Trump, Enemy of the Environment

This past weekend in Charlottesville we witnessed the shameful violence of hate and racism initiated by white supremacist emboldened by Trump, who took two days to denounce them. Before that we listened to this president’s bombastic threats of nuclear war to another notoriously unstable leader. With all we’re subjected to each news cycle it’s easy to miss other serious issues that threaten what we hold dear.

Violence in Charlotteville Aug 12 2017
Deadly violence in Charlottesville VA

Last September, pre-election, I posted a story outlining three major differences between the two candidates. Looking back at the post I was dismayed to see that my speculations regarding the environment came to pass with the election of Donald Trump.

Trump digs coal
Campaigning in 2016

During the campaign Trump vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. Legally he can’t abolish the agency, so instead he rendered it powerless by appointing Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier and longtime friend to the fossil fuel industry. They’ve slashed the EPA budget, ordered a hiring freeze and proposed employee buyouts for longtime agency workers. The EPA has 350 unfilled positions including more than 100 for scientists, with more cuts planned. Pruitt’s inner circle works in secret and they’ve enforced a social media gag order.

Trump with Scott Pruitt
Trump with Scott Pruitt

Within days in office Trump repealed through executive order all environmental protections initiated by the Obama administration, such as the Clean Water Rule. The GOP led Congress nullified the EPA’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation that limits the waist coal mines can dump into streams. Ken Kimmel, president of Concerned Scientists told CNN, “There is no way to sugarcoat this, President Trump has taken the wrecking ball to environmental protection in the US.”

Mountaintop removal mining
Mountaintop removal mining

Trump stunned the world when he pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Deal. Now instead of taking a leadership role with our long time allies, the US will sit on the sidelines with Syria and Nicaragua. Even Exxon Mobile and other large companies urged him to retain our seat at the negotiation table. By stubbornly denying the overwhelming science on climate change and supporting dying industries like coal, Trump is repressing economic development in clean energy. As the rest of the world moves forward with renewable energy, the US will lag behind and suffer the consequences for decades to come. To protect the existing big energy companies the Trump administration has put restrictions on clean energy companies, putting at risk the 3 million American jobs already created. His mandate is to save American jobs, but it’s a shortsighted plan with devastating consequences to the environment and economy.

Wind turbines in Germany
Wind turbines in Germany

In Sunday’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote of his family’s vacation hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In his column he points out that much of our protected land is under threat. One of the most precious resources of this country is our vast network of National Parks and protected wilderness. The federal government owns one million square miles of land, much of it pristine. It’s a legacy that most Americans cherish and want to protect for generations to come. Trump however sees this as a commodity to exploit. The administration lifted a moratorium on coal mining leases and is moving swiftly to open public land to gas and oil drilling and coal mining. If this comes to pass the land will never recover and future generations will be robbed of unspoiled wilderness. All for extracting fossil fuels which we already have the technology to replace.

Trump enemy of the environment

Thirty years ago when I first came to New York I soon became aware of a real estate developer often written about for his boorish behavior and malevolent business practices. That man is now president. It’s telling that he lost the vote in his hometown by a huge margin. New Yorkers know all too well the kind of man he is. I’m disturbed to witness the damage he’s already done and is capable of doing.

 

  • Robert

    It is a sad truth that the divide between Americans has become more prominent over the past decade, than it had over the past 50 years. Both left and right may debate why, with valid points. Following is an account of recent ugly events based more on fact than opinion. Neither side is solely right, or wrong in this argument:

    The tragedy in Charlottesville could have been an occasion to stop and consider how the tolerance for politically correct violence and politically correct hatred is leading the nation towards civil war.

    Instead the media and the political left have turned this incident into the biggest fake news story of the summer, transforming its real lessons into a morality play that justifies war against the political right, and against white people generally.

    The organizers of the “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville were repellent racists.

    But they came to defend a historic monument honoring a complex man and cause, and not to attack it or presumably anyone else.

    They applied for a permit and were denied. They re-applied successfully in a petition supported by the local ACLU.

    If they had come to precipitate violence, why would they have gone to the tedious trouble of applying for a permit?

    Who knows what — if anything — would have happened if that had been the end of the story and no one had showed up to oppose them.

    What Unite the Right actually demonstrated was that the assortment of neo-Nazis, pro-Confederates and assorted yahoos gathered under the banner of the “Alt-Right” is actually a negligible group.

    This supposed national show of strength actually attracted all of 500 people.

    Compare that to the tens of the thousands who can readily be marshaled by two violent groups of the left — Black Lives Matter and Antifa — and you get an idea of how marginal “white supremacists” are to America’s political and cultural life.

