President-elect Donald J. Trump, when speaking to employees at a Carrier air conditioner factory in Indiana whose jobs he saved last week, said that there is a need for “some regulations” so that U.S. factories and plants don’t irreparably damage the environment.
But as a businessman himself who has had to deal often with the nightmarish processes of navigating a plethora of government agencies before the first shovelful of dirt breaks ground on his latest real estate development, he knows more about red tape than just about anyone.
That means he also knows how much of that red tape can be permanently cut so that business development can take place faster and more cheaply, while still caring for the environment.
Trump, like most other rational people, doesn’t want to breathe dirty air, drink polluted water or eat food that comes from contaminated soil. But he also pledged to jump-start economic and job growth, and to do that, he’ll have to take on Washington’s Left-wing “climate change” hoaxers, and they will fight him tooth and nail. Already, the climate hoaxers are girding up for a Trump presidency.
On the campaign trail, Inside Climate News reported, Trump promised that he would seek to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency altogether, claiming (correctly) that for the most part, the bureaucracy had been turned into a political hammer to be used by a Leftist president to kill jobs and opportunities. Now that he is headed to the Oval Office, the environmentalist community is trying to figure out whether he’ll keep his promises or whether he’ll be thwarted in his attempts to downsize the EPA and government bureaucracy in general.
“Trump sounds like he’s serious about scaling back much environmental regulation,” Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change at Columbia Law School, told Inside Climate News. And while he may not be able to dismantle the EPA entirely, there is much he and a Republican-controlled Congress could do to downsize the agency and starve it of funds.
The EPA, like all other government agencies, was established by law, so it would take legislation (and Trump’s signature – or a veto override) to abolish it altogether. That said, Trump, as president, can simply issue executive orders to the EPA and reverse much of the environmental activism implemented by the man he is set to replace, President Obama.
In addition, say legal experts, the president-elect, once in office, could scale back the agency’s reach and mission, while the GOP-controlled Congress reduces the agency’s budget even further, thereby limiting its ability to act.
Gerrard doesn’t believe Congress will eliminate the EPA, but rather “starve and cripple it.” He may be underestimating Trump like just about everyone else who has come up against him this election cycle has.
For one thing, president Trump will inherit enormous authority – more than any president ever has. He has Obama to thank for much of that, since the 44th president pushed his constitutionally limited powers to their boundaries and beyond.
For another, there is an appetite in Congress to downsize the EPA and reign it in. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in commenting on the passage of the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act in 2014, said that while the board is supposed to offer neutral guidance on the environmental issues the EPA seeks to address, its singularly-minded members have “silenced voices of dissent, limited public participation in its decisions, and shown a potential conflict of interest with over half of the SAB members having taken grant money from the EPA, an agency they are supposed to provide impartial analysis to.”
Trump is also being advised by some sound political minds – including Newt Gingrich and Vice President-elect Mike Pence – who have been in the D.C. cesspool and know their way around.
Will a President Trump actually be able to eliminate the EPA in his quest to Make America Great Again? In the end, given his power as head of the Executive Branch (which the EPA falls under) and Congress’ willingness to help, it might not really matter. Neutering the agency may be all that is necessary.