The Trump Administration's Trail of Broken Environmental Regulations

Critics of the Trump administration who chide the president for a lack of accomplishments should check the environmental record.

2 minute read

October 25, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bears Ears National Monument

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is one of two national monuments to lose ground, literally, to the Trump administration's work to dismantle the nation's environmental protections. | Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, and Kendra Pierre-Louis share the findings of a recent New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, and other sources, into the program of environmental deregulation undertaken by the Trump administration during nearly four years in office.

The analysis "counts more than 70 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump," according to the article. "Another 26 rollbacks are still in progress."

The findings of the study corroborate another recent report on the environmental impacts of the Trump administration's policy rollbacks published by the Rhodium Group in September. That report quantified the environmental damage of the Trump administration's policies in metric tons of carbon dioxide—1.8 billion metric tons to be exact.

This latest analysis offers insight into where the Trump administration has achieved the most deregulation, pointing specifically to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

After including a caveat about the tenuous legal standing of many of the policies implemented by the Trump administration, the article includes a summary of each of the rules targeted for reversal by the Trump administration, organized into the categories of 1) air pollution and emissions, 2) drilling and extraction, 3) infrastructure and planning, 4) animals, 5) water pollution, 6) toxic substances and safety, and 7) other.

In the planning category, the article lists multiple changes pertaining to the National Environmental Policy Act and a decision to rescind the Bureau of Land Management's "Planning 2.0" rule, among other examples.

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