing down rollbacks—and in some cases finalizing hard-to-reverse rules—until the last moments of the administration.