HUMPTY DUMPTY famously cannot be “put back together” again. For those who care about the environment, every day since Donald Trump took office is a Humpty Dumpty day —with something being broken beyond repair.
The federal government has started selling off parcels of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to anyone who hammers four poles into the ground and pays a $212 fee. The Trump administration has also slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels — making it more expensive for Americans to go solar and crippling the domestic solar panel installation industry. Additionally, the administration suspended the “Waters of the United States” rule, a key Obama-era regulation designed to reduce pollution in 60 percent of the nation’s lakes, rivers, and streams. The president’s 2019 spending plan would gut the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and especially NOAA — where his budget would force the agency to stop protecting coastal estuaries, Pacific salmon, and marine mammals.
Conventional wisdom is that this president has a feeble grasp of the mechanics of government. But when it comes to the environment, nothing could be further from the truth. In his first 12 months, the president has mastered the full array of government rule-making, executive orders, budget cuts, and administrative and regulatory tools to launch a concerted roll-back of environmental protections.