The NYT Made a List of Every Time the Trump Administration Rolled Back an Environmental Policy

The Trump Administration has reversed so many environmental rules over the past three years.

Sophie Hirsh - Author

May 8 2020, Updated 2:23 p.m. ET

The NYT Made a List of Every Time the Trump Administration Rolled Back an Environmental Policy
Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump, a longtime skeptic of climate change, has made his feelings about environmental protection very clear over the past three years and four months. Since the president took office in January 2017, the Trump administration has rolled back too many environmental laws to count — but not for The New York Times. This week, the newspaper published an interactive list rounding up every environmental regulation that the Trump administration has reversed or is in the progress of reversing, resulting in a list of nearly 100 rules.

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Trump has already reversed 64 environmental policies.

According to The New York Times, the Trump administration has completed reversals of 64 environmental policies, and another 34 policy rollbacks are in progress, making a total of 98 policies. The policies span the breadth of the environmental realm, affecting air pollution and emissions, drilling for fossil fuels, infrastructure, animals, safety and toxicity, water pollution, and more.

And even though there’s a chance Trump will be elected out of office this fall, that still leaves him eight months to ax 34 more environmental regulations. Hana V. Vizcarra, a staff attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program, told The Times that the White House is hard at work to complete regulation changes before then.

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Trump has eviscerated so many environmental protections.

If you scroll through The Times’ full list, you will probably recognize some of the rollbacks from the past three-plus years. There was that time the EPA eviscerated the Endangered Species Act. The EPA has made various regulation changes allowing the fossil fuel industry to emit more methane and other pollutants on multiple occasions. The administration once rolled back a rule protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge various lands from oil fracking and drilling. The U.S. Army even approved constructing the oft-protested Dakota Access Pipeline back in 2017.

Trump has also rolled back environmental protections during the coronavirus.

trump epa
Source: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

The Trump administration has also made quite a few environmental policy changes during the coronavirus pandemic, in what seems to be an attempt to bail out the fossil fuel industry. 

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For example, a few weeks ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is part of the Trump administration, suspended various environmental regulations for the fossil fuel industry. The EPA’s memorandum stated that due to the coronavirus pandemic, if complying with various environmental obligations wasn’t "reasonably practicable" due to the coronavirus, fossil fuel companies will be permitted to ignore environmental standards, and stop performing routine testing, lab analysis, reporting, and more.

Additionally, the EPA recently made some changes to the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, a set of regulations signed into law by Obama in 2012 that have helped reduce mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants by a total of more than 80 percent, according to AP News. Last month, EPA introduced a new cost-benefit analysis method for regulating how much mercury and other toxic metals power plants can release, which could in turn be used to weaken regulations on limiting other pollutants.

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Trump is bailing out the meat industry.

The animal agriculture industry, which is responsible for 18 percent of the U.S.'s greenhouse gas emissions, is also receiving a bailout from Trump during the coronavirus pandemic. The president signed an executive order to reopen slaughterhouses, despite serious outbreaks of COVID-19 at multiple major slaughterhouses, The Guardian reported. Many slaughterhouses have been unable to reopen, however, because so many workers have been staying home due to either having the virus or a fear of contracting the virus, as CNN reported.

The Trump administration consistently bails out polluters.

Source: William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images

Why is the Trump administration seemingly doing everything it can to help the fossil fuel industry pollute more? 

The more the industry is allowed to pollute, the more money they save — and the more money they make.

The oil and gas industry donated more than $56 million on the 2016 election, with $1,152,828 of that going to Trump, according to Trump keeps the industry profitable, the industry keeps supporting Trump. And the cycle continues.  

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