Trump's Environmental Legacy
Former President Donald Trump, self-proclaimed champion of clean air and water, has left behind a disastrous environmental legacy that will draw future historians’ undivided attention.
A core element of Trump’s legacy was a vendetta against President Barack Obama’s accomplishments. Trump sought to dismantle Obama’s singular environmental initiatives aimed at neutralizing pollution emanating from coal-fired power plants and related industries.
President Joe Biden is expected to use Executive Orders to temporarily suspend Trump’s regressive environmental directives until the US Congress can muster sufficient support to squash them permanently. Trump policies that Biden is seeking to nullify include budget cuts to renewable energy and overly generous federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
The world is veering towards globalization in which information is shared on an international scale to battle viral pandemics. Public health concerns increasingly have taken precedence over profits in global trade. This trend is reflected by the growing adoption of a basic environmental tenet, the “precautionary principle”, which, in common vernacular, means “better safe than sorry”. This principle has been applied to international treaties, multi-lateral agreements, and our European allies’ shared endeavors – all inimical to Trump’s mercenary value system, which has frequently isolated us in an increasingly enlightened world.
Trump’s rejections of communal solutions can be testified to by his unilateral promotion of oil drilling on publicly designated wilderness and in international waters.
His treatment of wildlife issues will also be viewed critically, especially for his attempt to diminish the scope and funding of the 1973 Endangered Species Act. In this vein, Trump sought to weaken the protection of a wide variety of species, including whales, spotted owls, wolves, and fish. Commercial fisheries were also exposed to large financial losses from Trump’s dispassionate backing of offshore oil drilling in international waters.
Wind is considered part of the global energy strategy. Yet, Trump depicts wind energy as an undeveloped, overly expensive eyesore that interferes with his golf course vistas, causes cancer, and kills birds. Trump will go down in history as “throwing caution to the wind”.
One of the chief impacts of Trump’s legacy actually provides a benefit. His total proclivity for lying serves as a prophetic reminder of what awaits if we succumb to false promises.