President-elect Trump has promised an environmental policy agenda that includes, among other things:
- Pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal, placing in peril international cooperation to combat climate disruption, to say nothing of future generations.
- Dismantling and de-funding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Making coal king again by repealing federal air pollution regulations, scrapping the Clean Power Plan, and eliminating the social cost of carbon from analysis of federal policies.
- Expanding oil and gas drilling, and eliminating federal methane emissions controls as well as regulatory “barriers” to new pipeline development.
- Eliminating federal investment in renewable energy, and ending incentives for its deployment.
What will all this mean for Pennsylvania’s environment?
Perhaps, it means more of the same.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly has been in the vanguard of opposition to the Clean Power Plan. And last month, the Pennsylvania Senate adopted a resolution requiring an analysis of state environmental laws and regulations to identify which ones are more stringent than federal rules. Presumably, so that those state laws and regs can then be rolled back.
And a defunding of EPA would translate into a loss of federal funding for an already severely underfunded Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The policy changes that are possible after Inauguration day are alarming, if you care about Pennsylvania’s environment and public health. I’m not alone in thinking that way.