Donald Trump is the United States' next president, to the relief of some, and the dismay of many others. President Obama has made it clear that he stands for clean energy, but things will likely change when it comes to his successor. Will Trump get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?
Obama has championed protecting the planet in the past through his support for the United States entering the Paris Agreement, a United Nations-backed international agreement targeted at combating climate change. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy expressed the agency's support for entering the Paris Agreement, citing how it would help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in a blog post. Trump, however, has stated that he will "cancel" the United States' participation in the accord, according to the Washington Post.
Part of Trump's reasoning behind this may have something to do with his refusal to accept the scientific evidence that proves the existence of climate change. Trump denied having claimed that climate change is a hoax during a debate with Hillary Clinton. But in 2012, he tweeted, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." And Trump only continued to reference his skepticism concerning climate change in tweets over the following years.
So what does this have to do with whether the EPA will continue to function as a government agency? A lot. Trump's reported pick to lead the EPA is Myron Ebell, a proud climate change skeptic. Trump has also reportedly promised to "scrap" environmental regulation and "bring back the ailing coal industry," TIME reported. This doesn't bode well for clean energy.
Instead of climate change, Trump's environmental policy will likely focus on the issue of clean water, which he called, "the most important issue we face as a nation for the next generation" and "top priority," according to Business Insider. He also plans to downgrade the EPA’s role to an advisory one, the Washington Post reported.
But what do environmentalists have to say about Trump being elected? "When he assumes office, Trump will be the only head of state to deny that climate change is real," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, told TIME. "We’re going to need to do everything we can to play defense against the worst impulses of the next administration."
On the other hand, Stephen Brown, the vice president of government relations for oil refiner Tesoro, had a more "positive" take on a Trump presidency. Under a Trump administration, "procedural hurdles" to projects including pipelines would likely be reevaluated, and regulations regarding carbon and environmental impacts would be "gone," Brown told the Washington Post.
Yikes. Hopefully people who believe in scientific evidence and environmental lobbyists will be able to make Trump see that climate change is a real thing. Then the EPA might not be consigned to just an advisory role.