Within hours of Donald J. Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States, the new administration made its position clear on the environment with the removal of almost reference of climate change on the White House website. The Trump administration launched the America First Energy Plan – a policy that aims to revive our coal industry and boost the economy through untapped natural gas reserves on protected, federal lands. The plan also calls for a commitment to clean coal technology.
Unfortunately, this is not an America first plan. Lifting restrictions and removing what is deemed “harmful and unnecessary policies” is not responsible environmental stewardship. It puts the needs of polluters first and Americans last. The fossil fuel industry benefits the most, not the average American. This drill, baby, drill proposal endangers the health, well-being and economies of our communities.
Sound energy policy cannot consist of clean coal technology because “clean coal” does not exist. Burning coal still produces carbon emissions and toxic waste and there are few technologies that exist for carbon capture and sequestration. Additionally, it’s cheaper for companies to pollute and have taxpayers pay for cleanup than it is to invest in environmentally friendly operations. It would take an act of Congress for these corporations to have an incentive to clean up.
In 2016 alone, there were more than 24 oil pipeline accidents in the United States. Thousands of Americans are still on a boil water advisory because of toxic waste in their water supply. In order for Americans to be truly first with our energy policies, we must ensure that politics doesn’t put our health and safety at risk.
There is a way to stimulate the economy and put Americans to work – through a green economy. We cannot just say the EPA will solely focus on protecting clean air and water resources, without enforcing regulations that make it happen. We must use sound science and move toward building a sustainable future. Americans will be last with an energy policy that puts fossil fuels first.
Environmental advocate. Communications professional. Sports fan. I love television and press conferences.