The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is an agency created in 1970 to protect human health and the environment, by creating standards and laws (EPA). With every new administration in our government, the EPA goes through many changes. Today, with Donald Trump in office, the EPA is going through major shifts, ones that differ greatly from when Obama was president. With Trump, the EPA has become much more conservative, meaning less regulation has been implemented to protect the environment. When Obama was president, there was a lot more regulation, specifically on fossil fuel emissions which is a large cause of climate change. There are and will be huge downgrades in the regulation of the nation’s environment. With the new EPA head and the government shutdown, there is lots to update on from just the past couple months.
Recently, Trump nominated Andrew Wheeler as head of the EPA. The irony here is that Wheeler, according to The New York Times, was a lobbyist for the Murray Energy Corp, the main underground coal mining company in the country (Reuters). Many predicted this would happen because Wheeler has the same “deregulatory and pro-fossil fuel agenda” as Trump does (Reuters). Already, Wheeler managed to weaken rules from Obama’s administration that limit power plant carbon and mercury emissions.
As a more dire issue, the government shutdown (lasting 26 days now) is dramatically affecting the EPA’s work, therefore affecting the American people. For example, The New York Times reports that important public health inspections are absent due to the shutdown (Davenport). Emphasis should be put on the fact that this allows for companies to emit illegal amounts of contaminants into water and air– with no inspection (Davenport). This shutdown has stopped the EPA from doing its extremely important job: protecting human health. With no regards for his consequences, Trump has ignorantly put the American people in danger, and the environment as well. More specifically, in Birmingham, Alabama the shutdown has put a halt to the cleanups at the Superfund site (The Associated Press). This stop in federal cleanups has forced the residents of Birmingham to deal with the high arsenic levels as well as lead and other contaminants in the soil (The Associated Press). The people are sick, and Trump is either oblivious of it or is choosing to not care.
Just last week, according to CNN, the House of Representatives tried to reopen the EPA. They voted and the results were 240-179, meaning they could bring this legislation to Senate. However, they expect that Senate will reject this right away, as well as Trump (Foran). The House of Representatives is clearly concerned with this shutdown and the EPA being missing in action. The House is trying to reopen it and do what it can to make this shutdown a little less troublesome. However, the Senate (being controlled by the republicans) and Trump are not willing to back down. The environment is in danger because the EPA is being controlled by the Trump administration.
Seeing that Trump is still president, and will be for a whole other year, it can be assumed that there will be more and more deregulation of environmental laws as well as weakening of the EPA. Last month, the EPA proposed the idea of some new rules. CNN, an essential news site, explains that these rules would allow for fewer restrictions on pollutants (Tatum). The EPA wants to prove that it is neither appropriate nor necessary “to regulate HAP emissions from power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act” (Tatum). HAP (hazardous air pollutant) emissions are a major cause of this exponential growth in the Earth’s heating, as well as a cause of health issues for citizens. This new proposal would also make it very difficult for new regulations to be put in place. The executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center Howard Learner stated that “the Trump EPA’s proposal to weaken mercury and air toxics pollution reduction standards threatens children’s health and the Great Lakes” (Tatum). What this means is that the future of america is in danger if this proposal, and others like it, is passed.
Foran, Clare. “House Votes To Fund and Reopen Interior Department, EPA and The Federal Agencies.” CNN, 11 Jan. 2019,
York Times, 9 Jan 2019.
CNN, 29 Dec. 2019
York Times, 11 Jan. 2019,