Bold Picks

So far, Trump’s cabinet picks look like shelves of motor oil cans arranged from premium oil to mid-grade.  This sludge is toxic, harmful, and dangerous.

Trump’s Secretary of State pick is Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil.  Tillerson has many ties with foreign leaders surrounding oil issues.  His appointment might complicate and compromise any clean energy or climate change initiative support.

Energy Secretary pick is Rick Perry, former Texas governor.  You might remember him running for president in 2011, where he stated on his campaign trail, he would abolish the Energy Department.  Perry also wrote that climate change was a “contrived, phony mess” in his book.

For the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Trump nominated Scott Pruitt, former Attorney General of Oklahoma.  Once in office as attorney general, Pruitt formed the first federalism unit to combat his claims of unwarranted regulations from the federal government; in particular the EPA.  Pruitt has sued the EPA 14 times to block clean air and water rules in the state of Oklahoma.  Currently, Pruitt is drawing up plans to “get rid of” the agency by repealing climate change rules, cutting staff and closing regional offices.  These bold moves of cutting the agency in half will permanently weaken its regulatory authority.

Bold Plays

Trump’s friendly allies are in Congress and they’re playing along.  So far, our Congress has passed bills under Trump’s administration to require significant federal regulations be approved by both houses of Congress before taking effect.  Meaning, government rules on clean air can be held up by a handful of senators.  More alarming, it opens the doors for radical new policies that replaces expert analysis based on science and law with political unscientific views.

Most disturbing, the House has endorsed a bill that allows leaks from natural gas wells to continue with federal and tribal laws.  By cancelling the rule of law, it saves taxpayers $800 million over ten years, but will increasingly pollute our air and water over the next decade and beyond.  In Congress, the excitement to play along with Trump’s approach to eliminate regulations, our lawmakers have placed their common sense on the bench.

Trump has only been in office for four weeks and he is making good on his campaign and election promises to dismiss environmental protection laws, remove regulations that protects the public, air and water.  It’s time for all America to educate ourselves about current environmental issues, policies, and laws.  As you can see with this administration and Congress, public safety, clean air and water are not their priority.

As the AFRO’s first Environmental Columnist, I would like to get to know my readers.  Enter To Win:     ‘30-Minutes with The Green Ambassador’.  In 50 words or less describe your ‘Dream Garden’ or ‘Environmental Quest’. Email your name, contact info, and your 50 words description to:  Deadline is Feb. 28, 2017 by midnight.

Cathy Allen is an award-winning Urban Environmentalist, the co-creator of G.R.A.S.S. (Growing Resources After Sowing Seed) as well as Chair of the “Grow-It Eat It” campaign. G.R.A.S.S. is an environmental entrepreneurial nonprofit program based on the fundamentals of gardening, agriculture and ecology. In conjunction with Baltimore City Public Schools, Allen’s campaign has planted over a half-million trees on the lawns of Baltimore City public schools.

Cathy Allen

AFRO Science Writer