    Yet “white supremacy” and its evils became the centerpiece of all the fake news reporting on the event, including all the ludicrous attacks on the president for not condemning enough a bogeyman the whole nation condemns, and that no one but a risible fringe supports.

    Talk about virtue signaling!

    Omitted from the media coverage were the other forces at work in precipitating the battle of Emancipation Park, specifically Black Lives Matter and Antifa, two violent leftwing groups with racial agendas who came to squelch the demonstration in defense of the monument.

    Unlike the Unite the Right demonstrators, the leftist groups did not apply for permits, which would have been denied since there was another demonstration scheduled for that park on that day.

    But why should they have applied for a permit, since the mayhem they had previously caused in Ferguson, Berkeley, Sacramento, Portland and other cities, was accomplished without permits, while their criminality was presented by the media as “protests,” and their rioting went completely unpunished.

    In other words, there were two demonstrations in Charlottesville — a legal protest by Unite the Right and an illegal protest by the vigilantes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

    Who started the fight is really immaterial. Both sides were prepared for violence because these conflicts are already a pattern of our deteriorating civic life.

    Once the two sides had gathered in the same place, the violence was totally predictable.

    Two parties, two culpabilities; but except for the initial statement of President Trump, condemning both sides, only one party has been held accountable, and that happens to be the one that was in the park legally.

    What is taking place in the media accounts and political commentaries on this event is an effort by the left to turn the mayhem in Charlottesville into a template for their war against a mythical enemy — “white supremacy” — which is really a war on white people generally.

    The ideology that drives the left and divides our country is “identity politics” — the idea that the world consists of two groups — “people of color” who are guiltless and oppressed, and white people who are guilty and oppressors.

    This is the real race war.

    Its noxious themes inform the mindless, hysterical hatred of President Trump, and the equally mindless support of racist mobs like Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

    It is a war from which no good can come. But it won’t be stopped unless enough people have the courage to stand up and name it for what it is.

    • Prima Darling

      I read your response to my post, which was about the EPA and the threats to the environment instituted by Trump and his administration. Like you I’m very disturbed by the events in Charlottesville but for completely different reasons, which I’ll try to explain.

      You fail to mention that the actions of an alt right demonstrator killed a young woman and injured 19 others by deliberately crashing his car into a crowd of counter demonstrators. This is not fake news it is fact.

      To say the counter demonstrators should share the blame for this is wrong. Charlottesville was descended upon by a group of “repellent racist” as you called them yourself. They were armed, some carrying shields and wearing helmets. There were flags with swastikas and other symbols associated with hate groups, neo Nazis, KKK and white supremacists. Violence is at the core of these groups, along with hate for people based on their race or religion. The counter protester’s message was that hate and racism were not welcome there. They had a right to have their voices heard. If an alt right demonstration came to Manhattan I would participate to demonstrate that my town does not tolerate their message of hate. Yes there were violent clashes between the two groups before the deadly event but regardless of what you think of the left, do you really want to defend a group that preaches white supremacy, hates people based on their race and glorifies the Nazis?

      Your view that the media and the left, of which I count myself, are waging a war on white people is baseless. I’m white and I don’t want to repress white people. Bear in mind our Government is by large majority white males, so the argument that there is “a war on white people” is ridiculous.

      The Black Lives Matters movement is in response to numerous deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of Police. Should the black community just accept this quietly? Protests are not the problem; it’s a part of our democracy. I’m proud to have participated, with my girls, in the women’s march in NY.

      I do agree with you that no good can come of a race war. What we need is compassion for each other’s struggles and tolerance. Violence begets more violence. We are an immigrant nation and we will never be ethnically homogenized. The only answer is inclusiveness and zero tolerance for racism and hate. That message must come from the top but unfortunately this president is by nature divisive. He leads by uniting against a common enemy, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans and instilling fear. I don’t expect you to believe me, and you obviously have a great distrust of the media. But do you wonder why top executives have resigned from Trumps advisory panels in protest to his response to the violence in Charlottesville? European leaders have also criticized him and the UK is considering cancelling his state visit. These are not politically correct alt left entities. Theresa May is a conservative as are many of the executives who resigned. I think your distaste for liberals is clouding your judgment on Trump. At least I hope that’s what it is; I don’t want to believe that you are as racist as your words would lead me to believe.

  • Lynn Love

    Thank you Prima Darling for this post! You are a guiding light for “voice” as well as “taste.”

    • Prima Darling

      Thank you!