At a time when we are talking about the 12,000-plus lies the president has told in his 934 (and counting) days in office; talking about the gaslighting and the numbing of America to the lies, the president and his corrupt collection of cronies posing as cabinet members have been quickly dismantling the regulatory regimen that has protected our land, water and skies. And let’s face it: those regulations haven’t been that stringent anyway. But they exist(ed) and did at least a little to keep the water, soil and air cleaner than it would have been without them.
Monday, August 12, 2019, Trump went after bald eagles … and migrating whales, birds and land mammals. He also went after documented immigrants as well, but that’s a separate outrage that is no less appalling.
One thing all building, drilling and mining projects have to do before starting any project is an environmental impact report. Like the ones President Barack Obama rejected when TransCanada and ConocoPhillips were pushing to build the Keystone Pipeline through culturally and environmentally sensitive areas.
Of course, once Trump took office he reversed those objections and construction of the pipeline moved ahead. Damn the cultural and environmental sensitivities. You say it’s going over a major aquifer that provides clean water to much of the Midwest? Screw it! The pipeline is above ground!
- Just an aside: there is no “energy independence” achieved here. The oil that is being fracked in Canada and shipped to destinations in Illinois and Oklahoma is owned entirely by a Canadian company for the benefit of that company’s bottom line. Oops.
But this isn’t about that environmental atrocity.
This is about the president rolling back regulations of the Endangered Species Act so companies — like TransCanada (and other domestic and foreign entities) — can push ahead on building, drilling and mining projects regardless of the impact on endangered species of plants and animals.
The most egregious part of this administrative move is removing the blanket protection for threatened plants and animals. Under these new rules — which will be challenged in court by California and Massachusetts at least — if people, like the president’s two trophy hunting sons, decide they want to kill bald eagles and polar bears for fun and sport, it will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
On top of that, global warming (climate change) can be ignored in the determination of whether a plant or animal species is threatened in the foreseeable future. Now government officials can determine what “foreseeable future” means. As in:
Environmentalist: “In 50 years this bird’s habitat will be lost to sea level rise …”
Trump Official: “That’s not the foreseeable future.”
Environmentalist: “But we just foresaw it, with science, facts …”
Trump Official: “But ‘foreseeable’ doesn’t mean what it says in the dictionary when we’re violating and bespoiling the environment.”
The third change to the Endangered Species Act is that now companies can include the economic impact of saving plants and animals. In other words, the various developers, mining and oil companies can whine about how much money they’ll lose if they are not allowed to pillage the sensitive habitats that have been protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Scientists estimate we would have lost 227 species if it were not for the ESA. The Center for Biological Diversity conducted a survey and found that two-thirds of the American population would like to strengthen the ESA or leave it as it is.
The Aleutian Canada goose, black-footed ferret, American crocodile, whooping crane, shortnose sturgeon, American peregrine falcon, California brown pelican, California condor, Concho water snake, Florida panther, fin whale, gray whale, gray wolf, Hawaiian coot, humpback whale, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, Mississippi Sandhill crane (one of my personal favorites), Okaloosa darter, Puerto Rican parrot, Virgin Islands tree boa and of course the American bald eagle, among others have been saved from extinction because of the Endangered Species Act.
Now the president would like to endanger them all, and more, once again. Let’s not get distracted by what he says. Pay attention to what he is doing.
Top photo of American bald eagle from David r. Tribble-Wikipedia
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.