Expect Trump to gut environmental regulations: expert
If a Trump administration follows his campaign rhetoric and advisers, then his most immediate and far-reaching environmental target will be domestic and international efforts to address climate change.
Maxine Lipeles, director of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, offered her thoughts on Trump's expected policies toward the environment.
- End of Paris climate agreement: "While we are experiencing record-breaking global temperatures and Arctic ice melt, President-elect Trump has pledged to pull the U.S. out of the historic international climate agreement that was signed in Paris last winter and recently went into legal effect."
- End of Clean Power Plan: "Trump also has his sights set on the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Those regulations were put on hold by the Supreme Court a few days prior to Justice Antonin Scalia's death, and their fate could ultimately be decided by a Supreme Court with a Trump appointee to replace Scalia. President-elect Trump could also try to rescind or gut the regulations even without the court's input. One of the highlights of the Paris climate agreement was its inclusion of the U.S. and China, the two largest greenhouse gas emitters. It is unclear whether other large emitting countries would remain in the agreement if the U.S. withdraws. While formal withdrawal cannot take place immediately, the emission reduction 'requirements' of the agreement are ultimately voluntary, so the U.S. could cease to fulfill its commitments. The Clean Power Plan is at the heart of the nation's plans to meet its Paris agreement commitments. It is also worth noting that the international community acknowledges that the Paris agreement alone is not sufficient to arrest climate change, but is seen as a step toward that goal with more stringent reductions required in the near future."
- Weakening of environmental statutes: "Candidate Trump called for eliminating EPA and rolling back environmental regulation. With Republican majorities in Congress, regulated industries may try to weaken our core environmental statutes, which were enacted by strong bipartisan votes in the 1970s and most recently strengthened under President George H. W. Bush with the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act."
- Resuscitating coal: "While President-elect Trump favors policies to increase the mining and burning of coal, market forces have been largely responsible for the dramatic reduction in the use of coal to generate electricity and the bankruptcies of major coal companies, including Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. Enormous government subsidies, and increased health and environmental costs, would be necessary to resuscitate the coal industry."